Listen to experts on turbine noise to protect health: Wind Concerns Ontario to MOECC

November 24, 2015

Wind Concerns Ontario has written to the Green Energy Approvals section of the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, following testimony from acoustics experts at the appeal of the White Pines wind power project last week. We demanded that the MOECC review the testimony of the witnesses, specifically that Ontario’s noise regulations are inadequate to protect health, and apply the information to the current review of noise regulations for wind turbines in Ontario.

The letter has been received and acknowledged.

The letter follows.

 

Stephanie Liu

Senior Program Advisor

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change

Environmental Programs Division, Modernization of Approvals Branch, Green Energy Approvals,

135 St. Clair Avenue West Toronto Ontario M4V 1P5

November 20, 2015

RE: NOISE GUIDELINES FOR WIND POWER PROJECTS

We are aware that the comment period for the proposed amendments to current noise guidelines for wind power projects has closed; however, there is testimony being given at the appeal of the White Pines project in Prince Edward County that is germane to your review, and should not be overlooked.

Several experts in acoustics, who have technical experience measuring the noise and low frequency noise emissions from wind power projects, have testified over the last few days to the following key points:

  1. The Ontario regulations are inadequate to protect health
  2. The Ontario regulations rely heavily on A-weighted measurement which is not adequate or appropriate (this fact was already mentioned in the federal government funded report from the Council of Canadian Academies)
  3. Wind power developers’ predictions for noise are not always accurate and again, seek to conform to the inadequate regulations of the Ontario government
  4. The Health Canada study of wind turbine noise and health clearly shows there are problems after 35 dB

 

What follows is a citizen report of testimony given by Dr Paul Schomer, an eminent acoustics professional.

APPEC’s health appeal continued on Day 10 with expert witness Dr. Paul Schomer testifying before the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) on the White Pines wind project.  The remainder of the day was spent making adjustments to the schedule following WPD’s abrupt announcement that it was dropping an appeal of the disallowance of two turbines (T7 and T11) by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC).

Dr. Schomer, a former Standards Director of the Acoustical Society of America with 48 years’ experience in noise measurement, was qualified by the ERT as an expert in acoustics.  He told the Tribunal that all residents in the White Pines project area will be affected by audible and inaudible sound and a number of residents will be seriously affected.  The effects reported by people living near wind projects are similar in nature to the effects experienced by participants in a 1985 University of Toronto study on infrasound. 

At lower levels and at higher levels of pure tone some participants experienced nausea and dizziness.  However, when overtones were added at higher levels, participants experienced headaches and fatigue. Dr. Schomer considers that internationally-accepted noise standards and protocols are being flouted in Ontario.  For example, A-weighting is not supposed to be relied on when sounds have low-frequency content such as those emitted by industrial wind turbines.

  Canada is one of the countries that voted for this rule.  He also calls for changes in current Ontario regulations to adjust up to 10 db(A) for wind turbine noise in rural areas.  Other suggested adjustments include up to 3 db(A) for weather conditions and 3 to 4 db(A) for locations downwind of turbines.   

Dr. Schomer is highly critical of WPD’s current predicted average sound as it merely indicates that 50% of the time 50% of the residents will be exposed to sound above or below the limit.  The wind industry should be held to a higher level of accountability: db(A) limits should be met 95% of the time.

Dr. Schomer pointed to a very important figure in the Health Canada Report.  Only 1% of people are shown to be highly annoyed at 30 – 35 db(A) sound levels.  However, at 35 – 40 db(A) the number jumps to 40%.  Dr. Schomer sees this as evidence of a community response to wind turbine noise, and that what Health Canada says, what independent acoustic experts say, and what communities say should carry weight in Ontario.

Through experience Dr. Schomer has found that when community responses disagree with the physics, the physics is usually wrong.  This has been confirmed by his involvement in six studies of wind farms, including the 8-turbine Shirley Wind Farm in Wisconsin where three families abandoned their homes and about 60 other people reported adverse health effects.   

We would ask that the Ministry be certain to review and consider this important evidence in its review of the noise guidelines for wind power projects, which are in no way “farms.”

Just this past week, Wind Concerns Ontario has learned of seven families forced to leave their homes in the area of the Goshen project; another half-dozen families are leaving their homes behind in West Grey. This is all due to the noise experienced.

This is a matter of grave concern, and we hope the government is sincere when it says its mission is to “protect the environment” which also means, the environment people live in.

Thank you.

Jane Wilson, RN

President

Wind Concerns Ontario

windconcerns@gmail.com

PO BOX 509 250 Main Street Wellington Ontario

 

Full disclosure of MNR documents demanded at White Pines appeal

 Motion filed asking Environmental Review Tribunal co-chairs recuse themselves

Report on Environmental Review Tribunal Hearing on White Pines Wind Project

 

Day Eleven of the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) on the White Pines wind project was scheduled to deal with WPD’s witness Robert O’Neill.

However, the hearing began with a request from Eric Gillespie, APPEC’s legal counsel, for full disclosure from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) of the balance of the documents relating to Blanding’s turtles.  Mr. Gillespie advised the ERT that the MNRF has handed over only seven documents although it is clear there are many more.  The Tribunal declined to make a ruling at this time.

Gillespie subsequently provided notice of a motion made on behalf of the appellants that ERT co-chairs Marcia Valiante and Hugh Wilkins recuse themselves from these proceedings.  The Tribunal agreed to receive written submissions on this matter and will make a ruling as soon as possible.  There were no objections to the ERT continuing to hear evidence over the next two days.

The hearing then focused on Robert O’Neill, a sound engineer with Epsilon Association, whom the Tribunal qualified as an acoustician with expertise in wind turbine frequency noise.  During the past ten years he has conducted studies at about 20 operational wind projects.

O’Neill told the ERT that wind turbines emit mechanical and aerodynamic sound.  Under cross-examination he agreed that wind turbine sound can be characterized as broadband (the “swishing” sound) and as low frequency, but he does not agree with the characterization of impulsive-like effects.

O’Neill noted that at night people 450 m from wind turbines will more than likely hear a “whoosh, whoosh” sound but this will vary depending on meteorological conditions.  At certain times this sound will be audible a kilometre away, but he would not characterize the sound as loud.  He agreed with Gillespie that sound propagation depends on make and model of the turbines, weather conditions, distance from turbines, ground effects (sound bends upwards or down to earth), temperature inversion (at night, blades will pass through warm air at the turbine top and a mass of cooler air on the bottom), location (more noise downwind of turbines), and wind shear, where blades are passing through air masses moving at different speed.

O’Neill believes that A-weighting, the most commonly used method to describe sound, is the most appropriate measurement as it combines all the frequencies.  However, O’Neill agrees that in addition to audible sound there is also sound that people can sense.  Under cross-examination he agreed with Gillespie that his statement that low frequency and infrasound will not impact people is not based on any particular medical expertise but is only an evaluation based on professional standards and guidelines.

The White Pines ERT is in Toronto on Tuesday and in Picton on Wednesday, at the Prince Edward Community Centre at the Picton Fairgrounds, 375 Main St., Picton.

The Ostrander Point ERT is on Thursday and Friday at the Sophiasburgh Town Hall, 2771 County Rd 5, Demorestville.

Both appeals start at 10 a.m.

-Paula Peel, Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County

Parker Gallant on rate increases, cheap power sell-offs, and customer manipulation

Parker Gallant's "peeves": Ontario electricity customers getting socked over and over
Parker Gallant: Ontario electricity customers getting socked over and over

OPINION

Parker Gallant: recent pet peeves

Recently a number of issues from ruminations of Premier Kathleen Wynne and her appointed Ministers have driven me to distraction.  Couple those ruminations with the partial privatization of Hydro One and the promises to regulate it, as they have in the past, and it should make us all truly worried that the Ontario we grew up in is slowly sinking into the abyss!

I recently received a notice that the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) had reached their conclusions about regulating the OESP (Ontario Electricity Support Program), telling us that we will see our rates increase 0.11cents per kilowatt when the program is fired up on January 1, 2016.  A report prepared by the OEB a year ago indicated 570,000 households (12% of electricity customers) in Ontario live in what is referred to as “energy poverty.”1. The OESP is seen by Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli as a way to deliver a social program to help those in that dilemma.

Normally a “social program” of this nature is delivered via the Ministry of Community and Social Services, but Minister Chiarelli has decided Ontario ratepayers should pick up the costs because Finance Minister Sousa is trying to reduce the provincial deficit.  The OEB estimates the OESP will cost $158.4 million annually of which $13.4 million will represent “administrative costs.”   In the scheme of things, $158.4 million means little, adding about $1.00 per month to the average (800 kilowatts per month) ratepayer bill, but that dollar will be “after-tax” and it is based on bureaucratic estimates which are generally low, or coloured to avoid advising us of the real cost.

 

Reflecting on the foregoing, the OEB just announced our rates went up $4.42 per month effective November 1st, 2015 and Minister Chiarelli told us the OCEB (Ontario Clean Energy Benefit) that reduced our bills by 10% would no longer apply effective January 1st.   Couple that with the major issue he made about ending collection of the debt retirement charge (DRC) and how it would save us money, one would think our rates will finally go down!

Will they?

Read the entire article here: Parker’s Recent Pet Peeves (PRPP)

All residents in White Pines project area will be affected by noise: top acoustician testimony

Report on Environmental Review Tribunal Hearing on White Pines Wind Project

November 20, 2015

by

 Paula Peel, Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC)

APPEC’s health appeal continued on Day 10 with expert witness Dr. Paul Schomer testifying before the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) on the White Pines wind project.  The remainder of the day was spent making adjustments to the schedule following WPD’s abrupt announcement that it was dropping an appeal of the disallowance of two turbines (T7 and T11) by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC).

Dr. Schomer, a former Standards Director of the Acoustical Society of America with 48 years’ experience in noise measurement, was qualified by the ERT as an expert in acoustics.  He told the Tribunal that all residents in the White Pines project area will be affected by audible and inaudible sound and a number of residents will be seriously affected.  The effects reported by people living near wind projects are similar in nature to the effects experienced by participants in a 1985 University of Toronto study on infrasound.  At lower levels and at higher levels of pure tone some participants experienced nausea and dizziness.  However, when overtones were added at higher levels, participants experienced headaches and fatigue.

Dr. Schomer considers that internationally-accepted noise standards and protocols are being flouted in Ontario.  For example, A-weighting is not supposed to be relied on when sounds have low-frequency content such as those emitted by industrial wind turbines.  Canada is one of the countries that voted for this rule.  He also calls for changes in current Ontario regulations to adjust up to 10 db(A) for wind turbine noise in rural areas.  Other suggested adjustments include up to 3 db(A) for weather conditions and 3 to 4 db(A) for locations downwind of turbines.   Dr. Schomer is highly critical of WPD’s current predicted average sound as it merely indicates that 50% of the time 50% of the residents will be exposed to sound above or below the limit.  The wind industry should be held to a higher level of accountability: db(A) limits should be met 95% of the time.

Dr. Schomer pointed to a very important figure in the Health Canada Report.  Only 1% of people are shown to be highly annoyed at 30 – 35 db(A) sound levels.  However, at 35 – 40 db(A) the number jumps to 40%.  Dr. Schomer sees this as evidence of a community response to wind turbine noise, and that what Health Canada says, what independent acoustic experts say, and what communities say should carry weight in Ontario.

Through experience Dr. Schomer has found that when community responses disagree with the physics, the physics is usually wrong.  This has been confirmed by his involvement in six studies of wind farms, including the 8-turbine Shirley Wind Farm in Wisconsin where three families abandoned their homes and about 60 other people reported adverse health effects.

The ERT continues next week.  Hearings on Monday and Tuesday are in Toronto.  The location of the hearing on Wednesday still needs to be confirmed.  

“Vicious irony” in who has to prove what at wind farm appeals

Topsy turvy

Wind-1

Wind approval process puts responsibility on citizens, not the developer, to protect the County

The thing that troubles Henri Garand about the Green Energy Act is the fact that regular citizens are held to a higher burden of proof than the companies they’re fighting against.

Garand, a member of the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) has been sitting in on the Environmental Review Tribunal that is hearing an appeal to the approval of the White Pines wind turbine project, which would see 27 turbines built over Athol and South Marysbugh.

APPEC is one of the project’s appellants. The organization argues that the turbines would have a negative impact on the cultural heritage of the area, human health, endangered species and the land itself, some of which is rare habitat.

Lawyer Eric Gillespie, representing APPEC, summoned expert witnesses to prove that the experts wpd Canada—the company that owns the White Pines project— used in its approval process with the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) were not valid.

Still, the six witnesses were downgraded to presenters, their testimony reduced in importance, a decision made by the Tribunal’s adjudicators, Marcia Valiante and Hugh Wilkins.

Christopher Currie, Cheryl Anderson, Richard Bird, Roxanne MacKenzie, Doug Murphy and Brian Flack presented their cases to the panel about the proposed project’s negative effect on water, birds, vegetation, human health, land use and property value respectively. Some of these arguments called out wpd’s experts on the validity of their information, but as presenters, that couldn’t be taken into account.

This is what Garand bemoans.

“In the topsy-turvy world of the Green Energy Act, the wind developer receives a project approval despite incomplete research, while ERT appellants have to prove their case without the ability and time to conduct the necessary research,” Garand wrote. “These vicious ironies defy common sense.”

The Tribunal did hear from expert witness Joe Crowley, who Gillespie summoned. Crowley was previously a witness for the MOECC in the still ongoing Tribunal appealing the Ostrander wind turbine project proposed by Gilead Power.

Crowley is a scientist employed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), and isthat ministry’s only expert on the Blanding’s turtle, an endangered species that inhabits the County’s south shore. At the Ostrander Tribunal, Crowley revealed that he had verbally warned against approving the project at Ostrander Point because of its potential to devastate the turtle population there.

That warning did not appear in any evidence submitted by the ministry, and the revelation caused the Tribunal to come to a halt while the MOECC and MNRF were ordered to search for any mention of Blanding’s turtles in the project’s approval process.

Crowley confirmed last week that at least 17 of the 29 proposed turbines in the White Pines project could also affect Blanding’s turtle habitat.

Gillespie has proposed two expert witnesses who would be able to reply to witnesses wpd will bring forward later in the process. They will be brought forward as expert witnesses, although parts of their statements that seem redundant will not be accepted.

No other expert witnesses have been heard yet; this week began with residents testifying about medical conditions that would be worsened by the turbines. Those witnesses, like the presenters, have less bearing on the panel’s decision.

Ontario power surplus means it’s difficult to justify more wind power contracts

(But not impossible, as Ontario contracts for 300 more megawatts in 2015, and 200 more in 2016)

WindPower Monthly, November 19, 2015

Analysis: As construction boom ends, manufacturers look elsewhere

CANADA: Turbine manufacturers lured to Canada by multi-gigawatt procurement programmes and local content requirements are recalibrating as the market feeding their manufacturing facilities starts to wane.

The days of long-term, government-backed and wind-specific procurement seem to be largely gone for Canada’s wind industry
The days of long-term, government-backed and wind-specific procurement seem to be largely gone for Canada’s wind industry
For the past five years, Canada has been averaging almost 1.3GW annual installations, peaking at 1.87GW in 2014. Most of the activity has been in Quebec, which has almost met its 2015 target of 4GW, and Ontario, where a now defunct feed-in tariff (FIT) helped set 4GW of contracts.

Siemens opened a blade factory in Ontario to meet the FIT’s local content requirement and won about 2GW of orders. It has been operating full-out since shipping its first blade in 2013, said David Hickey, vice-president of wind power and renewables at Siemens Canada. “We’ve actually been operating at double the capacity we planned for,” he said.

The company has a solid order book through 2018, when all FIT-supported projects must be online, according to Hickey. The factory’s four-mould operation will drop to two by the end of this year and, with only 600MW still to be contracted under Ontario’s new competitive procurement process, is looking elsewhere, including supplying blades to projects in Europe and Latin America.

“We already knew Ontario wasn’t going to last forever. Between diversifying into other provinces and the global volume, we have a pretty good plan to support the plant,” Hickey said.

Quebec

In Quebec, Enercon is winding down operations at its factory in Matane, which supplied concrete towers and electrical components for more than 1GW of wind in the province.

“We still have certain products to be produced for our other projects outside of Quebec. We do some export from Matane, but I don’t think that’s a long-term model,” said Michael Weidemann, Enercon Canada’s executive vice-president. “It needs a minimum home market.”

Quebec’s supply chain has received orders via the 446MW awarded last December to Siemens, Vestas and GE, and are now awaiting the new long-term energy strategy from Quebec’s government. ]

Like Ontario, the province’s electricity surplus makes it politically difficult to justify new wind purchases. “I hope to see a firm commitment, but I’m not sure the government wants to put clear numbers on the table,” said Weidemann.

The days of long-term, government-backed and wind-specific procurement seem to be largely gone for Canada’s wind industry.

“I think we all know the next 10,000MW won’t be like the first 10,000,” said Jean-Francois Nolet, vice-president of policy at the Canadian Wind Energy Association. “It will require our industry to become more strategic, more sophisticated in its approach.”

Wind will increasingly have to compete against other generating technologies, Nolet said. Ontario is talking about moving to procurement processes that simply seek zero-emissions generation, potentially requiring some level of firm output.

It will also have to seek new markets, whether tied to industrial development in the north or electricity exports to the US.

Balance of Plant

With cost even more critical to success in this new environment, a key challenge in Canada is balance-of-plant costs, which are as much as US$1,000/kW higher than the US, said Michael O’Sullivan, senior vice-president at Nextera Energy.

This is the result of many factors, including tougher permitting, higher labour costs and local content requirements. Smaller projects and less robust wind regimes in Ontario, the biggest market, also drive up costs.

“They all come together to drive a giant cost disadvantage when compared to the US. Compared to other parts of the world, though, it’s not a bad number,” O’Sullivan said.

There are some promising prospects for Canadian wind, however. Alberta’s new left-leaning government wants to phase-out coal in favour of renewable energy, Saskatchewan plans to add 800MW of wind by 2030, and recent national elections have brought the federal government — long absent from the renewables discussion — back into picture.

Enercon, like most of the major players in Canada, will continue to pivot as provincial markets rise and fall. But Weidemann also hinted that the company, which has famously remained out of the US, could use its Canadian base as a springboard to other markets.

“We think there are huge opportunities in North America in general. I know many people doing business in the US. I know many people in Mexico. I think it’s my obligation to stay close to these markets and understand what is going on.”

Pontypool victory the second successful appeal for the environment

My Kawartha.com November 20, 2015

Tribunal agrees approved Pontypool wind project would destroy plant and animal life

Ward 16 Coun. Heather Stauble says Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) decision about Settlers Landing wind farm is only the second in Ontario in favour of a municipality over a wind energy company

MANVERS TWP – Ward 16 Councillor Heather Stauble was literally doing a happy dance at the Fenelon Falls Community Centre after learning opponents of an industrial wind turbine project near Pontypool scored a huge victory on Thursday (Nov. 19).

Coun. Stauble was at a special council meeting when she got the news that the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) had announced its decision on the appeal of the Settlers Landing Nominee Ltd. wind project.

Announcing the decision to council, she was visibly overjoyed as councillors hugged and congratulated her.

“This a huge, huge step forward for the community,” she told This Week.

She noted this is only the second ERT decision in Ontario that has overturned a wind energy company approval in favour of a community.

The Director, Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change issued a Renewable Energy Approval (REA) to Settlers Landing Nominee Ltd., granting approval for the construction, installation, operation, use and retiring of a Class 4 wind facility with a total name plate capacity of 10 megawatts in Pontypool.

Settlers Landing wind park would have put five industrial wind turbines near the village.

SLWP Opposition Corp. appealed the REA to the Tribunal in May on the grounds that the project will cause serious harm to human health and serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment.

The Tribunal held the hearing in Pontypool on in September and October.

The Tribunal found “that the planned Settlers Landing wind project in Pontypool will cause serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment.”  Specifically, the Tribunal, in its decision found that construction and decommissioning of turbines 3 and 5, and the access roads to turbines 2, 3 and 5, will cause such harm to a significant woodland identified as Woodland 11, including the habitat it represents.

Coun. Stauble said having two out of five of the turbines ruled as harmful to the woodlands could affect the company’s FIT contract (whereby they acquire points for renewable energy contracts with the Province.)

Opponents of the wind turbines did not, the Tribunal found, satisfy legal tests with respect to other issues they raised in the appeal, namely serious and irreversible harm to water resources or to grassland bird habitat and serious harm to human health.

Several other wind energy projects from different companies have been approved in Manvers Township, and opponents to the industrial turbines have not let up in their battle to keep them out, especially since several turbines are proposed to be built on the provincially-protected Oak Ridges Moraine. The City has backed their fight, as council has not supported industrial wind turbines in the municipality. While the opponents have raised money for their legal costs, the City has given some financial support and also provided senior staff to testify at the hearings.

In its decision, the Tribunal noted it will provide “a separate opportunity for the parties and participants to address the appropriate remedy and the Tribunal’s remedial jurisdiction in this case.”

Coun. Stauble said the wind company will be given the chance to offer remediation for the two turbines, “but, they must adhere to a 550 metre setback, and to do so means they would have to put those turbines in the woodlands.

“Which they are now not allowed to do.”

Developers’ noise assessments flawed, inadequate acousticians testify

Report on Environmental Review Tribunal Hearing on White Pines Wind Project

November 19, 2015

by

Henri Garand and Paula Peel, APPEC

​On Day Nine, APPEC expert witnesses Richard James and Steven Cooper provided acoustical evidence to the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) on the White Pines wind project.
The Tribunal qualified Mr. James as an acoustician on the basis of 40 years’ work experience and testimony at hearings in several American states and six ERTs.
James criticized WPD’s sound propagation modeling.  The computer model is based on a single turbine as opposed to a set of turbines, and though specifically limited to one kilometre, it is used for calculations at greater distances.  This leads to concerns about understating and under-predicting sound levels and under-representing the worse possible impact.  Adjusting for model uncertainty and other factors, James expected a significant increase of 4.2 dB(A) beyond regulations.
While the model suggests compliance with Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) guidelines,  James believes that the project will put 23 non-participating noise receptors in excess of 40 dB(A).  Many more residences would fall outside MOECC guidelines because the summer/winter profile is flawed by not correcting for wind shear. Furthermore, since MM92 wind turbines have been the subject of a number of lawsuits, Mr. James contends that WPD’s modeling calculations are fundamentally too low.
James was equally critical of the MOECC guidelines and methods, which he said are not used by reputable acousticians.  For example, the effect of wind shear in relation to upwind turbines versus downwind turbines has been known since the 1980’s.  The MOECC relies solely on the dB(A) scale, which is inadequate for measuring Low Frequency Noise (LFN).  Adverse sensations from infrasound have been known since the 1980’s and refute the wind industry claim that LFN has no effect on humans.
Next, the Tribunal qualified Steven Cooper as an acoustical engineer on the basis of his professional work and research into aircraft and wind turbine noise in both Australia and the United States. Cooper summarized his 700-page report on the Cape Bridgewater Wind Farm in Australia.
The commissioned report is unique because it had the cooperation of the wind project operator and the extensive participation of six project residents who had complained of adverse effects.  The study undertook noise, LFN, and vibration measurements in relationship to specific wind speeds and turbine output, and correlated these with “sensations” and “vibrations” experienced by residents.  In 37 percent of incidents it found the most severe responses (including the necessity of leaving home) occurred when turbines had increased power by 20 percent or were operating at maximum power.  But even when turbines were not operating due to high wind gusts, residents had severe responses because of vibration emanating from towers.
Cooper censured WPD’s “Noise Assessment Report” because it cited noise levels but made “no assessment of the impacts of the development” in terms of what is an acceptable noise level in a rural location.  It was also flawed by relying solely on dB(A) measurements while ignoring inaudible but measurable infrasound.
Under cross-examination both Cooper and James were quizzed on isolated facts and opinions in their lengthy witness statements and numerous supporting documents, but they remained firm in the judgments that the combined effects of audible noise and infrasound are not safe for long-term exposure and that White Pines will cause serious harm to the health of many residents.
The ERT continues on Friday, November 20, 10 a.m. in the Essroc Centre.
For more information on the White Pines project and to donate toward this appeal please go to: https://appec.wordpress.com/

Doctors say enough evidence of wind farm harm to use Precautionary Principle

Telling the truth, the whole truth
Telling the truth, the whole truth

Report on Environmental Review Tribunal Hearing on White Pines Wind Project‏‎

November 18

by

Paula Peel, Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC)

 
APPEC’s health case proceeded​ on Day 8 with two experts providing evidence to the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) on the White Pines wind project: Dr. Alun Evans and Dr. Robert McMurtry.
 ​
Dr. Evans, Professor Emeritus at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, has studied cardiovascular disease for 30 years.  Dr. Evans told the Tribunal that his involvement in wind turbines is tangential to his interest in noise, sleep disturbance, and cardiovascular disease.  But he has also met many people severely impacted by wind turbine noise.
  
Citing published studies, Dr. Evans explained that the major adverse health effects of wind turbines seem to be due to sleep disturbance and sleep deprivation, mainly from loud noise and low-frequency noise (LFN), particularly infrasound.  Dr. Evans finds the “impulsive, intrusive and incessant nature” of wind turbine noise a particularly troublesome feature that is highly discernible in rural areas.  LFN, which is inaudible, is propagated over long distances and penetrates buildings where it can be amplified by insulation and closed windows.  Dr. Evans noted that sleep deprivation is associated with increased likelihood of developing a range of chronic diseases, including Type 2 diabetes, cancer, coronary heart disease, and heart failure.  His recent systematic literature review  found 18 published studies establishing an association between wind turbine noise and human distress.
  
While agreeing with James Wilson, counsel for WPD, that “human distress” is not a medical term Dr. Evans said that human distress needs to be taken seriously nonetheless.  He also agreed with Wilson that the results of observational studies do not constitute “proof”.   But what is important about these studies is the strength of the associations, which are certainly enough to point to the Precautionary Principle. 
 
Robert McMurtry, MD and Emeritus Professor of Surgery at University of Western Ontario, has studied adverse health effects from industrial wind turbines since 2008.  His public engagement includes   a 2009 Deputation to the Ontario legislature’s Standing Committee on the proposed Green Energy and Green Economy Act; expert witness testimony at the 2011 ERT on the Kent Breeze project; 2011 publication of “Toward a Case Definition of Adverse Health Effects in the Environs of Industrial Wind Turbines”; 2014 publication (with Carmen Krogh) in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine of “Diagnostic criteria for adverse health effects in the environs of wind turbines”; 2014 invited commentary by the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) on the Health Canada Study; 2015 literature review, “Do wind turbines cause adverse health effects?” presented to the Acoustical Society of America; and 2015 Response to “Invitation to Submit” from the Senate of Australia.
When asked by Wilson to confirm statements in the Health Canada Study Dr. McMurtry clarified that he does not accept the findings because of many problems with study design and participation.  Among these are the principal investigator’s ongoing work for the wind industry and evidence of communications between Health Canada and the industry, including disclosure of the study prior to public release.
In contrast, Dr. McMurtry cited Dr. Cooper’s Cape Bridgewater study showing there is an indirect pathway for adverse health effects.  Dr. Cooper visited people’s homes and found that emissions from wind turbines could be detected without hearing them.
 
Dr. McMurtry stressed the fact that no wind farm monitoring has even been done in Ontario.  “It would be possible, as cited since 2006,” he said, “to reduce or eliminate the boundless discourse of dueling experts by conducting appropriate third-party research.”  The MOECC regulations are based upon out-of-date standards that fail to evaluate LFN and infrasound.
Both of today’s health experts emphasized that White Pines would harm a significant number of people. Eric Gillespie noted the importance of APPEC’s witnesses. He told the Tribunal that this is the first time the link has been established at an ERT hearing between wind turbine noise and those who are afflicted. 

Environmental Review Tribunal finds Settlers Landing project will cause harm to environment

Justice for the environment? We'll see...
Justice for the environment? We’ll see…

Next step is to hear from all parties on remediation

In a decision released today, the Environmental Review Tribunal has ruled that the proponent for the Settlers Landing wind power project near Pontypool Ontario will cause harm to the natural environment.

The Tribunal finds that engaging in the Project in accordance with the REA will cause serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment as set out in s. 145.2.1(2)(b) of the EPA. Specifically, the Tribunal finds that construction and decommissioning of turbines 3 and 5, and the access roads to turbines 2, 3 and 5, will cause such harm to a significant woodland identified as Woodland 11, including the habitat it represents.

The Tribunal also found that the Appellant did not have grounds for its appeal on harm to human health.

The next step, according to the Tribunal, is:

Consistent with the Ontario Court of Appeal decision in Prince Edward County Field Naturalists v. Ostrander Point GP Inc., 2015 ONCA 269 (CanLII), the Tribunal is providing a separate opportunity for the parties and participants to address the appropriate remedy and the Tribunal’s remedial jurisdiction in this case under EPA s. 145.2.1(4), which provides:

145.2.1 (4) If the Tribunal determines that engaging in the renewable energy project in accordance with the renewable energy approval will cause harm referred to in clause (2) (a) or (b), the Tribunal may,

(a) revoke the decision of the Director;

(b) by order direct the Director to take such action as the Tribunal considers the Director should take in accordance with this Act and the regulations; or

(c) alter the decision of the Director, and, for that purpose, the Tribunal may substitute its opinion for that of the Director.

 

A telephone conference is scheduled to determine next steps and timing in this matter.

Graham Andrews of Eric K Gillespie Legal Corporation was acting for the appellant.

http://www.ert.gov.on.ca/english/decisions/index.htm