MOECC’s Chappell to appear before West Grey Council

Ontario public servant and MOECC manager Rick Chappell (4th from left) at a meeting in December: adverse health effects are “a matter of opinion.” The MOECC mandate is to protect the environment and human health. [Photo: Wind Concerns Ontario]

District Manager for Owen Sound Rick Chappell (and apparent designated point person for issues on complaints and compliance) will appear before Council for the Municipality of West Grey, on Monday, March 5.

The Council meeting begins at 10 a.m. but  we have learned Mr. Chappell’s presentation is scheduled for 1:15 p.m.

The West Grey invitation is the latest in a series of Ontario municipal council invitations to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, asking for an explanation to hundreds — thousands — of unresolved complaints about wind turbine noise.

Mr. Chappell previously appeared before Council in Kincardine. A video record of his appearance, in which he states that the MOECC’s position is that infrasound has no effect on health, is here.(Start at minute 12)

Mr. Chappell has also stated that he understands “annoyance” is a result of exposure to wind turbine noise emissions, but he commented that the annoyance was like hearing barking dogs, and not related to serious adverse health effects. He is not correct: the World Health Organization and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency both acknowledge “annoyance” as a medical term denoting stress or distress, which can in turn result in adverse health impacts.

Rick Chappell also appeared recently before the Multi-Municipal Wind Turbine Working Group. Following his presentation, representatives of the Working Group wrote to Chappell and stated that in their view, the MOECC was misleading the public. See a report on that meeting and read the letter here.

“Your presentation was disappointing. It appeared to be designed to mislead the public into thinking there are no health problems. You presented a rosy picture of a government that is busy working  on our behalf. But our experience shows that it is not.

You admitted at the meeting that you are aware that some people living near wind turbines are getting sick. You agree that IWTs cause annoyance and that leads to health issues. It is time to accept this and move forward— to protect the public so that they are not adversely impacted.”

In recent appearances, Mr. Chappell described the current situation in Ontario in which few wind power projects actually have completed a full I-emission audit which is needed to check compliance with the noise regulations; when there are noise complaints, he said, the response would be to check against an audit, but if there isn’t one, the MOECC simply requests that the power developer/operator complete the audit. (Any resemblance to a hamster wheel for Ontario residents living next to wind turbines is completely by design.)

Citizens from West Grey will be able to attend the meeting next week and observe. The Council meeting is also televised here.

Wind Concerns Ontario received information from the MOECC in 2017 on reports of excessive noise and vibration and learned that of the thousands of complaints received, more than half (54%) received no response at all from Ministry staff; a further 31% were noted as “planned” and 14% were “deferred” but only 1% were noted as a priority. The Ministry does not publicly report on “Spills” or complaints regarding wind turbine environmental noise.

Geologic engineer disagrees with MOECC on well water contamination

Former oil drilling roughneck now university professor says vibrations such as from pile-driving is well known to affect wells. The MOECC, however, relies on a report from the power developers’ consultant, which says it doesn’t. Choosing what to measure seems key.

Experts are lined up against the MOECC in their views on what’s happening in Chatham-Kent [Photo: Council of Canadians]

Debate continues on water wells and contamination

Jeffrey Carter

Special to Ontario Farmer

February 20, 2018

Geological engineer Maurice Dusseault wasn’t surprised to hear that Chatham-Kent water wells were contaminated in the wake of pile driving for wind turbines.

“Pile driving emits a lot of low-frequency energy, and it is not at all surprising to me that there could be related groundwater effects. The concept of large-amplitude, low frequency excitation as an aid to liquid flow is reasonably well-known,” the University of Waterloo professor said.

“Low frequency deformation waves are absolutely known to lead to fluctuation in ground water levels as well as changes in the particulate count in shallow groundwater wells.”

In addition, Dusseault said affected residents were well-advised in having their wells baseline tested prior to construction last summer. It’s the type of evaluation he recommends.

Before and after tests sent by the Water Wells First citizens’ group to RTI Laboratories in Michigan show an exponential increase [in] turbidity among the 14 affected wells, including [a] large proportion that can be attributed to Kettle [Point] black shale particles that are known to contain heavy metals, including uranium, arsenic and lead.

That’s not the conclusion reached by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, as outlined in letters recently sent to affected well owners living near the North Kent One project in the northern part of the Municipality of Chatham-Kent.

While there’s been an admission that wells have indeed been contaminated, that contamination can only be attributed to “unidentified factors.”

Pile-driving activities associated with wind turbine development are not to blame, the MOECC maintains.

The MOECC, in coming to its conclusion, relied upon the vibration evaluations prepared for the developers Samsung and Pattern Energy, by Golder Associates Limited. Golder measured changes to particle velocity as a measure of vibration intensity created by pile driving.

“The ministry has reviewed Golder’s assessment and agreed with the conclusion that any pile driving -induced vibrations at your well would have been much lower than those created during common daily activities around the homes,” a letter to one of the affected families states.

The parameters used by Golder, however, may be flawed…. Read more

Oneida First Nations says Ontario, U.S. wind power developer failed duty to consult

February 17, 2018

Oneida Chief Randall Phillips with Dutton Dunwich Council: approval process not transparent, not “straight up” [Photo Vicki Gough/PostMedia]

The St. Thomas Times-Journal has reported that the Oneida First Nation in the London area of Ontario is not happy with the approval process for a wind power project that saw them left out of the consultation process entirely, while the Chicago-based power developer went to other First Nations, one as far away as north of Lake Superior, near the Manitoba border.

Oneida Chief Randall Phillips says the wind power approval process in Ontario is “not straight up” and is rife with flaws.

The First Nations that did lend their support to the Dutton Dunwich project claimed that they have few if any opportunities to participate in renewable energy projects, and that they saw the project as a way to enrich their community. Meanwhile, members of the First Nation that would be affected by the project were not even made aware it was being proposed.

The Ontario government, as the Crown, has a legal obligation to consult with Aboriginal peoples when it contemplates decisions that may adversely affect Aboriginal or treaty rights.

In 2014, the Fort William First Nation took legal action to show that both the wind power developer and Ontario had failed in their duty to consult over a proposed wind power project. The project was eventually not approved, for a variety of reasons, not least of which were First Nations concerns about consultation and environmental impact.

The “Strong Breeze” project by U.S. power developer Invenergy has gone through the formal application process and is now waiting for Renewable Energy Approval (REA) by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. #MOECC . A referendum held by the municipality showed that 84 percent of resident opposed the project but the Ontario government proceeded with the application-approval process anyway.

Read the entire article here.

 

Community group fights back on wind farm court decision

A Prince Edward County community group seeking a Judicial Review of decisions made by government to push forward an unwanted and unneeded wind power project has had all motions dismissed by an Ottawa court. They’re not stopping …

Sign in Dutton Dunwich: a judge says opposition to huge wind power projects is not seen outside Prince Edward County in Ontario

February 13, 2018

The County Coalition for Safe Appropriate Green Energy (CCSAGE-Naturally Green Inc.) last year filed for a Judicial Review of decisions behind the White Pines power project in Prince Edward County, and on the relationship between government and wind power developers.

Here is the latest news, from John Hirsch, CCSAGE director.

Status of CCSAGE Judicial Review Application

As readers may recall, CCSAGE filed motions at the Superior Court in Ottawa last June 14 and 15 regarding their Judicial Review Application.  The motions sought to protect CCSAGE from costs, and to compel the government agencies to produce the records of their decisions regarding the approval of wpd White Pines and the transmission lines. A motion was filed by OEB regarding their removal from the case.

In his decision on these Motions, issued on January 9, 2018, Justice Labrosse essentially denied all of CCSAGE’s requests but did allow OEB to be removed from the case.

CCSAGE has studied Justice Labrosse’s decisions and found them to contain numerous errors and misunderstandings.

Consequently, CCSAGE is appealing all the negative decisions to the Divisional court. The appeal is in the form of a “Notice of Motion to Vary”.

CCSAGE believes their arguments are sound and that the Judicial Review application is more important than ever. 

Read the documents here:

Divisional Court decision 15-2162: https://www.canlii.org/en/on/onscdc/doc/2016/2016onsc8147/2016onsc8147.html?autocompleteStr=15-2162&autocompletePos=1

(Editor’s note: for some reason the decision posted on CanLii is truncated at paragraph 53. Read the whole document here: https://gallery.mailchimp.com/d95b2b359d6e0c1d4df0bb8f7/files/c7d16b85-9dfb-49a0-b9eb-e80db4b5cc0c/Labrosse.pdf)

“Motion to Vary” CCSAGE: https://gallery.mailchimp.com/d95b2b359d6e0c1d4df0bb8f7/files/a7b8629c-5aa7-44bc-b979-ac80570f9f5f/Motion_to_Vary.pdf

No ‘significant opposition’?

Of special interest to Wind Concerns Ontario members, Ontario’s rural residents, and rural communities is the statement by Mr. Justice Marc Labrosse that the motion to have the case proceed as a matter of “general interest” was denied because — you won’t believe this — “It appears that the GEA and REA process have taken their place in this province without significant opposition throughout rural Ontario. I am left to infer that this is a local issue in Prince Edward County and that it is not of general importance.”

A “local issue”? The facts are:

  • almost every single wind power project in Ontario since 2009 (and some before that) faced an appeal by members of the ‘host” community
  • 116 Ontario municipalities, or about one-quarter of the total, have passed resolutions at Council demanding a return of the local land-use planning powers that were stripped by the Green Energy Act
  • More than 90 Ontario municipalities have officially designated themselves “unwilling hosts” to wind power projects
  • Several municipalities have engaged in legal battles with the government and wind power developers to retain rights under the Municipal Act, in order to protect their citizens
  • Several academic articles appearing in peer-reviewed journals (Stewart Fast et al, 2016) have noted the Ontario government’s failure to respond to community concerns over wind power projects
  • Wind Concerns Ontario is a coalition with about 30 member community groups and hundreds of individual and family members, that has been active since 2009

This decision, and the various machinations of the parties involved, can be seen in no other way but an attempt to see that once again, justice is denied to Ontario’s rural citizens.

Wind Concerns Ontario

Chaos on Amherst Island

Road closures on February 7: concerns about safety and violations of road use agreements [Photo: Brian Little]

February 9, 2018

Of course, one expects there to be a certain amount of upset when a community is in the midst of construction, especially such a huge project as the (unwanted, unneeded) wind power project on Amherst Island.

But residents there are deeply concerned over unscheduled road closures, road blockages and more. On Tuesday, a resident reports, roads were closed so that people could not leave their properties at all—questions were raised about access by emergency vehicles, should they have been needed.

In a recent report by Global News, residents state that unscheduled road closures have meant missed ferry trips to the mainland, but there is more. The local mayor says the wind power developer is actually out of compliance with agreements and contract conditions.

Loyalist Township Mayor Bill Lowry says he’s exhausted and frustrated that promises that were made to the municipality have been broken. He says residents are voicing their concerns to council but their patience is running out.

“How long do we have to take this, how long does the island have to take this? It’s been far too long, we’ve been three months of being out of compliance,” Lowry, told Global News.

“I’m in communication last week and this week with the IESO, which is the Independent Electricity System Operations, which are basically responsible for the construction of these energy projects. I’m so frustrated with the province in the fact that they don’t have a ministry that’s coming to our aid.”

In a statement to CKWS News, Windlectric Inc. says in part, “there is an agreed upon Operations Plan that sets out how to best build the project in a way that is minimally disruptive for area residents. Our goal is for all aspects of the project to run smoothly.”

Where is the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change? Where is the IESO? Where is the Ontario Ministry of Labour?

Where are the government assurances of a better, safe environment for the people of Amherst Island?

 

#MOECC #IESO

 

Halt approval process on Otter Creek wind farm, citizens say

Samples of sediment laden water. “Cold-blooded MOECC” [Photo: Chris Ensing CBC]

“Black Water” in wells in nearby North Kent has residents concerned about water safety and wind turbine construction. The lesson from Walkerton is that the MOECC is responsible for water quality, they say

February 5, 2018

Citizens’ group Water Wells First is calling the Ontario government decision to allow temporary water tanks to be removed from North Kent homes without water supply is “cold-blooded.”

Last week, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) informed residents that the results of the Ministry’s own testing of the water that is so sediment-laden some samples appear black, showed that water quality has “deteriorated” but that there is no association with wind turbine construction and pile driving.

“It’s a strong arm tactic,” said Water Wells First Kevin Jakubec at a news conference held this afternoon at one local farm that has been without water for months.

Residents in nearby Wallaceburg are extremely concerned as the proposed Otter Creek wind power project will be on the same Kettle Point Black Shale geology as the North Kent project.

“The Ministry response to the damaged well in North Kent is not good enough,” says Violet Towell, spokesperson for community group Wallaceburg Area Wind Concerns. “The deterioration of water quality in these wells didn’t just happen. As Mr Justice O’Connor confirmed in his 2002 report on the Walkerton water tragedy, the MOECC has responsibility for ensuring a safe water supply in Ontario — they should not stop investigating until they find out what is going on here.”

The Wallaceburg group says that the Otter Creek project should not receive a Renewable Energy Approval until the well water situation in North Kent is “thoroughly investigated and resolved,” says Towell.

It is a condition of Renewable Energy Approvals that “adverse effects” must be prevented; these are described in the Environmental Prevention Act, Section 1 (1) and include “adverse effect on the health of any person,” “impairment of the safety of any person,” “rendering any property or plant or animal unfit for human use,” and “loss of enjoyment of the normal use of property.”

To contact the Wallaceburg group: WAWC@kent.net