Wind company ‘gag’ orders hide the truth

 

In a recent article by the Anderson County Review, the conclusion on the non-disclosure clauses or “gag” clauses in wind turbine leases (property owners lease their land to wind power developers for terms of 20 years and more) was that the wind power corporations want silence from the leaseholders because, as the writer says, “If you control the smoke, there is no evidence of a fire.”

Leaseholders or “lessors” as they are called in the contracts, are prevented from revealing or discussing anything to do with the turbine operations on their land for the term of the lease, and that includes noise, flashing lights, the results of any noise testing — everything.

In Ontario, this came up a few years ago over the question of the disturbed water wells in North Kent. The landowners with turbines were probably affected too if vibrations from construction and operation was causing sediment to enter and clog wells, but they can’t say anything about it. The new leader of Water Wells First said last week she “knows there are more wells out there” beyond the 20 or so that are so badly affected they cannot be used.

The question arose, is this an obstacle to public health surveillance? The answer was that individual citizens would have to spend money taking the multi-billion-dollar wind corporations to court to establish that.

Here is the Anderson County Review article:

The wind may blow free, but the use of gag orders in lease agreements and easements that force property owners to keep their mouths shut about the realities they endure as sites for those giant wind turbines makes information flow anything but.

That’s critical in this fat cat, tax-credit fueled industry which, more and more, depends on secrecy as much as it does a steady breeze. Wind farm developers like to point to thousands of lease holders at projects across the country and how few complaints they have about their gigantic neighbors, but they never mention the source of all that satisfaction – prosecution and financial ruination due to gag clauses in those signed leases and easement agreements. Indeed, where you can keep control of the smoke, there’s no evidence of a fire.
Keeping tight control of information and particularly criticism from eye-witnesses is allowing wind companies like those moving against targets in Linn and Neosho counties and other rural communities in Kansas to go about their business without interference from public regulatory authorities and other outsiders who want to chronicle precisely how much damage is being done by wind turbines. Silenced victims suffer for their property, their environment and their own health. But the gag orders that bind those lease holders are clear: Speak up, particularly to the media, and not only will your lease payments disappear but we’ll sue you – and we’ll still have a 55-story tall tower on your land which you can’t stop us from operating.
Perhaps the most damning casualty of this secrecy is in the kibosh it has put to extended research on Wind Turbine Syndrome, a health condition identified among many people living near wind turbines and believed to be caused by light flicker from the moving blades, fluctuations in air pressure as those blades move past their base tower and low-frequency noise they produce. In her book “Wind Turbine Syndrome: A report on a natural experiment,” Dr. Nina Pierpont conducted extensive clinical interviews with 10 families living near wind farm turbines both in the U.S. and abroad. The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine-trained pediatrician discovered a striking uniformity of complaints from these families – migraine, motion sickness, vertigo, noise and visual and gastrointestinal sensitivity, and anxiety. Between the time of her interviews and the final publication of the book, nine of the ten families had fled their homes for residences away from wind farms, and a 10th who couldn’t afford to move did extensive renovations to their house in an attempt to defeat the pressure and frequency issues, and had reduced air flow inside the home to the point it was now hard to heat.
A full-on epidemiological study however will probably never be done – one that correlates the common symptoms Pierpont identified and possible causes like setback from a turbine and what aspects of exposure to measure – because the bulk of the study subjects are all gagged.
“Better Plan Wisconsin” is a wind farm opposition organization in the Badger State which got hold of a wind farm lease from a farmer who’d had enough. The story is nearly identical state to state and lease to lease. Landowners who sign leases or easements can’t discuss noise, vibration, shadow flicker or any disruptions the turbines might cause to their properties. The gag orders stop all discussion regarding the terms of the lease, or the construction or operation of the turbines, as well as speaking to reporters or to anyone in the media or issuing statements or press releases without the written permission of the wind company. Then there’s this jewel:
“This section shall survive the termination of expiration of this lease,” meaning the gag order survives forever, even after the lease is terminated. Under the threat of litigation, you are gagged for life.
Still, impoverished county leaders and farmers embrace the promise of lease payments and payments in lieu of taxes (Kansas wind farms are exempt from property taxes, unlike other power plants), ignoring the deafening silence coming from those signed to the lease agreements.
Yes, silence is golden. That’s just how the wind companies want it.
– Dane Hicks is publisher of The Anderson County Review in Garnett, Kan.

North Stormont citizen appeal dismissed

Courage undiminished in community resolute to protect the environment and health

New information on environmental and health effects of wind turbines was presented in the appeal. It wasn’t enough in a system stacked in favour of the developers. [Photo: Wind Concerns Ontario]
January 6, 2018

Although the people of North Stormont, just south of Ottawa, introduced many new concerns about wind turbine construction and operation –including evidence that has never before been presented at an appeal in Ontario –it wasn’t enough to meet the strategically constructed impossible test set up by the Green Energy Act.

The onus is on a community to prove that the power project “will cause” serious harm to human health and “will cause serious and irreversible harm” to the environment.

Never mind that the huge turbines will be built on what the province has designated a “highly vulnerable aquifer”.

Never mind that some of the turbines could be constructed and operate on unstable soil conditions including Leda or “quick” clay, in an earthquake zone. No seismic evaluations were ordered, or done.

Never mind the fact that two engineers testified about wind turbine failures in Ontario and the dangers of blade failure and ice throw. (The Tribunal’s answer to that was, OK, sure, maybe, but nobody has died yet, have they?)

Never mind that there are records of thousands of reports of excessive noise, sleep disturbance and adverse health effects filed with the Ontario government.

It is a credit to the people of rural Ontario that in the face of moneyed interests, a public service that is still entrenched in the previous Liberal government’s unfounded green energy ideology, and a set-up system stacked against people and communities (to say nothing of the environment), that they continue to fight.

The people of North Kent still want action on the damage done to their water wells; the people of Prince Edward County are still fighting to have an unnecessary and now cancelled wind power project actually removed; the people of Ontario living with turbines continue to file reports of excessive noise, despite government inaction.

And the people of North Stormont have vowed to fight on.

“We couldn’t just sit back and let the project go up without fighting it,” community group leader Margaret Benke told the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder in an interview. “We have options open to us, and that is the direction we’ll be going in now.”

Read the decision by the Environmental Review Tribunal here: http://elto.gov.on.ca/tribunals/ert/decisions-orders/  Case 018-028

Please help.

To contribute to the legal fight in North Stormont use GoFundMe here: https://ca.gofundme.com/stop-wind-turbines-in-northstormont

Or send a cheque to the Concerned Citizens of North Stormont in care of Wind Concerns Ontario, PO Box 509 250 Wellington Main Street, Wellington ON  K0K 3L0.

 

Changes to wind farm regulations not wide enough: WCO

Proposed changes to Regulation 359/09, which covers wind turbine siting, noise, and how project appeals are allowed, don’t begin to cover the landscape on Ontario’s problems with wind power projects, says Wind Concerns Ontario. For one thing, there is no protection for health and safety.

 

Regulation 359/09 doesn’t align with experience and research, and doesn’t protect health, safety or the environment

November 9, 2018

Proposed amendments to Regulation 359/09, infamous in rural Ontario subjected to wind power projects as being THE regulation responsible for the abuses of democracy and social justice, don’t begin to make the changes needed, Wind Concerns Ontario says in a comment document filed this week with the Ontario government.

“The wider provisions of the regulation do not align with the experience in Ontario and current research on the impact of wind turbines on communities,” president Jane Wilson wrote in a covering letter attached to the formal comment document.

“The conclusion of experience and research is that many aspects of the current regulation are not sufficient to protect the health and safety of residents living near the wind power projects. Significant changes are required.”

The document was filed with the government on November 5th.

Affected by wind turbine noise, vibration and well water disturbance, or have experience with effects on the environment and wildlife? Send the document to your MPP with your personal comments.

Read it here: 359 09 Comment WCO-FINAL-Nov5

 

 

Green Energy Act meant serious problems for rural Ontario: WCO

New draft bill doesn’t go far enough to address change needed to undo damage

October 30, 2018

Citizens of Dutton Dunwich oppose a wind power project–under the Green Energy Act, their concerns had no weight. A new bill doesn’t seem to change that.

 

In a presentation before the Standing Committee on Social Policy, Wind Concerns Ontario described the wide range of problems caused for all of Ontario, and especially rural and small-town communities, by the Green Energy Act.

Bill 34, which aims to change aspects of the Green Energy Act, is at the committee stage, before receiving final approval by the Legislature.

Presenting for the coalition of community group members and individuals and family members of Wind Concerns Ontario was executive vice-president Warren Howard, a former bank executive and municipal councilor.

He reviewed the problems with wind turbine noise and disturbed water wells; the removal of local land-use planning for municipalities; and the fact that municipalities are now being called upon by residents for help with these negative impacts of the wind power projects, but that they are helpless to do much. In some cases, he said, municipalities tried to take action to protect the health of their residents, but were met by threats of expensive legal action by wind power developers.

The rules for the approval and operation of wind power projects are not based on solid science, Howard said, and are today, out of line with rules in other jurisdictions.

Wind Concerns Ontario obtained documents showing thousands of official records of complaints of excessive noise and vibration from wind turbines, he said, but the response rate from the former Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change was poor.

In more than a few cases, people across Ontario have abandoned their homes because of the impact of wind turbine noise emissions.   Even though the Ministry’s Spills Action Line operates on a 24 hour-7 day per week basis and had the capability to respond on an emergency basis to other environment issues, the only response to wind turbine complaints was to advise the District Office who would respond in a day  or  so.  There is no evidence of action being taken on requests by frustrated residents that turbines be turned off so that they could sleep.

The new Bill does not go far enough in making the necessary changes required to repair the damage done to Ontario by the Green Energy Act, Howard explained to the committee. There is no change, for example, in the role of municipalities to approve wind power projects, and there seems to be no provision for enforcement of existing noise regulations, which need to be improved.

Wind Concerns called for retraction of the Chief Medical Officer of Health statement published in 2010, denying that health issues are linked to wind turbine noise. The document is incomplete and outdated, yet it is being relied on as the foundation for environment ministry response.

Wind Concerns also called for regulation 359/09 be rewritten and action be taken to address the 4,562 complaints about wind turbine problems.

The official submission to the Standing Committee on Social Policy is here: Social Policy Committee October 30 FINAL.

From ideology to facts: discussions on Ontario’s Green Energy Act

Party divisions are evident in discussions on Green Energy Act. Key points from an MPP whose constituents are threatened by an unnecessary wind power project bring the arguments “home”

Citizens of Dutton Dunwich oppose the Invenergy wind power project–under the Green Energy Act, their concerns had no weight

From Hansard, a few excerpts of the discussion on proposed changes to the Green Energy Act on October 22, 2018.

From MPP Lisa Thompson, Huron-Bruce:

Hon. Lisa M. Thompson: I’m pleased to add my voice to the debate today. There’s something that I need to focus on and that I can’t let slip by. The member from Don Valley West said that we need to leave the emotion out of this and focus on economics. Well, really and truly, that really stuck with me because the reason she’s encouraging people to leave the emotion out of it is that we know that the flawed green energy Liberal ideology has absolutely failed Ontarians.

I welcome the opportunity to focus on the economics of their failed policy because it has left Ontario in disarray. It has driven manufacturers out of this province. It has caused a lot of fiscal stress on companies who are still trying to operate. The global adjustment fees alone have just wreaked havoc on the manufacturers that have chosen to stay home in Ontario and try and weather the storm.

Well, as our Premier has said many, many times before, as of June 7, help has arrived. We actually get the economics of the failed Liberal ideology. We understand that in order to move forward we needed to return autonomy to our municipalities that should have had a voice as opposed to having it ripped away by the former Liberal administration. That was an absolute travesty.

Randy Pettapiece MPP Perth-Wellington:

Over the course of the next few minutes, I will outline how Bill 34 will lower hydro rates, respect municipalities and attract more businesses to Ontario.

One of the greatest costs Ontarians faced under the previous Liberal government was skyrocketing hydro rates. Under the McGuinty-Wynne Liberals, hydro rates tripled. At its peak, families in Toronto were paying, on average, $160 per month for hydro. My constituents in rural Ontario were paying even more. The average family in a low-density community was paying $330 per month.

In 2017 alone, wind and solar added $3.75 billion in costs to electric bills.

We’ve all heard about these horror stories. Families had to decide whether to pay their hydro bill or put food on the table. This is shameful. In a country such as Canada, in a province as wealthy as Ontario, families should not have to decide whether to feed their children or pay their hydro bills.

In 2015, the Ontario Energy Board revealed that 60,000 households in the province had been cut off. This represented a 20% increase over the previous year.

In 2016, the Auditor General found that Ontario ratepayers overpaid $9.2 billion for green energy.

The Liberals’ Green Energy Act was the largest transfer of money from the poor and middle class to the rich in Ontario’s history. Thousands of green energy contracts were awarded to companies that together donated $1.3 million to the Liberals.

A common complaint I heard at the doors during this year’s spring election was the cost of electricity. Some of my constituents took steps to reduce their energy consumption, but their hydro bills still went up.

The Green Energy Act was not designed to promote energy consumption. It was simply a way to enrich Liberal insiders and their friends.

As I mentioned earlier, some constituents in my riding of Perth–Wellington saw their hydro bills triple. The businesses saw even higher hydro bills. Hard-working business owners have seen their bottom lines shrink due to the previous government’s mismanagement and mishandling of the energy file. …

I witnessed first-hand the rights of municipalities being trampled on. The wind turbine lobby groups continuously attempted to build industry wind farms in my riding of Perth–Wellington. This was despite clear opposition to these wind farms being built. Over the course of the Green Energy Act, 80 municipal councils passed resolutions, motions or bylaws regarding industrial wind turbine development and the Green Energy Act. In my own riding, these municipal councils included the townships of Mapleton and Wellington North, the municipalities of West Perth and North Perth, as well as Wellington county.

Instead of working together and consulting with the municipalities, the previous government took a heavy-handed approach. They turned neighbour against neighbour as developers quietly signed deals to lease privately owned lands—time and time again, a process characterized by a lack of openness and transparency. …

[Perth-Wellington had a wind power project proposed but eventually withdrawn] Other communities were not so lucky, Speaker. Hundreds of municipalities across Ontario had these wind and solar farms imposed on them. Health concerns surrounding these individual wind farms were ignored by the previous government. Documents released under the freedom-of-information act revealed that the previous Liberal government ignored warnings from their own environment ministry. They were told that the province needed stricter noise limits on turbines. They had no reliable way to monitor or enforce them, and computer models for determining residential setbacks were flawed. Speaker, this is shameful.

Michael Mantha, MPP for Algoma-Manitoulin:

Mr. Michael Mantha: There’s a lot of what I’m hearing from my colleagues across the way that we’re going to agree on—one of them, as far as what is the root cause of the problems with the Green Energy Act and why it worked and why it didn’t work. The problem that we’re looking at was not the wind or the farms; it’s looking at those contracts. Look at the contracts and the implementation of this.

First of all, to the member who took the lead as far as bringing his comments forward: I agree with you; taking away the local, democratic right of municipalities to determine their choice, as far as they wanted to have it or not, was wrong. What was also wrong was for the government to say, “We know best. We’re going to pass this over to the private sector. We’re going to give them lucrative contracts—because they know best—and we’re going to let them decide as to where they go. In the meantime, we’re going to take away that right from municipal leaders.” I agree with you. This was an opportunity for some municipal leaders—because not all were opposed; not all didn’t want to have it. What is the biggest thing that we heard when we were over at AMO? “Give us new revenue-generating tools for municipalities.” This was an opportunity where some municipalities who were in favour, whether of wind or farms, could have generated that opportunity. But no; what the government of the day said was, “We’re going to take away that democratic right of yours. We know best. We’re going to put it into the private sector.”

Well, what about the public? We’ve just watched this government—and again, we agree on the fact that they sold off Hydro One, and how that boondoggle decision increased our rates—the same way they rolled out the implementation of the Green Energy Act. We see those things; we don’t dispute that. But to throw everything on, saying that everything that came out of green was wrong—I believe this government is misleading the public in saying so.

Read the entire transcript here: https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/house-documents/parliament-42/session-1/2018-10-22/hansard#P974_136463

Risk of turbine construction, operation high for Nation Rise project: geoscientist

October 15, 2018

ERT chair Maureen Cartier-Whitney hears evidence on groundwater. Geoscientist said it is possible there is no effective mitigation for the vibration produced by turbine construction and operation.

Finch, Ontario — The Nation Rise wind power project, which received Renewable Energy Approval in May, poses a significant risk to people and the environment due to vibration connected to the construction and operation of the wind turbines, a geoscientist told the Environmental Review Tribunal when the citizen-funded appeal resumed today.

Angelique Magee said that the project area is located on the former Champlain Sea and the nature of the soils plus the presence of Leda or “quick” clay represents a “high potential” for landslides. She provided details of landslides that have occurred in Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec, including one that resulted in loss of life. She also recounted the story of the village of Lemieux which was evacuated due to risk of a landslide because of Leda clay and which subsequently did slide into the Nation River, causing a loss of land, killing fish and destroying fish habitat.

Leda clay is prevalent throughout the region, Magee said. The soil is such that when it is disturbed by vibration, it can become liquid, thus causing the landslides. The risk is high, McGee said, and would pose a serious risk to human health and a serious and irreversible risk to the environment.

She mentioned the fact that Eastern Ontario also has many earthquakes which would add to the risk, due to seismic vibration. She was asked if mitigation is possible, and answered that the proponent is supposed to identify all the wells in the project area, but has not fulfilled that requirement of the Renewable Energy Approval. “There is no assurance of the quantity or quality of water.”

The project area is situated on a “highly vulnerable aquifer” she noted and the wells serving homes, businesses and farms are often shallow or “dug” wells as opposed to drilled wells. The proponents’ information on wells is out of date, she added. The proponent’s lawyer, John Terry, asked if it isn’t true that there are many areas of vulnerable aquifers in Ontario. “Yes,” she responded  “but it is important to consider local characteristics. In this case, that means the presence of the shallow wells, which would be affected.”

A third risk factor is the presence of karst topography which is characterized by fissures and can lead to contamination of groundwater in certain situations, construction vibration included.

The geoscientist was asked about the use of quarries in the proponents’ environmental assessment, which she said was not appropriate. The turbines would cause constant vibration, she said, which different from blasting occasionally.

When asked if the conditions of the REA would prevent harm, Ms Magee said, no. The measures proposed would not necessarily prevent a landslide or contamination of the groundwater, and the proponent has not conducted the proper identification of the water wells in the area, or done a proper assessment of the impact of seismic vibration on the soil and aquifer.

The only mitigation that would ensure no harm to people or the environment would be to not locate turbines in vulnerable areas such as this, McGee said.

In his cross-examination, lawyer Terry suggested that Magee’s interest was simply that she owns property in the Nation Rise project area, and her real concern was the value of her property. “My concerns are primarily based on geology,” she answered, “and yes, if the wind turbines affect the wells then I am concerned that homes will not be sellable.” Mr. Terry also tried to suggest that Ms Magee used Wikipedia as a source of information to which she responded that she used scientific studies and papers to prepare her evidence, the same papers that may have been used in the Wikipedia entry. She said, she may have used the Wikipedia entry I order to use language non-scientists could understand, she said.

The hearing continues October 16, and closing arguments will be presented in Toronto on November 23rd.

The proponent has not fulfilled a requirement to identify all wells in the project area. Signs demanding water testing line a street in Finch, Ontario.

 

 

Wind power developer failing to meet conditions for well water in North Stormont

October 9, 2018

Hello! EDP! We have a well here! Citizens stand up and demand to be counted (Photo: Concerned Citizens of North Stormont, John Irven)

FINCH, Ontario — If the approval signed by the Wynne government for the Nation Rise wind power project were a bird, it probably wouldn’t be able to fly, because it is so weighted down with conditions.

One of those conditions was that the power developer, EDP of Spain, identify and map all water wells in the project area near the proposed wind turbines, because of concerns about the construction activities on the local aquifer.

That hasn’t happened, say residents. Now, signs are popping up all over the country roads and in the communities of North Stormont, as part of an information campaign about risk to the local water supply, and to demand that wells be identified and tested by the developer. Residents are concerned about the impact of vibration from pending wind turbine construction and turbine operations on their water wells.

The “Nation Rise” wind power project is currently under appeal, but the power developer is supposed to be proceeding with meeting the terms and conditions of its contract with the Ontario government, which was approved just days before the June election.

One of those conditions is that the company identify certain wells and “make reasonable efforts, to the satisfaction of the Ministry [of the Environment], to contact owners of all active water wells within 1 km from each individual Equipment, communication tower, and meteorological towers, and seek permission to undertake a groundwater survey at existing water wells. “

The problem is, EDP’s count of the number of water wells that need identification and testing does not correspond to the summary of the situation in the Renewable Energy Approval or REA. As a result, wells may be missed in the pre-construction survey and then be ineligible for help should problems arise after the power project is built.

According to Margaret Benke, spokesperson for Concerned Citizens of North Stormont, the power developer may be off by as much as 50 per cent of area wells.

People are worried, Benke says, for several reasons: a wind power project in the Chatham-Kent area is linked to disrupted function and outright failure of as many as 10 percent of area wells, resulting in contaminated “black” water. The situation is so dire that the new Ontario government has pledged an investigation of the situation.

The wells in North Stormont depend on an aquifer that has been designated as “highly vulnerable,” she says. The signs being posted at the end of North Stormont driveways say “EDP we want our well water tested.”

“We do not want EDP to be able to say that they did not know that we have wells,” Benke explains. “They counted only 444 domestic wells within 2 km of a turbine/infrastructure, although there are 816 residences in the same area.  As long as this project continues to proceed, we want our wells taken into consideration for health and safety.”

That count does not include wells used by local farm operations for livestock, which could also be affected by the vibration from construction and turbine operation.

The danger to water supply was one of the principal issues noted in the appeal launched against the project, and appears also to be a concern to the provincial environment ministry, reflected in the conditions in the project approval. In fact, even though the appeal had already begun, the power developer actually filed notice that it was changing the construction method for the wind turbines, which have huge concrete foundations. This material change to the project has never been subjected to public scrutiny and was not part of the company’s documentation on the project.

“It’s not good enough,” says Benke. “We’ve seen what happened to the people in North Kent, some of whom still don’t have any water, not even to take a bath or shower—any damage to the aquifer could be serious and irreversible harm to the environment, and a risk to human health.”

The appeal resumes October 15th in Finch Ontario, with testimony from an expert in hydrogeology.

For more information go to:

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Ontario’s wind power industry on the defensive

October 8, 2018

Big Wind lobby group president Robert Hornung: claims don’t stand up

With wind power developers trying to push into Alberta and Saskatchewan, industry lobbyist CanWEA is trying its best to counteract what’s going on in Ontario where an attack of reality has changed boomtimes to downturn, says energy analyst Parker Gallant.

In a posting on his website today, he says the trade association is making claims about its value and contribution to Ontario’s economy that don’t stand up to scrutiny.
For example, CanWEA claims that wind power is the lowest-cost option for generating electricity.

“[CanWEA president Hornung] doesn’t specify what he is referring to! One should suspect the reference is to either the LOCE (levelized cost of electricity) or the cost of fuel (wind is free), but in either case his claim has nothing to do with what Ontario ratepayers pay for the intermittent and unreliable nature of the actual wind power generation. That annually averages only 29/30% of its capacity and is out of sync with actual demand 65% of the time.”

And as usual, CanWEA boasts of the environmental benefits of “clean” wind power. The facts say otherwise:

“What is interesting about this latter claim is that the Fraser Institute back in January 2017 in another report stated: ‘The Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change undertook a special analysis of the role of U.S. emissions in Ontario air quality in 2005, which showed that a majority of O3 (ground level ozone) and PM2.5 (particulate matter) was due to U.S.-based emissions and would not be reduced by cutting emissions in Ontario.’ ”

Read the article here.

The unconvincing spin on wind power in Ontario

September 19, 2018

Ontario: not the perfect picture for industrial-scale wind power

Parker Gallant’s latest posting is in response to a new document from Canada’s wind power lobbyist, the Canadian Wind Energy Association or CanWEA.

CanWEA is carrying out an energetic campaign of persuasion as it is concurrently trying to promote a massive build of wind power in Alberta and Saskatchewan and defending its record in Ontario. With a new government that has pledged not only to cancel new contracts for huge unnecessary wind power projects (mostly, but not quite, done–Romney and North Stormont are still in process), but also to renegotiate existing contracts where possible.

That’s bad news for the trade association hoping to keep the gravy train going.

So, they have created a detailed characterization of the “success” wind power has been in Ontario. There is no mention of the inarguable environmental impacts, or of the thousands of formal reports of excessive wind turbine noise and adverse health effects–in some cases, so extreme people have been forced to leave their homes.

While the wind power projects may be able to “prove” compliance, using a very flawed protocol, the fact that hundreds of complaints are filed each month is a sure indicator of serious problems.

Here is Parker Gallant’s take on the CanWEA promotion piece.

WIND CONCERNS ONTARIO

contact@windconcernsontario.ca

 

NOTE: If you are experiencing problems with wind turbine noise/vibration/sensation, stray voltage from wind power infrastructure, or disturbed well water, it is absolutely imperative that you file complaints with the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. The new government needs to know there are problems, and the public service needs to understand it is not status quo from the previous, pro-wind at any cost government.

Call the Spills Line 1-866-MOE-TIPS any time, be sure to get an Incident Report number, and keep a record of your call and the circumstances leading to your call. You may also call the individual wind power operator for the power project you believe is affecting you.

Australian independent review spurs lawsuit over wind turbine noise

ABC News

Gippsland, Australia, September 13,m 2018

Noise from a wind farm in Victoria’s Gippsland is having an adverse impact on the comfort and wellbeing of residents living at surrounding properties, a new report commissioned by a local council has found.

According to the South Gippsland Shire Council, this could set a new precedent in how planning decisions are made about where wind turbines are built.

The council said the report it commissioned into the Bald Hills Wind Farm at Tarwin Lower found two surrounding properties were experiencing noise levels that were problematic.

Council chief executive Tim Tamlin said the report by public health consultants James C Smith and Associates found noise from the wind farm, which has operated since 2015, could be having a negative impact on residents’ personal comfort and wellbeing.

Supreme Court orders independent report

It is the latest development in an almost two-year saga involving the wind farm, which has 52 turbines on farmland about 150 kilometres south-east of Melbourne.

The report came after a resident living near the wind farm lodged a “nuisance” complaint about two years ago under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act, claiming noise from the wind farm turbines was affecting nearby houses.

An initial investigation by the council found there was no impact from the wind turbines.

But the complainant challenged the decision and the Supreme Court ordered the council to commission an independent report — costing more than $33,000.

The report found “wind farm noise was clearly audible” at two residences with windows and doors shut.

And in one case the noise was so loud at a neighbouring house it “intruded into conversation between investigators and (the couple)”.

“Thus corroborating that wind farm noise was clearly audible in dwellings and, at times, intrusive.”

The report also found “there is a nuisance caused by windfarm noise in that the noise is audible frequently within individual residences and this noise is adversely impacting on the personal comfort and wellbeing of individuals”.

Clients entitled to sleep: lawyer

The impact on people’s health from wind turbines, known as wind turbine syndrome, has long been debated.

A new study on wind farm noise is being undertaken by Flinders University in Adelaide in a bid to establish once and for all how noise from wind turbines can affect health.

The lawyer representing residents opposed to the Bald Hills Wind Farm, Dominica Tannock from DST Legal, said her clients were entitled to be compensated for any noise intrusion on their properties.

“What I would say is that our clients weren’t objectors to the wind farm, they were objectors to the noise emissions from the wind farm that are obtrusive and affecting their sleep.

“The council has to make a decision, as to whether there is a nuisance under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act. We say the council must adopt the report of its experts.”

Ms Tannock said if they made that decision, then action must be taken to remedy it.

“My clients like where they live, and they have been living there for many years. The argument is that the wind farm should not intrude into their homes.

“And if it does, then the wind farm may have to stop operating at night, if they can’t control the noise emissions. And, or, they might have to pay my client’s compensation.

“My clients are entitled to sleep in their homes.

“The wind farm must comply with the noise emissions of the permit and it also must not be a noise nuisance. It’s an offence under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act to cause noise emissions on another person’s land.”

Councils call for wind farm clarity

Mr Tamlin said the council was trying work out the implications of the report and wanted the Victorian Government to provide clarity on the issue.

He said local councils could effectively be sidelined from the approval process for a wind energy plant, via the relevant planning act, but then have to deal with the fallout if there was a complaint under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act.

“The wind farm has a planning permit, under the Planning and Environment Act, to operate and is compliant with its noise standards,” Mr Tamlin said.

However, he said the consultants’ report had found noise nuisance for two surrounding residents, causing a conflict between the two relevant pieces of legislation.

“Then council finds itself in the middle and what’s worse, our residents find themselves in a situation which should never has occurred,” Mr Tamlin said.

“This is something the Victorian Government needs to resolve, for the sake of the renewable energy sector and all those involved in the establishment of wind farms.”

The report comes in the same week that Premier Daniel Andrews revealed the Government had signed contracts with six solar and wind farms, guaranteeing a minimum wholesale energy price for the companies.

It is an issue the peak body for councils, the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), also wants addressed.

At the MAV’s state conference in May, the association agreed to lobby the Victorian Government to, “address inconsistencies between two pieces of legislation which covers wind farm approval and regulation”.

A statement from the Bald Hills wind farm said they “are not in a position to make any further comment” until they have had more time to review the report but said the operation was “compliant with the noise limits stipulated in its planning permit”.

A spokesperson for the Victorian Planning Minister, Richard Wynne, said there is a thorough assessment for all wind farm applications which considers factors such as noise and the potential impact on nearby residences.

“The project has complied with the noise limits in its permit conditions, it is up to the council to assess the findings of this report and determine if further action is required,” the spokesperson for Mr Wynne said.

Key points

  • An independent report commissioned by the South Gippsland Council found that two properties were experiencing problematic noise levels
  • The report followed the lodging of a nuisance complaint by a local resident under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act
  • The Supreme Court ordered the council to commission the independent report
  • South Gippsland Shire Council is demanding clarity from the State Government

Read the article here.