Wind turbines worry community more than oil pipeline: Financial Post

TransCanada Corp.’s 4,600-kilometre crude oil pipeline proposal aims to connect Hardisty, Alta. to a brand new export terminal in Saint John, N.B., connecting the oilsands to eastern refineries, and crossing hundreds of rural areas such as South Dundas along the route.

The Financial Post, December 14, 2015

BRINSTON, ONT. • Jason Cardinal fiddles with his baseball cap, leans back on the wall and mockingly counts his gripes with the latest energy project imposed on his eastern Ontario township.

“It’s an eyesore, it disturbs their cows, kills their birds and makes whistling sounds, blah, blah, blah,” he deadpans.

Cardinal lives near Brinston, a tiny agricultural community in the municipality of South Dundas roughly 70 kilometres south of Ottawa, where TransCanada Corp. last week hosted an open house for its proposed Energy East crude oil pipeline.

Cardinal and his friends Lloya Sprague and Mike Vanallen are more vocal about the wind turbines installed in the South Dundas municipality than the Energy East proposal. The 30-megawatt South Branch Wind Farm installed by Madrid-based EDP Renewables Canada Ltd., connected to utility distributor Hydro One, is part of Ontario government’s Green Energy Act plan to raise the contribution of renewable sources in the province’s energy mix.

The three firefighters serving the community were at the open house not representing the South Dundas fire department, but “were interested as a person” in the Energy East project, says Sprague.

But it’s not the $12 billion proposal to reverse the existing natural gas pipeline and convert it to take bitumen from Western Canada to East Coast that has Cardinal uneasy.

TransCanada Corp.’s 4,600-kilometre crude oil pipeline proposal aims to connect Hardisty, Alta. to a brand new export terminal in Saint John, N.B., connecting the oilsands to eastern refineries, and crossing hundreds of rural areas such as South Dundas along the route.


The 1.1 million barrels per day project was submitted to the National Energy Board last year, but the Calgary-based company will file an amendment to the application before the end of the year after scrapping plans for a marine terminal in Quebec.

The plan involves repurposing an existing 3,000-kilometre natural gas pipeline that runs from Alberta to Ontario with the Iroquois pump station 12.4 kilometres from Brinston marking the end of that line. As such, most landowners along the line are already familiar with the concept of a fossil fuel conduit running through their backyards.

TransCanada has been holding these open houses across Canada since 2013, as part of it community engagement agenda, but not each event has gone as quietly as Brinston. TransCanada spokesman Tim Duboyce says there have been protests at some of the 116 open houses the company has hosted, while general protests have not been uncommon. In May, hundreds of people marched through Red Head, N.B. to protest the project that ends near that community. Montreal, Kenora and Thunder Bay have also seen protests against the pipeline over the past year.

But it’s hard to find any opposition on this night in Brinston.

Famous for Caldwell towels and Mcintosh apples in nearby Dundela, South Dundas is primarily a town focused on growing soyabean, corn and dairy farming, where residents are more likely to be rattled by solar farms and wind turbines.

South Dundas mayor Evonne Delegrade says she has heard “nothing” on Energy East from her 33 communities that make up the township of roughly 11,000 people. Indeed, the 24 or people who showed up last Monday evening, many with children in tow, were there mostly out of curiosity about, not in opposition to, the pipeline project.

In contrast, Delegrade got an earful from the community last year when 10 wind turbines were installed after approval from the provincial government.

“For the wind turbines, we are not a supporting municipality in that the majority of council did not agree with the Green Energy Act,” Delegrade said, noting that an expansion of the project was voted down by her council.

Once it’s done [with construction], you will never hear about it again

While the Ontario Ministry of Energy is supportive of wind projects, “that’s not happening, to my knowledge, with this (Energy East) project,” Mayor Delegarde says.

Ontarians are paying a price for the Ministry of Energy’s push for wind turbines and solar farm projects, she says. “And this (Energy East) isn’t going to nickel and dime or add any taxes to our residents.”

Indeed, the province has come under sharp criticism for its zeal in pursuing expensive renewable energy projects. In a report this month, the provincial auditor general estimated that the Liberal Government’s decision to ignore its own planning process would cost electricity customers as much as $9.2 billion more for new wind and solar projects.

The wind turbines looming large over the community is part of its problem, says Sprague, noting that in contrast Energy East would be “out of sight, out of mind.”

“Once it’s done [with construction], you will never hear about it again,” says Vanallen.

Dave Chan for National Post
A model of a pipeline construction on display in Brinston, Ont., one of the communities across Canada where TransCanada held information sessions on the Energy East pipeline for local residents.  [Photo Dave Chan]

The latest round of “safety and emergency response days” has taken TransCanada to Prairie cities and towns in Ontario and Quebec. More are planned in Quebec before the end of the year where TransCanada may find a more frosty reception. Unlike much of Ontario, Quebec towns will see new pipes being laid and farmers largely unaccustomed to dealing with pipeline companies. In November, Premier Philippe Couillard sounded an early alarm by noting that the scrapping off the Quebec marine terminal would “complicate” the project’s approval by the province.

To be sure, the criticism is not as vitriolic as it often was during TransCanada’s own Keystone XL pipeline and Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway pipeline campaigns.

Indeed, last year, the Northwestern Ontario Municipalities Association (NOMA), comprising districts of Kenora, Rainy River and Thunder Bay that make up two-third of the province’s land mass, voted in support of the conversion of natural gas pipelines for the Energy East project.

Dave Chan for National Post
South Dundas mayor Evonne Delegarde. [Photo Dave Chan]

“The majority of the community is fine with the conversion as long as the safeguards are put in place,” says David Canfield, mayor of Kenora and president of NOMA.

“But if they were trying to pull a wool over our eyes, as the saying goes, with Energy East, I will be the first one to come down on them,” Canfield adds. “So far they have been very open to our concerns.”

Fearing a repeat of a crude-laden train exploding as happened at Lac Megantic, Que., the municipality association’s largely symbolic vote was driven by a desire to rid the communities of 32,000 petroleum laden rail cars that regularly roll through the towns each year.

“Those tracks don’t bypass the communities — in most cases they go straight through,” said Iain Angus, a member of the Thunder Bay Council and member of NOMA council.

NOMA is also seeking assurances from TransCanada that the communities’ drinking water and hunting and recreational facilities will be protected.

“If things happen that we didn’t like, we would modify our position,” Angus said in a phone interview.

While the umbrella association is in agreement, the city of Thunder Bay, the most populous municipality in Northwestern Ontario, is divided on the project, with mayor Keith Hobbs “totally opposed” to the pipeline. Another council member was not convinced that the pipeline would reduce crude-by-rail traffic.

“At this juncture, [I’m] totally opposed to this pipeline,” Hobbs said in September, according to a CBC report. “Lake Superior, to me, is more important than any jobs. I want jobs in this city, but water comes first. Water is life.”

Dave Chan for National Post
 Local residents of South Dundas look at a map of the region with TransCanada staff at an information session on the Energy East pipeline. [Dave Chan for National Post]

In September, the city council agreed to delay a vote on the pipeline after Angus — who supports Energy East — put forward a motion to defer it.

“The pipeline is 70 kilometres north of the city,” Angus says dryly. “It’s well outside of our municipal boundaries.”

Separately, a volunteer organization headed by Angus has launched an Energy East task force, seeking National Energy Board funding to do its own consultation with First Nations and the general public.

Awareness of the pipeline will likely rise among communities once the the review process gathers momentum, but for now visitors to Matilda Hall in Brinston are merely intrigued passers-by.

One man from Morrisburg, with a worn-out cap taming his long, graying hair, brought his three young daughters to the event. After spending about 20 minutes in the hall, he stepped out of the centre and lit a cigarette that he had rifled from a small ziploc bag.

A TransCanada employee started explaining the company’s spill response, and the man punctuated his response with a slightly bored “Is that right?” line. Did he get all his concerns addressed, he is asked. He sucks on his cigarette: “Yeah, I wasn’t concerned, just curious.”


Wind Concerns Ontario note: the Financial Post photographer had to work hard to get a pic of Brinston without a turbine in it. Here is a photo from Ottawa photographer Ray Pilon of a house and a 3-MW turbine, at Brinston.

3-MW wind turbine and house near Brinston: Ontario hasn't learned a thing. [Photo: Ray Pilon, Ottawa]
3-MW wind turbine and house near Brinston. [Photo: Ray Pilon, Ottawa]

White Pines appeal schedule announced

The remaining dates for the White Pines appeal in Prince Edward County was announced at the hearing in Toronto yesterday, December 15.

  1. Final submission scheduled for January 5th.
  2. Responding submission scheduled for January 15th.
  3. Reply January 19th
  4. Oral submission January 20th
The Tribunal also decided to allow themselves additional time to write the decision.  They have adjourned the hearing to allow for an extension of the deadline from January 29 2016 to Feb. 19, 2016.
For more information on the power project and to donate to this legal action please go to the website for the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County.

Ontario’s energy costs and the mining industry: investment interest slipping says Parker Gallant

Ontario's Ministry of Northern Development and Mines : using the  increase in gold value to prove policy success. (We're not buying it.)
Ontario’s Ministry of Northern Development and Mines : using the increase in gold value to prove policy success. (We’re not buying it.)

Ontario’s ministries of selective facts 

On December 11, 2015 Michael Gravelle’s ministry Northern Development and Mines, issued a press release announcing a renewed Mineral Development Strategy (MDS) and, as is generally done with those provincial press releases, it contained a “Quick Facts” section.  Also as usual, you only see the positive ones.

As an example, one of the “Quick Facts” listed in the release states: “The value of mineral production in 2003 was $5.7 billion. In 2014, the value of mineral production was a record $11 billion.”

On examination of that fact via data from the Mining Association of Canada’s (MAC) 2014 report you learn that in 2003, Ontario produced 28.3% of the value of all Canadian mining production, but by 2013 the “value” had dropped to 22.5%.   If you then look at the value of the three highest valued minerals mined in Ontario, you see they are gold, copper and nickel. The value of those three minerals increased by 142% in the 2003/2013 period, from $5.7 billion to $13.9 billion.  So, in other words, the claim made in the Quick Facts shows an increase of 92%, which is considerably less than the commodity price increase.

One could easily surmise the drop in Ontario’s percentage values of all Canadian production was caused by a reduction of investments (Ontario ranked 4th) in mining and processing/refining activities — but that wouldn’t make for a snappy positive “quick fact”.

For example, the “Ring of Fire” got the Ontario government plenty of media attention because of their lack of commitment to infrastructure spending. That resulted in the exodus of several large and small mining companies seeking to develop mines in the region.   Nothing in the Mineral Development Strategy suggests anything will change!

As a coincidence to the Ministry’s press release and the MDS, the Ontario Mining Association (OMA) a week prior had posted on their website a “welcome” release to a report from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) titled Digging Deeper: Strengthening Ontario’s Mining Advantage, which carried the following message deemed worth repeating on the OMA post:

“In recent years, however, the sector has struggled due to both global factors, including economic uncertainty and lower demand for mineral products, and Ontario-specific challenges. These challenges include rising costs, particularly electricity rates as well as regulatory uncertainty and a lack of essential infrastructure.”

The message in the MAC 2014 report was similar but wasn’t specific to Ontario:

“Canada’s processing facilities operate in a global arena, where China and other countries are expanding their capacity and competing fiercely for raw materials. The cost of electricity is also a factor in some Canadian jurisdictions. Given the energy-intensive nature of these value-added processes, high-cost power jurisdictions dampen the competitiveness of existing operations and can deter future investment.”

The Ministry’s response on the issue of high-cost electricity was contained in one of their “10 point action plans” in the MDS, released days after the OCC report: “Improve our cost competitiveness by reviewing current energy programs and providing ongoing assistance to mining and processing operations to ensure competitiveness.” Which means, another review! 

While the mining sector endorses the use of renewable energy they note the high capital costs associated with both wind and solar power generation and the need to continue to generate their electricity with diesel fuel, due to the lack of grid connection availability in many mining and processing locations.

That latter issue is obvious to Southern Ontario’s rural communities saddled with the industrial wind turbines connected to the grid to supply intermittent power to large urban communities such as Toronto and grids to export surplus power to our neighbours in New York, Michigan, and others who purchase it for cents on the dollar.   Selling surplus power at a huge discount penalizes not only residential ratepayers, but also our mining sector which estimates the cost of electricity/fuel is their second highest expense at over 60% of labour costs on a Canada-wide basis.

It’s about time for some real facts from Ontario’s Ministries!

©Parker Gallant

December 13, 2015

The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not represent Wind Concerns Ontario policy.


Hidden Australian documents detail risk, no environmental benefit to wind power

The 12-MW Windy Hill wind farm in Queensland: concerns deliberately withheld
The 12-MW Windy Hill wind farm in Queensland: concerns deliberately withheld

Wind Energy Queensland

The Queensland Government’s own noise expert has warned proposed rules for wind farms in the State could cause public health and environment problems.

Bryan Lyons, spokesman for the community-based Wind Energy Queensland (WEQ) group, said today the warnings were revealed in documents obtained under a Right To Information (RTI) search.

“These documents show that warnings from the Queensland Government’s own noise expert were hidden from the relevant Minister and from the public,” Mr Lyons said.

“The expert report reveals that the proposed Queensland Government Wind Farm Code (version 2) will not protect residents’ health and wellbeing and will not protect their environmental values.

“The documents obtained under RTI also reveal these concerns were not passed on to the Planning Department or the Minister for Planning.”

Mr Lyons said the documents show that, on August 26, the noise expert in the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection provided his superiors with a list of nine points of concern regarding the draft Wind Farm Code.

“Those concerns were not subsequently forwarded from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection to the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, who have developed the current draft (version 2) of the Wind Farm Code.

“The concerns raised by the Queensland Government’s own noise expert confirm existing advice that independent noise experts conducting research in this area have already provided to courts, governments, Senate inquiries and community members dealing with wind farm proposals across Queensland.”

Mr Lyons said the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection had withheld the expert report.

“Wind Energy Queensland have previously asked Deputy Premier Jackie Trad to seek advice from her own Government noise expert. It is now clear from these documents that concerns were deliberately withheld by the department of Environment and Heritage Protection. A Senior Official from the Environment and Heritage Protection Department advised the Premier’s Department that they have ‘no fundamental concerns’ with the draft Wind Farm Code.

“However, the advice from the Noise Expert indicates that proposed wind farm standards in Queensland will not protect the health and wellbeing of our communities. It is extremely disturbing that this advice appears to have been kept secret from the Government department developing the Wind Farm Code, kept secret from the Minister for Planning, and kept hidden from the public.

“We are calling on the Deputy Premier to have the noise sections of the Wind Farm Code redrafted by Noise Experts in the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and scrutinised by an independent panel of Noise Experts, with those peer reviews made publicly available.

“This newly-revealed advice from the EHP Noise Expert also affects the recently approved Mt Emerald Wind Farm on the Atherton Tableland in North Queensland,” Mr Lyons said. “We believe the Mt Emerald approval is presently being renegotiated by the applicant, and we call on the Deputy Premier to take this opportunity to immediately amend the approval.”

Mr Lyons said the Government noise expert’s concerns confirm the concerns of residents in the Mt Emerald area that, if developed, the proposed wind farm will harm their community members even if it complies with the conditions of approval.

WEQ is a community-based group formed to ensure better planning of wind farms in Queensland. The communities represented include Dalveen, Crows Nest, Cooranga north (west of Kingaroy) and Mareeba.

Source:  11th December, 2015 – Wind Energy Queensland


This is a mistake, says MP as Australia reverses ban on wind power investment

“Wind just does not cut it,” says MP Dennis Jensen.

Australian Broadcasting System, December 13, 2015

Federal Government lifts Tony Abbott’s wind farm investment ban


The Federal Government has lifted a ban on wind farm investment first introduced by former prime minister Tony Abbott.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt issued new advice to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), requesting a focus on “offshore wind technologies”.

Under the new mandate, signed by Mr Hunt and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann on December 3, the $10 billion fund will be allowed to invest in wind projects, as long as they incorporate “emerging and innovative” methods.

“The Government has also directed the Corporation to include, as part of its investment activities in clean energy technologies, a focus on offshore wind technologies,” the directive issued to the CEFC said.

“This recognises that, in many circumstances, the financing requirements for mature and established clean energy technologies such as onshore wind technologies may be met from commercial financing sources.”

Key points:

  • In July former treasurer Joe Hockey ordered the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to stop funding wind projects
  • CEFC will now be allowed to invest in wind projects as long as they incorporate “emerging and innovative” methods
  • Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has promised more certainty for the renewable energy sector

In July, former treasurer Joe Hockey ordered the CEFC to stop funding wind power projects, as well as small-scale solar projects, a move condemned by the industry, as well as environmental groups and the Federal Opposition.

Five months later, the CEFC quietly announced $67 million in financing for Australia’s third largest wind farm at Ararat in Western Victoria.

It follows consultations with new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who has promised more certainty for the renewable energy sector.

Acting Greens leader Larissa Waters said it was a small but welcome step.

“Tony Abbott was prepared to take the axe to renewable energy and was going to restrict investment,” she said.

“We know wind is going to be part of the solution and we’ve got some fantastic wind deposits here in Australia.”

‘A positive step forward’

Victoria’s Environment Minister Lisa Neville said the decision to overturn the ban was good news for local jobs and dealing with climate change.

“It’s been a very rocky 18 months for the industry and investment which has caused a lot of losses of jobs across Australia so this is a positive step forward,” she said.

South Australia’s Environment Minister Ian Hunter also welcomed the move.

“There are a number of wind farms in the pipeline. We’re aiming for $10 billion worth of investment, we’ve already had $6.4 billion, and I know that there’ll be a number announced in the new term,” he said.

The general manager of wind tower manufacturer Keppel Prince, Steve Garner, said it was the start of a new era for renewable energy under the Turnbull Government.

“People need to realise, the CEFC is a real strong arm of renewable energy and projects throughout the nation and there is an absolute need to maintain the CFEC’s position in the industry because it really does help any new wind farm to get up there going,” he said.

“With the RET out there at the moment being a target that needs to be met by 2020, I see the CEFC as an important group that need to survive to ensure that target is actually met.”

He said it was another level of certainty for the wind energy industry.

“We’ve had a lot of ups and downs but we’ve got two more federal elections before 2020 and I’d have a lot of confidence to say that target will increase dramatically,” he said.

Federal Liberal MP Dennis Jensen said the decision to start investing in wind farms again was a mistake.

“I think that’s a bad decision, to be quite frank,” he said.

“Wind power just does not cut it, and they pretend that they’re economically competitive but then they acknowledge that without things like RETs and renewable energy targets and also subsidies, there wouldn’t be any more wind turbines built.”

Google Earth good enough for research by White Pines environmental consultants

What? We don't show up on Google Earth? [Photo: Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory]
What? We don’t show up on Google Earth? [Photo: Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory]

Wind power developer wildlife consultant never visited Prince Edward County, used Google Earth to inspect the site, and dismisses “Important Bird Area” designation (that’s for bird-watchers, he says in testimony)

Report on Environmental Review Tribunal Hearing on White Pines Wind Project

December 11 

On Day 20 the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) on the White Pines wind project heard APPEC witness Rick James and an expert witness for developer WPD, Dr. Dale Strickland.

Mr. James, qualified previously as an acoustician, presented new evidence in reply to Denton Miller, witness for the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC).  Following new ministry guidelines and omitting disallowed wind turbines T7 and T11, he calculated that 13 “points of receptions” (i.e., homes) would suffer noise above 40 dBA.

Both MOECC counsel Andrew Weretelnyck and WPD counsel James Wilson questioned Rick James on 40 dBA as a measure of serious harm.  James said the MOECC had set this compliance limit and the World Health Organization (WHO) had found health effects, specifically annoyance and sleep disturbance, start at 40 dBA.

In re-examination APPEC counsel Eric Gillespie confirmed with James that WHO had reported noise complaints during nighttime begin at 35 dBA.

Dale Strickland, Ph.D., founder and president of Western EcoSystems Technology, a Wyoming consulting firm with business and government clients, has published over 150 scientific papers and technical reports during a 40-year career.  The Tribunal qualified him as “a zoologist with expertise in ecological research and wildlife management, including assessing the impacts of wind turbines on wildlife.”

WPD counsel Patrick Duffy asked Dr. Strickland about the appropriate scientific measure for serious and irreversible harm.   He said it is based on the overall genetic and demographic status of a species’ population.

According to Dr. Strickland, the White Pines surveys of birds and bats are “adequate,” conform to established methods and published guidance, and are similar to those for other wind projects.  Bats would not be high in number without the presence of hibernacula.  Acoustical surveys are not necessary because they record bats at ground level and the results do not correlate with bat deaths at wind turbine rotor level.

Dr. Strickland also said the effects on habitat would be minimal.  Loss from access roads and other construction is relatively small, and displacement from habitat would not be significant because of the project size.

Regarding collisions, Dr. Strickland predicted 5-15 bird deaths annually per turbine, the same as at other North American sites.  He defended the Wolfe Island monitoring records, stating the mortality rates are reasonable for a searched radius of 50m, an area commonly used at other wind projects.  Considering the project location and size, he concluded that White Pines would not cause serious and irreversible harm to wildlife.

In cross-examination Eric Gillespie confirmed that Dr. Strickland had not visited the White Pines site but had based his opinions on WPD’s reports and on Google Earth images.  Although aware of Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area and Point Petre Provincial Wildlife Area, he did not know their proximity to wind turbines.  However, he dismissed the “globally significant” South Shore Important Bird Area because the IBA designation reflects convenient public access and use of the site for bird-watching.

Dr. Strickland did not know of an “activity report” by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests finding five threatened bird species and three bat species in the White Pines area.  He agreed with Mr. Gillespie that such information might have influenced his opinions.  Similarly, he conceded that if there had not been adequate surveys for karst, then one needed more information to estimate the bat population.  He also admitted that the cumulative effects of wind projects must be considered to determine local impacts on birds.

When asked by ERT co-chair Marcia Valiante about a proposed 31ha compensation property, Dr. Strickland said it would have little measurable effect on the populations of displaced bobolinks and eastern meadowlarks.

-by Henri Garand, APPEC

Take a drive through newly industrialized West Lincoln, letter writer says

Dec. 10/15Dear Editor:


I invite you, and your readers in Niagara Region to take a drive through West Lincoln township and view the INDUSTRIAL wind turbines that are being installed there.  You will be awed by the size of these turbines, so much so, that you will never again call them “windmills”.

You do not need  a map:  just start at the Transmission Station just past Wellandport and follow the  orange stakes down Canborough, Port Davidson Road, Sixteen and Tober Road, Road 6, Twenty hwy, Road. 5 , Young Street, Walker Road, and Mountain View Road.  (The stakes can always be found opposite existing transmission lines).  These stakes are placed in the road allowance to mark  the location at which  the transmission poles will be placed.

You will also notice, on Canborough,  Port Davidson, Tober and many of the side roads, the construction of the connector lines, which are to be buried and  eventually,  bring the raw power from the turbines to the transformer station where they will be transformed into 230mw of power which will travel on the 115kw lines down the transmission lines.  Realize that all 77 turbines  will be connected by connector  lines. There will be miles of these lines criss-crossing along most of the county roads in  the township.  Plan your trip to include  Vaughn Road  to get a really good taste of the mess that the residents of these roads have to put up with, on a daily basis, knowing that the process will take until August 2016 at the earliest.

Notice I did not tell you where to find the turbines.  You will not be able to miss them.  From kms


away you will see the activity.  If you want to see construction, visit Gee Road where the turbines are located close enough to the road for you to get a good look at what is happening at each and every turbine construction site. The security people can not prevent you from taking a good look from these two sites.

This past week a brand new interest has been added.  Drive  the proposed transmission line from the proposed Transformer station on Canbourgh and you will see bright green  florescent ribbons on just about every tree on the opposite side of  existing transmission lines.

Each and every tree that is marked is slated for demolition for  building of the transmission line.

The irony of it will almost make you laugh:  trees are natures best defense against climate change.  Trees produce CO2 which is Natures air purifier, and hundreds and hundreds of trees are being removed for a transmission line  which will produce Radon emissions and  stray voltage, as well.

Trees create an ecosystem to provide habitat and food for birds and other animals. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and potentially harmful gasses, such as sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide from the air and release oxygen. One large tree can supply a days supply of oxygen for four people.

Our trees, and the health of our community is being sacrificed for Industrial Wind Turbines which are not efficient, not green, not economically feasible or affordable, not nature friendly and riffed with controversy.

After you have taken your drive in the (newly industrialized) countryside, can you still say that it is worth the sacrifice of rural Ontario for the “common good”. Does this Industrialization of rural Ontario  make any sense to you?  Please contact your municipal officials and the MOECC and express your opinions and concerns to them.

Annoyance not a “disease” power developer witness tells Tribunal


Location: St John’s Hall, Village of Bath

Tribunal: Mr. Robert Wright & Mr. Justin Duncan

Lawyers for

Appellant:                  Eric Gillespie, Graham Andrews, EKG, LLP

Approval Holder :      John Terry, Torys, LLP

MOECC:                    Andrea Huckins

The parties agreed on the schedule for the day. Mr. Welbanks would be heard first and then the Panel would hear the evidence from Dr. Mundt ’s response to Dr. Phillips’ Witness Statement.

The Tribunal gave a partial ruling on the December 8 motion by the Approval Holder to exclude the reply witness statements of Les Stanfield, Daryl Cowell, Kari Gunson, Roy Nagle, Shawn Smallwood, Carl Phillips and much of the reply witness statements of Christina Davy.

The Tribunal allowed Dr. Phillips, APAI’s witness, to reply to both Dr. McCunney and Dr. Mundt ’s responses to his Witness Statement. As the Panel is still conferring on the rest of the Motion, the full ruling and the reasons will be given later.


Citizens of Amherst Island for Renewable Energy

 Mr. Eric Welbanks was granted presenter status on behalf of Citizens of Amherst Island for Renewable Energy (“CAIRE”). He read from his Witness Statement.

After introducing himself, Mr. Welbanks talked about the organization of which he is the President and spokesperson. He explained that for the last 8 years, its mission has been to be ‘’the perpetual and sole voice for the proponents.  Mr. Welbanks told the Tribunal that CAIRE, an unincorporated organization, was made up of approximately 120 people who support the wind project and that virtually all of them lived on Amherst Island. He added that all of the landowners who will have turbines on their properties are members of the group,

He gave a brief perspective of the evolution of Amherst Island’s demography as well as his opinion on the agricultural and cultural development of the Island.

Mr. Welbanks described his organization’s involvement with the project and the actions they took to educate the members on the advantages and disadvantages of the project. He explained how they reassured themselves on health and the environment issues. He stated that he was satisfied with how their concerns were addressed by the Proponent. He added that they worked with the company on every aspect of any matter that related to their properties and raised issues of concern. He trusted that the proponent spent a significant amount of money to respond to their concerns. He said that one member of his group had been actively supporting and promoting the protection of the habitat in the Owl Woods and that some members were participants in the program to replace bird habitat. He concluded that his group had entire confidence in Algonquin Power.

The Tribunal asked questions about the financial compensation of its members and also asked clarification about the composition of the group and the different status of 120 members of the non-incorporated group. Mr. Wellbanks confirmed that they were receiving remuneration for turbines and that members of his group were direct or indirect family members and that there were all non-solicited and volunteer members. He added that all the members of the community would benefit significantly because of Windlectric’s generous contribution to the Benefit Agreement Fund. When the Panel asked his opinion on what the 120 members significance in terms of support for the project, Mr. Welbanks extrapolated on some provincial statistics to answer that according to him it would be 80% of support for the project.

Mr. Welbanks responded to a question form APAI’s lawyer by admitting that the community was divided on the issue but overall islanders were all friends. When asked if he agreed that there were better location than others for siting of the turbines, he defended the stating that the size of the project was greatly reduced. 

Dr. Kenneth Mundt 

Dr. Mundt who was qualified as an epidemiologist, listed his current and past employment. The Approval Holder’s lawyer walked him through some parts of his Witness Statement and asked him to elaborate on specific area.

After defining epidemiology, he talked about epidemiological study approaches versus other approaches. He described the many variations of both cohort and case-control studies with different strengths and weaknesses. He then discussed the differences between the case reports and case series and the use of self-reported accounts of symptoms or disease experience.

He was then asked to explain the determinants of the quality of epidemiological studies. He stated that in epidemiological studies, disease in a population is preferably characterized using measures of disease incidence vs. prevalence. He then talked about bias which refers to systematic (or methodological) errors that lead to inaccurate and potentially invalid or even misleading study results. He explained the different types and bias and the effects on studies.

In a second part he referred to his role in the Review of Epidemiology literature on wind turbines. He referred to a comprehensive review and synthesis of the peer-reviewed, published epidemiological literature specifically addressing potential health impacts of noise emissions from industrial wind turbines. He gave details of a total of 29 peer-reviewed published reports.

Finally he was asked to give his opinion on Dr. Phillips’ Witness Statement.

He concluded that based on his comprehensive review and synthesis of the published peer-reviewed epidemiological literature on the impact of industrial wind turbine noise emissions on human health identified only some inconsistent statistical correlations between the presence of industrial wind turbines and self-reported “annoyance,” but not that such exposures cause any disease or that exposure to wind turbine noise causes harm to human health, let alone serious harm to human health.

He added that while the literature inconsistently associates turbine noise with “annoyance,” the medical literature does not equate annoyance with disease or “serious harm to human health”. He added that he was unable to find the term “annoyance” in any medical dictionary, and when this term was used in the medical literature it was usually to describe the opposite end (i.e., the lowest extreme) of the spectrum of complaints. Furthermore, the 10th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) – the current compendium of all classified diseases – does not include “annoyance” as a disease entity.

On his systematic review and synthesis of the published, peer-reviewed

epidemiological literature, he concluded to a reasonable degree of scientific and epidemiological certainty that it is more likely than not that the operation of the wind turbines associated with the Amherst Island Wind Project will not cause “serious harm to human health”.

In cross-examination, he admitted never have been on Amherst Island and not having done an analysis of its population and other potential factors. He also acknowledged that he was not aware of the Island demographic. He disputed that the fact that a study that he co-authored in 2014 was biased even though a study footnote indicated that the study was funded by the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA)

Bombastic bombardment: Parker Gallant on Ontario news release barrage

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Or, just forget the whole thing

Ontario news releases are not really “news” says Parker Gallant

Wow! Signing up to receive updates from the Government of Ontario apparently means your e-mail in-box will pile up with a myriad of announcements that, on the surface, seem focused on making one believe the Ontario Liberal government is creating a utopia for everyone.

On December 7 three media messages popped up in my in-box: the first was all about putting HOT (high occupancy toll lanes) on the QE to relieve congestion. The Province’s oldest divided highway has apparently not been paid for yet, even though it opened in 1939; hence we need to put in toll lanes!

The second message was all about how Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba had signed a MOU (memorandum of understanding) “to facilitate their intent to link the cap and trade programs in Ontario, Québec and Manitoba under the Western Climate Initiative, further strengthening North America’s largest carbon market.” I was a little confused about what “ to facilitate their intent to link the cap and trade programs” actually meant until I read Premier Wynne’s quote which said: “Greenhouse gas emissions do not recognize borders, so climate change cannot be fought by individual governments alone. The new MOU on climate change among Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba commits us to collaborating on a broad range of initiatives, including cap and trade, to address climate change and meet emission targets. We can accomplish much more when we work together — only through our continued cooperation can we succeed in building a sustainable and prosperous world for future generations.”

Read more Bombastic bombardment

French dairy farmer sues over harm to cows from wind farm infrasound

Voice of America News, December 10, 2015

French Farmer Sues Wind Farm Over Stressed Cows

Published December 10, 2015

France, host of the U.N. climate conference, prides itself on being one of the world’s top innovators in wind energy technology, and wind turbines have become a symbol of the country’s commitment to clean energy. But the French government is coming under fire from farmers and others who say the proximity of some of the turbines is hurting wildlife and cattle. VOA Europe Correspondent Luis Ramirez went to a dairy farm in the northern Picady region to get one farmer’s story.

Click here for video report.

Related story here.