Bayshore Broadcasting reports that the Green Energy Act and its effects is the number 1 issue in rural/small-town Ontario
In order to understand the full import of this news story, it will be key to have read some of Parker Gallant‘s articles in the past, in which he documents Ontario’s exports of cheap power to neighbouring states such as New York and Michigan. The reason we have power to export is the first-to-the-grid wind is produced at night and in the spring when we don’t need it. And what are the neighbours doing with that cheap power? Read on.
Power play for industry 89
Like other local industrial leaders, Northern Cables recently received a brochure from a jurisdiction in upstate New York that touched on a topical issue.
“They do extol the advantage of lower electricity rates in that area,” said Northern Cables chief executive officer Shelley Bacon.
It’s a pitch St. Lawrence County is actively making along the Canadian side of the St. Lawrence River, but an economic development official there said Thursday the overtures do not amount to “poaching.”
The recent brochure is not the first advance by other jurisdictions promising a better deal on power for Brockville-grown Northern Cables. And while it’s not something Bacon likes to think about, he can also not afford to disregard Ontario’s escalating hydro costs.
“In the last, short period of time, electricity has shot up a ladder in terms of importance to this company,” he said.
While he is not now thinking of moving any business across the border, Bacon suggested that staggering hydro increases anticipated in the coming years might force him to choose between growing the business in Brockville and moving some of that business across the river.
That’s not a threat, said Bacon. It’s an economic reality felt by businesses across Ontario in the wake of the provincial government’s newly-released long-term energy plan.
Brockville economic development director Dave Paul has referred to the power-themed American lure brochures as “poaching.” It’s not a label Tom Plastino, deputy CEO of the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency, considers accurate.
He said he is not trying to get industries to uproot their shops, and adds people in his line of work are wary of “carpetbagger companies” in any case.
“Our attitude has always been that Canadian businesses who want to put branches in the U.S., well, they don’t have to look too much further across the river,” said Plastino.
The longtime economic developer has been talking to Canadian companies for as long as he can remember, and has lately been promoting his state’s lower power rates to firms in the Kingston-Ottawa-Cornwall triangle.
He acknowledges the recent brochure mail-out is in response to the “sticker shock” Ontario firms are feeling in the wake of the province’s energy policy announcement.
The literature is aimed at firms that need a U.S. presence, such as a branch plant, to reach the American market, said Plastino.
“We’re capitalizing on the visibility of power rates right now.”
Plastino adds he has had some responses, but nothing firm.
Other upstate officials also reject Paul’s accusation.
“‘Poaching’ is a word I wouldn’t use, unless of course you were doing it,” joked Fred Morrill, a St. Lawrence County legislator and chairman of its finance committee.
The town of Massena, N.Y., in particular, offers lower hydro rates because it has its own municipal electricity utility, said Morrill.
Luring Canadian businesses is nothing new, he added.
“Will we take advantage of low-cost power if someone from Canada is interested in coming here? Absolutely, because we need jobs,” he said.
Read the full story here.
From the Boston Globe
A Falmouth veteran battles wind turbines — and health woes
| Globe Staff January 24, 2014
Barry Funfar on the deck of his home, near the turbines.
FALMOUTH — Barry Funfar is a 67-year-old Vietnam veteran who spent most of his waking moments since retirement a decade ago working with the hundreds of flowers and trees he planted around the Colonial-style house that he built. Gardening was his exercise, therapy, and passion, and his doctors agreed it was beneficial to combat his post traumatic stress disorder.
A Marine, Funfar flew 127 combat missions as a door gunner on Huey helicopters and was awarded seven Air Medals for meritorious service.
Years later, he is battling another enemy: two wind turbines near his home, which he says have ended his gardening, caused him unremitting health problems, and exacerbated the PTSD that has plagued him for decades.
Last spring, he and his wife, Diane, filed a complaint against the Town of Falmouth, and the Zoning Board of Appeals recently agreed with the couple that the green energy turbines create a nuisance for them. A year earlier, the board had issued a similar ruling in another turbine case.
In the earlier case, Barnstable Superior Court Judge Christopher Muse issued a temporary order, while the case is pending, that the turbines run only between7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Dozens of other Falmouth residents have also testified before the local health board about negative health effects.
These residents are not alone.
Seeking cleaner and cheaper sources of power, governments around the world have been turning to wind power. But as the turbines increase so have complaints about health problems. There remains significant disagreement about the medical legitimacy of those claims, but there is no doubt in the minds of Funfar and others who suffer.
Funfar, who was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder in 2003 after decades of nightmares, anxiety, anger, depression, and alcoholism, was treated by doctors and counselors at the VA Medical Center in Providence, sometimes attending group and individual therapy sessions four days a week. He still goes weekly.
Funfar joined the Marine Corps in 1965, a farm boy from North Dakota. At boot camp graduation, his drill instructor handed him a military ID and said: “Here’s your license to kill.” It’s a statement that still haunts Funfar.
But by 2008, after the intensive therapy, he says, he was feeling much better.
“It took a lot of therapy to change those nightmares that I was killed,” he said on a recent day in the house he built in 1999. “In those dreams, my copter would be shot down; the enemy would chase us and kill us, and I’d be at my own funeral.”
In Falmouth, where the Funfars have lived since 1979, gardening became a big part of his life, and his doctors encouraged it as a healthy outlet for his PTSD. As the oldest of five boys growing up on an isolated farm, Funfar had always had a passion for plants.
You might call it an obsession. His lot, not quite an acre, has 128 varieties of clematis plants, 500 rhododendrons and azaleas, eight varieties of magnolias, and this year, he put in 10 Japanese maples. That doesn’t include myriad other plants; Funfar reckons he’s got “thousands of them out there.” He has given away hundreds.
In fact, he did the master plan for his garden before he even built the house.
Funfar has carved paths in what he calls his “wild woodland garden,” and built a greenhouse on the property as well as a gazebo with a wood stove and microwave, where he sits and peruses some of the dozens of gardening books he has amassed. He also has several photo albums of his plants, with notes scribbled alongside each picture. He makes his own greeting cards with pressed flowers from his garden, and his home was included on three garden tours.
“Any moment I wasn’t working, I was with those plants,” says Funfar, who in 2003 retired from his carpet-cleaning business.
But these days, the property is overgrown and neglected, the greenhouse and gazebo abandoned. In March 2010, the town installed its first wind turbine and added another the following year. The first is 1,662 feet from the Funfar home, the second 1,558 feet. Both can be seen from their roof deck.
“The first time I heard it, I couldn’t believe it could make that much noise,” he says. It’s also the inaudible low frequency and infrasound waves that he says have made him ill, with symptoms such as heart palpitations, surges in blood pressure, migraine headaches, and sleep deprivation.
Read the full story here.
“Wind power not ‘green’ if it kills birds”
New permits for turbines allow wind farms to kill eagles up to 30 years
TIMES STAFF WRITER
This news report is from Peterborough-based CHEX-TV, on the preliminary hearing of the wpd wind power project, Sumac Ridge, which is in the Oak Ridges Moraine area.
“This is the last stand,” comments one of the community members present. If people don’t care about health concerns, the environment, the damage to the Oak Ridges Moraine, or their rising electricity bills, I don’t know what else you can do, he said.
The news report is here.
For more information on the Oak Ridges Moraine, go to http://www.moraineforlife.org/
and for more on the fight to protect the area, go to to the Manvers Wind Concerns website. Donations welcome and needed for the legal battle.
This is an excerpt of a report on today’s proceedings, provided by Cheryl Anderson of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists. The APPEC portion of the day, on health, was in the afternoon.
The PECFN counter appeals and cross appeals and the intervener South Shore Conservancy [SSC] was completed in the late morning…Chris Paliere, legal representative for the SSC spoke first. Mr. Paliere gave a succinct and direct analysis of the legal issues SSC has with the ERT ruling. Pointing out that in order for the endangered species permit to be granted expertise should be expected from the MNR, Mr Paliere asserted that there was no evidence that the permit granting was anything more than a paper process. The Tribunal had the expertise to interpret broad undefined terms in the Green Energy Act and the Renewable Energy Approval. The Tribunal therefore was correct in only considering that the ESA permit was in effect. Therefore the conclusions reached by the Tribunal must be accepted.This argument was countered by Mr. Wayland and Mr. Hamilton for Gilead. The arguments centre on whether the ESA permit to kill harm and harass supersedes the Renewable Energy Approval of the project. In other words, the ERT cannot deny the project because the ESA permit is in place – and since the MNR has given permission to kill harm and harass endangered species then the ERT cannot find serious and irreversible harm to a species. Mr. Paliere was adamant that there are two separate issues and that the situation amounted to “poly-centric decision making”.The PECFN cross appeal dealing with our contention that the ERT did not properly consider the evidence showing serious and irreversible harm to the Birds and Alvar was begun by Natalie Smith, who presented the facts in the case. Eric Gillespie carried on with the legal arguments. There was a discussion started by Justice Nordheimer regarding the damage done to Alvar by the Department of National Defence use of the areas of the South Shore in the early 1950’s for munitions testing. Eric’s assertion that the DND damage was minimal was countered by both Sylvia Davis for the MOE and Mr. Wayland for Gilead. They were trying to say that the damage by the munitions testing was in some way analogous to the damage that would be caused by wind turbines and roads. Following from the argument was the assumption that when the IWT’s were removed after twenty years the Alvar would regenerate similar to the regeneration after the munitions testing.According to Eric’s submission, “in dealing with the issue of birds the Tribunal failed to provide and interpretation of scale”. In other words if there are many birds of a species that is abundant on the site then chances are that there will not be serious and irreversible harm to that species. However, if there is a bird or a few birds of an endangered species on the site then the chances of severe and irreversible harm to that species become greater. The Tribunal ruled, in spite of excellent witness testimony to the contrary, that PECFN did not prove serious and irreversible harm to birds as a result of the IWT project. Eric’s submission was that if the Tribunal had taken “scale” into consideration their decision would have been to deny the project on that basis.We will have to wait to see if the Divisional Court will let the ERT ruling re: Blanding’s Turtles stand and if they will reverse the ERT ruling on the Birds and Alvar as requested by PECFN.
For more information on the PECFN case, go to saveostranderpoint.org
Here from the Daily Telegraph, a report on how well Germany the icon of green energy for Ontario, is doing.
Germany is a cautionary tale of how energy polices can harm the economy
Despite Germany’s shift to renewable solar and wind energies, and amid a recession, its carbon emissions rose by 1.8pc last year
The plan was called energiewende, which can be translated as energy transition or even revolution. But despite Germany’s shift to renewable solar and wind energies, and amid a recession, its carbon emissions rose by 1.8pc last year.
In the European Union, as a whole, emissions fell by 1.3pc, mainly due to recession, according to the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo.
Ms Merkel has no one to blame but herself. Germany’s shift to renewables was very much along the norms of the European model, with the aim of going beyond EU targets. Then along came Fukushima and the wave of anti-nuclear hysteria that followed the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
The once-in-a-millennium event at the Fukushima reactor killed nobody, although the tsunami claimed 16,000 lives. However, it was enough to panic Germany’s green middle class.
Ms Merkel caved in to shrill demands for the country’s atomic reactors to be closed. This decision, from a former chemist, who is personally pro-nuclear, is perhaps the most important economic call she has made. It is a disaster.
Read the full story here.
Here from the Toronto Star, a report from John Spears on today’s proceedings.
Turtles vs turbines case goes to court
The relative interests of turtles and wind turbines are being weighed by a panel of Ontario divisional court judges
… Read the full story here.