Important Bird Areas: what about people, too?
Yesterday, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario Mr Gord Miller, released his 2011-2012 Annual Report. Mr Miller devoted a section of the report to the effects of large-scale wind turbines generating power on the bird and bat populations of Ontario.
Mr Miller “encouraged” industry to follow the guidelines for setbacks for wind power projects, and to carry out mitigation should post-construction monitoring of bird and bat deaths shows significant mortality. While he goes on to say that “it would make sense to avoid constructing wind power projects in the most sensitive locations” he does then go on to assert that the number of bird deaths caused by the blades of wind turbines is insignificant next to other causes of bird death such as buildings and–really–cats. We would like to know what kind of CAT can kill a red-tailed hawk, an eagle, or a Canada Goose.
Mr Miller is quite correctly concerned about the “cumulative effects” of multiple wind power projects. This has not been considered for any reason, not for effects on the environment, or on human health.
And what about human health? If there are concerns about the noise and vibration on birds, then who is looking out for the potential for harm to human health from these huge, noisy machines?
Not the Environmental Review Tribunal, which just last week upheld demands from the wind power developer in proceedings in Cayuga for more specific proof as to “alleged” causes of health effects, and moreover, to continue to demand 10 years worth of medical records from the people now living with wind turbines who have been called to testify.
And not the Ministry of the Environment, which accepts the environmental “assessments” done by the wind developers themselves, and provides absolutely no oversight on their investigations and claims. The fox is truly in charge of the chicken house.
It is our hope that if finally, the life and health of birds and bats can catch the attention of Ontario’s city dwellers, there is a chance that they might also care about the health of people living in Ontario’s rural communities being forced to host these power plants.
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