Backlogged on wind farms, short of resources MOECC official admits

MOECC District Manager Rick Chappell explains backlog, lack of response to noise complaints to Kincardine Council

December 7, 2017

KINCARDINE—

In response to an invitation from Council for the Municipality of Kincardine, a senior manager with Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change confirmed to Council that nothing is being done about the hundreds of recent noise complaints about a local wind power project.

Rick Chappell, manager of the Owen Sound District Office, told Council that there is no completed audit of compliance with noise regulations for the Enbridge Underwood project. This is despite the fact the facility has been operating since 2007, and the audit was requested by the Ministry in response to early complaints about excess noise emissions.

His presentation also acknowledged adverse health effects from the noise and vibration produced by wind turbines, including low frequency noise and infrasound. When questioned, he stated that there is no peer-reviewed evidence that infrasound causes direct health effects.  He was unable to provide an answer when the Councillor followed up with a question asking if there were indirect health effects.

Chappell provided details of the long history of incomplete audit submissions for the Enbridge project. The earlier submissions were deemed to still be incomplete under the new protocol and the company has submitted additional data to meet the requirements with the last submission taking place on November 15.  He indicated that Enbridge has been given a commitment of expedited processing and they expect a decision on whether their submissions are complete by mid-December.  Analysis of their data would follow that decision.

The post-construction audit for the nearby Armow project was submitted three months ago and is under review in Toronto. At present, he said, that he could not provide an update on the assessment of this audit except to indicate that there has been no decision and he was not aware of the timeline for a decision.

The fact is, Chappell admitted, the Ministry group reviewing the audit reports has large backlog of reports submitted by the project operators from across Ontario based on the new noise testing protocol.

Chappell advised Council that the new protocol recommends that noise audit submissions are only made public once they are accepted by the MOECC. This is statement does not align with the protocol which actually requires posting of submissions to the Ministry be posted on the project website within 10 business days of the submission to the District Manager.  Neither Enbridge nor the Armow submissions have been posted.

Once a compliance audit is underway, the MOECC stops responding to complaints from residents living in the project until the results of the audit are known. In his view, the potential for non-compliance has already been identified and until this situation is resolved, there is no point in additional testing. This approach applies to the Enbridge project even though the audit process started in December 2011 and is still not complete.

Once Councillor questioned the whole compliance audit process, indicating she believed that the process is designed to generate results that showed compliance. Her concern was the more than 500 complaints from residents of the Enbridge project that are now essentially being ignored by the MOECC.  Even if the project was found to be in compliance, she was looking for action on these complaints based on the approval held by Enbridge. Chappell’s answer did not satisfy the residents in the audience.

Chappell indicated that compliance audit process was posted for public comment prior to the release of the April 2017. This statement overlooks many citizen submissions regarding flaws in the old process, including a lengthy brief from WCO, which were ignored by the MOECC meaning that the flaws in the original process were not connected and the audit process excludes situations that generate any resident complaints about noise emissions from wind turbines.

Another Councillor questioned what steps that the MOECC would take if, hypothetically the audit process found the project to be out of compliance. Chappell indicated that the MOECC would ask the company to submit a mitigation plan to address the issues.  Changes could be reduced operating speeds, shut-downs of problem turbines in specific wind conditions or times of the day.  When pressed about the time required for this type of plan to be developed, implemented and approved by the Ministry, Chappell suggested that it would be weeks rather than months.

The situation is similar to many other wind power projects in Ontario where complaints have been filed by residents for years, with no resolution and in some cases, no action by the Ministry. Documents released under Freedom of Information to Wind Concerns Ontario show that there are now at least 500 formal reports of excessive noise and vibration from the Armow wind turbines.

The wind turbine in Port Elgin, operated by union Unifor, is also the subject of hundreds of complaints with no resolution — and no valid noise audit. “You are the regulator,” Deputy Mayor Luc Charbonneau has told the MOECC. “You are failing to regulate.”

Wind farm opposition roars: Radio-Canada special report

December 6, 2017

Wind turbines: the opposition roars

Special Report by ICI Radio-Canada

Since 1995, more than 2,500 wind turbines have appeared in the Ontario landscape, but the green label attached to them is strongly criticized in some communities that are mobilizing to oppose the development of new projects. The problem is that these citizens do not always feel listened to by the public authorities.

Reportage and photos: Nicolas Pham
Text: Marine Lefevre
Infographics: Vincent Wallon

In 2014, the small community of Dutton-Dunwich, near London, rejected 84% of the proposed installation of 20 wind turbines on the territory of the municipality by a US multinational.

A plebiscite that does not prevent the provincial government from giving initial approval to Invenergy’s plan in 2017.

In Dutton-Dunwich, it’s incomprehension and anger.

“Everyone is furious. All my neighbors are really worried. I do not think we can compromise. I do not want these structures 200 m high next to me, “says Kristen Scheele, a resident who feels betrayed by the fact that the voice of the population is not respected.

“When, in the democratic process, the rights of a minority outweigh the rights of the majority? ” – Kirsten Scheele 

A feeling shared by the mayor of the city, who has been fighting the idea since the beginning.

“We do not want it. My fellow citizens are frustrated that they are not being listened to and are concerned that their concerns are not being addressed, “said Cameron McWilliam.

At a public information meeting organized by Invenergy in October 2017, members of the Dutton / Dunwich Opponents of Wind Turbines Group (DDOTW) say that wind turbines are bad for the environment, for the economy and for themselves.

What they absolutely want to avoid is that their fate is identical to that of the neighboring municipality of Lakeshore, where a park of 100 wind turbines was built in 2016 against the advice of the population and the municipal council.

“Council passed a motion saying we had our share of wind turbines and we did not want more,” said Mayor Tom Baine. The government’s response has been: they are coming! ” – Tom Baine, Lakeshore Mayor 

Why ignore the opinion of citizens and elected officials?

According to provincial legislation, the support of a community where wind turbines are built is desirable, but it is not essential.

“While community support can increase the chances of a project receiving a contract, there are many factors that affect its bid … Even though municipal and community support is an important factor in the evaluation. project proposals, it is not mandatory, “says the ministry by email.

A situation that many elected officials deplore, including Jeff Yurek, Conservative MP for Elgin-Middlesex-London.

“With the Green Energy Act, the government has removed the autonomy of the municipalities, so that it can decide where it [puts] these renewable energy projects. It does not matter if a city or village is a voluntary host or not. ” – Jeff Yurek, Conservative MP for Elgin-Middlesex-London 

While more than 2,500 wind turbines have been built in Ontario since 1995, the number of housing starts has accelerated since 2009, when the Green Energy Act came into force.

But why do whole communities refuse ecological and sustainable energy?

In spite of the positive label attached to this so-called green energy, it is criticized for several inconveniences.

“People who live near these huge machines have problems. They are noisy, blink and vibrate with a vibration you can feel from your home, “says Jane Wilson of Wind Concerns Ontario, a citizen organization that provides information on the potential impact of wind power generation on the environment, economy, human health and the natural environment.

“A majority of our residents are against, they do not see their interest. They make noise and pose health risks, “said Lakeshore Mayor Tom Baine.

The situation of contaminated artesian wells in the Chatham-Kent area is also bothering citizens.

“When that happens, you can not go back, you can not fix it,” says Wilson.

For Kristen Scheele of Dutton, well water in Chatham and thousands of noise complaints are all sources of concern and questioning.

It worries me a lot about whether they really protect the public interest – Kristen Scheele, a resident of Dutton-Dunwich.

According to reports obtained under the Access to Information Act, thousands of complaints about wind turbines have been filed with the Ministry of the Environment, which, for the time being, has made no followed.

“The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change has clearly not fulfilled its mandate in dealing with complaints in this area,” said Dutton-Dunwich Mayor Cameron McWilliam.

PROBLEMS TAKEN SERIOUSLY?

In the wind sector, it is said that the concerns of residents are taken into consideration while complying with the requirements of the legislation, which was developed from scientific studies. A regulatory distance of 550 m is required for the installation of wind turbines near homes. Wind turbines must also comply with stringent sound standards.

“If, at a point in time, wind turbines exceed the noise threshold, the department has put in place a compliance mechanism to ensure that the impacts are mitigated,” says Brandy Giannetta, Regional Director of the Canadian Wind Energy Association.

For its part, the Ministry of the Environment claims to take all complaints seriously. “Our priority is to protect public health and the environment by promoting and ensuring compliance with departmental rules and requirements,” reads an email.

The ministry ensures that systematic monitoring is done to ensure that wind farms comply with all provincial requirements.

“When a complaint is registered, the ministry responds by following up with the facility to make sure it complies with all provincial requirements,” says the email.

The ministry indicates that since 2006, 25 citizens are responsible for 60% of the complaints filed in this area with the Ministry. In this context, the department says it has conducted nearly 300 follow-up activities and continues to conduct proactive inspections of wind farm operations.

On the ground, energy companies do everything to reassure residents at public meetings such as those organized by Invenergy in Dutton-Dunwich.

“We understand that citizens have concerns or objections. But in the end, wind turbines are allowed in Ontario, period, “says James Murphy, vice president of business development of the company.

ARE THE STUDIES CONVINCING?

The energy companies are more confident in their efforts that several studies indicate that the noise and vibration of the turbines do not affect the health of residents and that their construction has no impact on the nearby artesian wells.

In 2014, a Health Canada study concludes that there is no evidence to establish a link between the noise exposure of wind turbines and the health problems reported by certain people living near these facilities.

“No statistically significant relationship was found between measured blood pressure, or resting heart rate, and noise exposure of wind turbines. ” – Health Canada study with 4000 hours of measurement of wind turbine noise data. 

But the agency also has several reservations. According to her, scientific data on the subject are limited. It also states that the findings of this study do not in themselves provide definitive answers and that they “should be considered in the context of a larger evidence base”.

The public also does not trust the mandatory environmental studies submitted by the energy companies for any new project.

“People who have money can buy the reports they need. ” – Jane Wilson, Wind Concerns Ontario 

Cameron McWilliam also questions the independence of this research.

“When you have the fox guarding the hen house, you expect that the studies will not be done by the opponent. It should be totally independent of the company and it did not happen. Because of wind farm liabilities, residents and our board are not ready to believe studies that say everything is fine, “he says.

But beyond research, living on a daily basis alongside wind turbines is difficult, say the inhabitants. Whether the vibrations felt by some or the discomfort caused by flashing air signal lights experienced by others, the effects of the presence of wind turbines are very real in the lives of these people.

It is in this context that the opposition is organized among citizens who see especially in this renewable energy the symbol of questioning their way of life in the countryside.

They are not ready to be imposed these huge machines. They do not want to be hijacked and most of all want to hear from a government that invests in green energy and from companies that claim to comply with government requirements.

 

Chatham-Kent: land of Black Water — special CBC report

Marc St-Pierre has not been drinking water from his well for four years since the water came out black. He is not alone: More than twenty families in his region have the same problem. The color is from black shale sediments suspended in the water. The residents of the Chatham-Kent say they are living in a nightmare.

Reportage and photos: Nicolas Pham
Text: Marine Lefevre
Ezine: Vincent Wallon

December 4, 2017

Report from Radio Canada Windsor by Nicolas Pham, Translated from original French

 

 

” We cannot do anything. We used water for everything. I cannot even take a bath. My world is completely upset because of that, “said Marilyn St-Pierre, a resident of Dover Centre. “Our water is finished and our life with it. I cannot even put on a sliding game for my kids and grandchildren, “says Christine Burke, who lives nearby.

Blame the wind turbines

In search of answers, residents’ eyes are quickly turning to wind farm projects being built near their homes. The problems, they say, began at the same time as the work in late 2012 and shortly after construction began on the East St. Clair wind farm at Dover Center.

“At the time, we did not realize what was happening. I did not want to believe that turbines could be involved. ” – Marc St-Pierre 

It is only when other neighbors come forward that he realizes the extent of the disaster. All live within 7.5 km, near the wind farm.

Twelve wind turbines stand around the property of Marc St-Pierre, the nearest is located 550 m from his house.

The problem resurfaced in May 2017, just weeks after work began on another wind farm project, North Kent One.

“They do not want to confess. But it’s odd: my well is lost, the neighboring well is lost, the well on the other concession is lost. All is lost since they started with North Wind, “says Lucy Defraeye, another affected resident.

An assumption that Keith Benn, a professional geologist who has worked for many years in the mining industry in Ontario, is happy to believe. According to him, the relationship between the installation of wind turbines and the contamination of wells is obvious.

“It’s circumstantial evidence, okay. But when you have a [pure] water source for years and [transforms] a few days after the construction of an industrial facility. You do not have to be a genius to see that there is a link of cause and effect, “he notes.

“A belief shared by Bill Clarke, a geoscientist licensed in Ontario for 43 years. “We’re making the connection between the construction and the wind farm because that’s the only thing that has changed around Chatham-Kent,” he says.

“There are residents here for generations. This is the first time anyone has noticed problems with water quality. ” – Bill Clarke, Geoscience 

 

An unaccountable company

Marc St-Pierre and seven of his neighbors look to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment in 2013 for answers. Water is declared fit for consumption by government inspectors.

They did tests to check for bacteria, but they never did any sediment sampling. ” – Marc St-Pierre 

Disillusioned and always struggling with black water, they simply decide to install filters, without ever receiving compensation.

The story is different for affected citizens around North Kent One Park. There, the presence of sediment is such that the wells are completely clogged.

Residents turn to Pattern Energy, the project’s owner, who claims it has nothing to do with the problem. According to the company’s engineers, it is impossible for turbine construction to cause such problems.

Gagan Chambal is Director of Works at Pattern Energy. He says that research done prior to the start of the project demonstrates that it is impossible for black shale particles, or anything else, to be transported from construction sites of turbines to wells hundreds of meters away. distance.

The study by the environmental consulting firm Golder Associates does not convince Keith Benn, mainly because it is based on models and not empirical field analyzes.

“A model proves nothing, it only predicts something. If he predicts something wrong, then this model is wrong. And it seems that’s the case here. ” – Keith Benn, geologist

While experts do not fully understand the causes of this situation, many point to the piling technique of wind turbine foundations that would damage the aquifer.

Troubleshooting tanks

The company is clearing customs, but a few weeks ago, it had delivered to several residents huge water tanks to replace the wells. According to Mr. Chambal, it is a simple step of good neighborliness.

“Under our license, we were only supposed to supply tanks only if it was determined that our construction had an impact on the quality of the water. But being good neighbors, we took proactive steps to help the community. Residents who complain about water quality have access to clean water even during the survey, “he says.

A temporary solution that is far from satisfying residents who are also worried about the safety of this water.

“As for me, it’s a cistern to give water to animals or to work in the fields. [It] is dirty inside. We cannot drink that water, wash our vegetables or cook, “says Lucy Defraeye.

And the arrival of winter does not announce anything to reassure them.

“My tank is outside. Winter is coming, I’m going to get cold water, “adds Calvin Simmons, frustrated.

But beyond the disadvantages, these residents feel abandoned, especially by the government.

A little government listening

Kevin Jakubek is a spokesperson for Water Wells First, a drinking water protection association that has brought together affected residents since 2013. He says the government is not doing its job and should investigate all those wells that have become unusable.

“We have been asking the Ministry of the Environment to investigate for more than a year and a half and they are not investigating. They come, they do some tests, but they refuse to take samples of the pollutant, “he says.

An impression that Marc St-Pierre himself had.

“A ministry inspector came to the house and I showed him the water that came from the well it was coming out black, I asked him to take this to examine it. He did not want to touch. He did not take it. They do not want to know what’s in the water, “he says.

For Mr. Jakubec, it’s just the story that repeats itself.

“People started to notice that their water was black. The government knew about it and they did absolutely nothing.They allowed the construction of another park in another county. And again, there are contaminated wells. ” – Kevin Jakubek, spokeswoman for First Water Wells 

Waiting for answers

Citizens are frustrated by their situation.

Even though the government claims that water is completely safe to drink once it has been filtered, experts say it contains heavy metals that are dangerous to health.

“I’ve already been through cancer and my biggest fear is to have another one. ” – Marilyn St-Pierre 

 

What Water Wells First is asking for is that the work be suspended for a long time to identify the source of the problem. Residents have filed complaints with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change that are currently under review.

For Bill Clarke, these steps will take time, a time during which residents will not be able to enjoy the source of drinking water that [they] enjoyed so far.

Environment Minister’s response on altered well water: “generalities”

November 23, 2017

MPP demands that wind power projects be cancelled over concerns about Black Shale and polluted wells

 

MPP Monte McNaughton presents a bottle of well water to Minister Chris Ballard, compliments of the people of Chatham-Kent. The Minister’s response: “generalities”

 

In Question Period on November 20, Monte McNaughton, MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex rose to ask the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change what action was being taken for people in his riding whose well water has been rendered “undrinkable swill” during construction for a nearby wind power project.

Minister Ballard responded with, in his own words, “generalities” and specifically skipped over answering the question about the quality of well water to say that “renewable energy projects are a necessity.”*

Here, from Hansard, is what the Minister said in response to Mr McNaughton.

Mr. Monte McNaughton: My question today is for the Minister of Energy. In my riding of Lambton–Kent–Middlesex, your ministry is pushing ahead with two new industrial wind turbine developments, the North Kent 1 and Otter Creek wind farms. These wind farms will generate electricity we don’t need and contribute to pushing hydro bills even higher than they already are.

These developments include turbines almost 200 metres high with foundations that require pile driving into black shale bedrock, rock containing heavy metals. This bedrock carries water of the aquifer. Since the start of construction on the North Kent project, 14 water wells have become turbid and undrinkable.

Mr. Speaker, we’ve seen the impact of pile driving into black shale from the North Kent project. Why is the minister allowing construction to continue there, and why is he jeopardizing the drinking water of another community by going forward with the Otter Creek project?

Hon. Glenn Thibeault: To the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.

Hon. Chris Ballard: I’m happy to speak in some generalities around the need for wind turbines, and the very vigorous process that our government puts in place to make sure that the turbines are sited safely and that there is good, strong consultation with the community.

Speaker, we take the concerns regarding the environment and human health very seriously. I’ll say that we adhere to a very strict renewable energy approvals process.

Thanks to clean air and clean energy—and let me speak to the fundamentals for a second—Ontario has saved more than $4 billion in annual health and environmental costs because of this government’s commitment to clean energy.

Unlike the PCs, we can’t sit idly by. Renewable energy projects are a necessity and a crucial part of our low-carbon carbon switch, and we’re not going to back down from our—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. I stand, you sit.

Supplementary.

Mr. Monte McNaughton: Back to the Minister of Energy: These wind farms will forever end food production on some of the best agricultural land in our country. And we are talking about an environmentally sensitive area, home to 24 species at risk, and within a major flight path for migratory birds. It is fragmenting the bedrock, turning clear, clean water into dirty, undrinkable swill, yet the project is going ahead even though the government has suspended the large renewable procurement II process because there is no need for additional electricity.

When the minister made that announcement in September 2016, I said that North Kent 1 and Otter Creek should be cancelled as well. Had the minister cancelled these two projects, the long-term savings would amount to $570 million. If stopping turbine construction makes economic, environmental and public health sense, why would the Minister of Energy sign off on continuing to build industrial wind farms in my riding of Lambton–Kent–Middlesex?

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Stop the clock, please. Be seated, please. Thank you.

Minister?

Hon. Chris Ballard: Thanks for the opportunity to follow up on the North Kent wind farm. Again, I’m going to reiterate that our government takes these concerns regarding groundwater quality very seriously. The renewable energy approval process, in fact, requires these proponents to undertake extensive consultation with municipalities, indigenous communities and the public. Additionally, we have taken a very cautious, science-based approach when setting the standards for renewable energy projects in order to protect the health of the Ontario people.

Speaker, the proponent in this case has done extensive monitoring prior to construction, and we’re going to require them to continue to monitor the vibration data closely during construction and operation of the wind turbines. We require the company to conduct additional water quality assessments and we’re keeping an eye on this.

Minister Ballard with some not-Chatham-Kent water

 

*WCO note: one of the key parts of the decision on the Ostrander Point wind power project, where the approval was rescinded by the Environmental Review Tribunal, is that wind power is not a “necessity” and does not trump everything. The approvals of wind power projects must achieve balance between the development of renewable energy and preservation of the environment.

Ontario’s environment ministry: head in the (black) sand

As reports of contaminated well water in Chatham-Kent rise, the Ministry of the Environment is strangely silent. They can’t dodge this any longer

November 3, 2017

It must be getting harder and harder to work in Communications at the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) in Toronto: passing on all those media clips to management which then doesn’t respond, is not how they tell you things work in college or university.

Usually, when a company, or a government has a problem — especially with a public health issue — they meet it head on, and respond.

Not the MOECC.

A few months ago, we published a report that thousands of complaints of excessive noise and vibration from wind turbines were being ignored by the Ministry, with the staggering figure of actually NO RESPONSE for more than 50% of the citizen complaints, and a resolution rate of 1 %.

And over the summer and into the fall, the reports of problems with well water in Chatham-Kent continue to mount, as residents link the failed wells to wind turbine operation and construction.

“Black water” and heavy sediment is being found in 14 water wells near the North Kent wind power project, now under construction, which residents say is linked to vibration from pile-driving for the turbine foundations.

They’re not the only ones saying that: geoscientists and hydrologists are worried too, with one retired professional actually saying, he couldn’t believe they hadn’t stopped construction to get to the bottom of this issue.

The wind power developer claims no responsibility, relying on a consultants’ report which says well water interference is impossible.

Really, said another geoscientist. Speaking at a public meeting last week in Wallaceburg (where the province is thinking of approving another wind power project on the very same geology), Keith Benn said, If you have a model with predictions that are being countered by facts and evidence, it’s the model that might be wrong, not the facts.

This is serious business and, believe it or not, it is even worse than the situation described here.

Residents say there have been problems with well water since the first North Kent power project began but because most of the people having problems were leaseholders who had signed contracts with non-disclosure clauses about negative wind turbine effects, the well water problems were not public. So, a potential public health problem has gone unreported, essentially because the government gives a pass on most things to the “clients,” the wind power developers.

“People don’t back down when they’re protecting their water” [Photo: Council of Canadians]
The media is all over this story, with reports every week; residents are writing to the Ministry, complaining to the so-called “Spills” line, and even writing MInister Chris Ballard. Nothing but platitudes; promises to act, promises of testing, even, but no action.

Chatham-Kent’s Council is concerned, and worried about what a crisis in the water supply might mean for residents and taxpayers if the municipality is forced to supply municipal water to farms and homes formerly supplied by their own wells.

We think the Ontario government, and specifically this Ministry whose mandate it is to protect the environment and people’s health, should act.

Now.

But the Ministry has been notably Missing in Action.

WIND CONCERNS ONTARIO

Wind power part of hidden Hydro One costs

The Auditor General for Ontario noted in her recent report that the government has hidden costs of electricity, and not created a fair cost reduction plan. Cancelling wind power contracts would be a good start, says Wind Concerns Ontario

The new Belle River project by Samsung will cost about $700 million. New wind power contracts will add billions more to ratepayers’ bills

October 24

Cancelling wind power contracts would bring real savings

The special report by Ontario’s Auditor General on the government’s Fair Hydro Plan not only stated concerns about the level of debt being incurred by the vote-getting “plan” it also contained this recommendation: the government should “use a financing structure to fund the rate reduction that is least costly for Ontarians.”

If the Ontario government was genuinely interested in reducing electricity bills for Ontario citizens, it would reduce costs.

It’s not doing that.

A case in point concerns the wind power projects given 20-year contracts in 2016, totaling $3.3 billion. Those wind power projects (Dutton Dunwich, The Nation, North Stormont, Otter Creek) will provide unnecessary intermittent power, and force industrial power plants on communities that are actively fighting them over environmental, health and economic concerns.

Cancelling other contracts not yet built, such as Amherst Island, Prince Edward County and North Kent, would save more than one billion, over 20 years.

Ontario has a surplus of power but more important, does not need more wind power which tends to be produced out of phase with demand. On the recently warm October 15th Sunday, for example, Ontario power demand was low, but we were forced to “constrain” almost record-breaking wind power production — we paid millions for power we didn’t need.

In fact, says a Commentary prepared for the Council for Clean & Reliable Energy, 70 per cent of Ontario’s wind power is wasted, because it is produced at night and in mild seasons. Very little of it reaches the urban areas that need power, yet the effects of industrial-scale wind power plants on rural communities are significant.

The Auditor General says the government is hiding the true cost of its politically motivated Fair Hydro Plan which pretends to bring a 25 per cent rate reduction, while actually putting off the costs to the future.

Ontario can make real savings in costs now, by cancelling contracts for unnecessary wind power.

 

Jane Wilson

President

Wind Concerns Ontario

This article appeared in Ontario Farmer, October 23, 2017.

 

Samsung slaps citizens with $1-million costs

“People don’t back down when they’re protecting their water” [Photo: Council of Canadians]

More defendants to be named…

October 11, 2017

 

Samsung Energy is reported to have prepared a Statement of Claim for costs exceeding $1 million, naming two Chatham-Kent residents, related to recent protests over altered well water.

The Council of Canadians has slammed the legal action, saying it is a clear attempt at intimidation of citizens who were just protecting their water.

The Council of Canadians news release is here.

Council of Canadians slams heavy-handed Samsung Energy legal tactics

Media Release
October 11, 2017

Chatham, ON – The Council of Canadians is condemning Samsung Energy for filing a million dollar plus statement of claim against Chatham area residents who blocked construction at one of 34 wind turbines the company is erecting as part of its North Kent One* wind power project.

Many of the people who took part in the 11 day blockade have filed well interference complaints against the developer, citing the vibrations from the company’s pile driving activity as the cause of the sudden influx of black silt in their wells. At least thirteen well interference complaints have been made since the company started pile driving for the turbine foundations last June.

According to the developer’s Statement of Claim, the impact of the construction delay caused by the blockade “amounts to costs ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 per day, covering only the current amount of labour and equipment idle.”

The Statement of Claim names Water Wells First spokesperson Kevin Jakubec and Cindy Soney as defendants. It also includes “other individuals who have been involved in the unlawful conduct….who have not yet been identified and have been named as John Doe and Jane Doe.”

The well water on the Jakubec family’s farm became polluted with black silt shortly after pile driving began nearby.

“Our well water was crystal clear for decades before the pile driving started,” said Jakubec. “Now, Samsung is claiming that we damaged them to the tune of millions of dollars. I wonder how they sleep at night because I sure can’t.”

In 2016, Kevin Jakubec challenged the government’s approval of the North Kent One project at the Environmental Review Tribunal where expert witnesses warned specifically that vibrations from pile driving could cause the pollution problems seen in the last few months.

“Million dollar lawsuits are usually meant to intimidate,” said Mark Calzavara, Ontario Organizer for The Council of Canadians. “But people don’t back down when it comes to protecting their water. The evidence clearly shows that the construction is causing the pollution. Samsung must stop this project now.”

* North Kent One Wind is owned and developed by Samsung Energy and Pattern Energy.

-30-

For more information or to arrange interviews:

Dylan Penner, Media Officer, Council of Canadians, 613-795-8685, dpenner@canadians.org. Twitter: @CouncilOfCDNs

No response from Wynne government to holiday weekend wind turbine noise reports

October 9, 2017

Thanksgiving: pumpkin martinis for city dwellers, screeching thumping noise for unwilling wind farm neighbours in the country. And no help from the MOECC. [Photo: allrecipes.com]

 

For many families in Ontario, Thanksgiving is a wonderful time, a time to get together over a lunch or dinner, get outside for walks in the still pleasant weather, and just generally enjoy a day, or weekend.

Unless you are forced to live inside a wind power plant as hundreds of Ontario residents are.

This Thanksgiving weekend saw high winds in a number of locations and Ontario’s wind turbines were churning away, producing power that wasn’t needed on a warm holiday weekend, meanwhile producing noise and vibration in nearby homes.

A Chatham-Kent area family spent a sleepless night on the holiday weekend Saturday and started calling the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Spills Action line at 5:30 a.m. to complain about the noise.

One Niagara area resident wrote an email about her family’s experiences on the holiday weekend.

We continue to be exposed daily to the well-known harmful emissions from the ill placement of Industrial Scale Wind Turbines to our home.  We cannot enjoy our property and home, outside or inside, due to the constant crashing, swooshing and thumping inside and outside of our home.  

The Industrial Wind Generators are whomping along with what I refer to as microbursts.  A constant swoosh can be heard inside and outside of our home with thump thump thumps.  I am highly agitated without sleep and being exposed to these emissions. This causes frustrations, alters moods and has stolen what I used to enjoy about living in my sanctuary, aka, as my HOME!!!!!!!!

Last night my bed was vibrating.  VIBRATING!  The vibrations could be felt throughout the home by all of us and felt in our bodies.

I am disrupted during sleep several times during the night.  Especially when you are woken by your bed vibrating and tinnitus so loud it is difficult to hear people and suppressing the high pitch screaming in your ears is impossible.  The more sleep disturbances, the more tired and the more difficult it is to handle the various symptoms forced onto us by this illegal legislation.  My head is under pressure with a headache requiring an aid to suppress the pain.   My skin is crawling.  Waves of vertigo coupled with nausea diminish my comfort and well-being.  Vertigo also challenges my stability while up and down in my daily routine.  As long as vertigo is present, my stability is at risk.  My ears are under pressure and that pressure extends behind my ears, below my ears and spreads down my throat while I am also trying to cope with tinnitus, a stiff neck and pressure on my chest. 

Our lives have been turned inside out … [this] is a complete violation of our rights as Canadians. 

 

 A family in Huron County also complained to the MOECC about their experiences in what was supposed to be a pleasant family weekend at the farm:

Some of us had very restless nights… One of our guests has had some very unsettling experiences today, October 8th.

Experienced SEVERE sudden onset of knife like ear pain while sitting against a south wall inside our home.  This happened in the morning (we were away for a couple of hours) and then later again when we arrived home – the same experiences.   This person has never felt anything like it before and has been quite literally shocked by what is happening and is very disturbed by it – and now is trying to rest due to a severe headache.  

I hate what this Wind Power Plant has done to our personal lives, our physical and mental health, etc.

Another Huron County resident, forced to live inside the K2 wind power plant, wrote this to the Spills line last Friday:

Today, I cannot enjoy my property and home, outside or inside, due to cyclical TONALITY. The wind is from the SW, WSW.  The wind speed at ground level is relatively low.  The TONALITY is rising and lowering in intensity, modulating up and down and it is SICKENING, like fingernails on a chalk board!  This causes frustrations, alters moods and has stolen what I used to enjoy about living in my home.  It is disruptive to our daily life and dangerous to our health.  

None of these complaints received immediate response.

All the MOECC is offering to do at present is more noise testing, using its flawed and limited measurement protocol.

The MOECC’s mandate is to protect the environment and human health.

Except when the people who really count are huge, multi-national wind power corporations.

“Gasping in despair”: Ontario’s rural communities, victims of Wynne government wind power cabal

In aiding wind power corporations, the Ontario government has essentially released wild dogs onto Ontario’s landscape without oversight, or means of bringing them to heel

“To despoil the environment. To slaughter endangered species. To make folks sick.” From the independent Wellington Times, a powerful overview of what the McGuinty-Wynne governments have done to Ontario while aiding huge corporations to build wind power plants

 

Ontario gothic

Posted: October 6, 2017 at 9:03 am   /   by   /   comments (4)

It begs the question: what was Kathleen Wynne and her government smoking when they let loose their own man-made monsters across rural Ontario—in the form of industrial wind developers and speculators?

Even if you buy the sentiment that their motivations were well-intentioned, the undeniable outcome of the Green Energy Act is that Kathleen Wynne and Dalton McGuinty have spawned armies of amoral monstrous corporate creatures and have let them loose to roam unfettered across the province. To wreak havoc in rural communities. To despoil the environment. To slaughter endangered species. To make folks sick.

Worse, our government has paved the way, clearing hurdles and slashing regulations to enable these creatures to prey upon vulnerable communities, natural habitats and endangered species. Now they have lost control of their grotesque creations. Even Kathleen Wynne must know how this story ends.

Near Chatham, folks believe the wind developer working nearby has poisoned their wells—allowing toxins into their drinking supply. They have done the testing. They have spoken out. They have protested. Marched on Queen’s Park. Kathleen Wynne has ignored them.

Wynne, her government and her supporters comfort themselves believing the scourge they have unleashed—though ugly and abusive— is a necessary evil. That the greater good is being served. They ignore the folks holding up jars of black liquid, pleading with the province to test their water, drawn from wells that have become undrinkable since the wind developer began driving piles into the bedrock to secure its massive wind turbines. Even Chatham- Kent’s mayor has demanded Kathleen Wynne intervene to protect these residents. It has made no difference.

Left without the protection of the province—without the safeguards that would protect them from any other development— these folks took matters into their own hands. In August, they began blockading the construction site— neighbours joining together to form a line against the threat to their drinking water.

On Monday, in a cruel blow, the developers— a Korean conglomerate and its American partner—won a court injunction barring any further blockades of the project. The judge said he wasn’t trying to muzzle opponents, but to “prohibit unlawful acts”.

People have to prove their water has been poisoned

In Ontario’s perverse hunger for industrial wind turbines, it turns out Chatham-Kent residents must first prove they have been poisoned by the developer, before they may seek justice. By then, of course, the damage will have been done. Recourse will expensive and, for most, unattainable.

Four years ago, the giant American wind developer Next Era sued Esther Wrightman for defamation. On her website she had altered the company’s logo to NextError and Next Terror. They wanted the logos removed or they would litigate the mother of two young children into oblivion. All these years later, the legal action is still pending. Wrightman wakes up every morning with the weight of this action still weighing on her head.

In Prince Edward County, a wind developer has been barred from constructing a nine-turbine project near Milford between May 1 and October 15. This was done expressly to protect the nesting grounds and habitat of the Blanding’s turtle, an endangered species in the province.

Nevertheless, crews have been busy these past few weeks clearing vegetation, preparing the site and delivering heavy equipment onto these protected lands. There are no consequences for ignoring the rules.

Families have left homes–no one will help

So, a developer ruins drinking water without penalty, another bullies a young mother into silence, and yet another crushes rules meant to save an endangered species. This is our Ontario. There are dozens more distressing stories just like these. Too many sad accounts of families forced to leave their homes because the noise and vibration from the massive machines proved intolerable.

No one is coming to help the folks in Chatham-Kent. No one from our government—those we entrust to protect us—is intervening between Next Era (market capitalization of $68 billion) and Esther Wrightman. And no one is coming to protect endangered species in South Marysburgh.

Wynne has lost control of her destructive and unscrupulous brutes. When the Liberal government eliminated the safeguards that once protected us from these threats, and cut municipalities and communities out of decision-making, they may have believed they were just streamlining processes. Instead, they unleashed wild dogs onto the Ontario landscape without oversight or the means to bring them back to heel.

Untethered by moral, ethical or community concerns, these corporate beasts consume and ravage everything they can get away with. Folks who have fought for years to protect the things our government was supposed to safeguard, have been left gasping in despair. Lacking legal remedies or protection, some have begun considering other means to protect their families, their communities and their land. If the government won’t protect them, they will do it themselves.

This is the horror Kathleen Wynne and Dalton McGuinty have wrought.

 

rick@wellingtontimes.ca

 

North Kent Wind proponents unmoved by families’ reports of well water contamination

“Not possible,” wind power developer says, that 12 wells failed simultaneously from pile-driving for wind turbine construction. Nope, it wasn’t us.

Water in Chatham-Kent wells is cloudy, even brown: not our fault says Samsung-Pattern [Photo: Sydenham Current]
October 4, 2017

Ontario Farmer

By Jeffrey Carter

The art of deflection may have risen to new heights during a community meeting organized by the proponents of the North Kent Wind project, on September 21 in Chatham-Kent.

Dr.* Storer Boone, a geotechnical engineer with Golder  Associates, said it is “not possible” that pile-driving has led to well water complaints, given the distances between turbine sites and nearby wells.

Jason Murchison, a hydrogeologist with the firm AECON, also said there is no reason for concern.

“We haven’t seen any impact in the wells we’ve investigated,” he said. “Nothing we’ve seen is any different from the baseline.”

Beth O’Brien, a spokesperson with Pattern Energy, said the majority shareholders of the project, Pattern and Samsung, have been delivering fresh water to some area residents who say their wells have been contaminated. However, that’s not an admission of liability.

“Were doing it to be good neighbours. Right now, if we hear a complaint, we supply them with fresh water.”

The companies, however, will not be laying lines to deliver municipal water to residents, O’Brien said.

According to Kevin Jakubec, spokesperson for the Water Wells First citizens’ group, 12 wells affecting 14 families, have been contaminated with Kettle Point Black Shale due to pile driving, so far. Well water in the area is drawn from about 50 to 70 feet below the soil surface.

The aquifer is located within a layer of glacial till about 50 to 70 feet below the soil surface and just above the bedrock.

While Boone dismissed the notion of vibration-related contamination, he said bedrock particles, many invisible to the human eye, are located in the till layer where residents draw their water.

It is those particles that are the source of the contamination, according to Jakubec and other members of Water Wells First. They said it showed up in the affected wells shortly after pile-driving began and is also associated with vibrations created as the huge [wind] turbine blades rotate.

Peter Hensel, a resident of the former Township of Dover, is among those who say they’ve been impacted.

During a taped conversation, Hensel said he had his well, from which he’s been drinking for seven decades, tested in 2012 before the wind farm in his area  was commissioned, and retested four years later.

“My uranium is up 500 times from what it was before. My arsenic is up 20 times from what it was before, as are many of the other heavy metals and elements I have in my water, some of which exceed the Ontario drinking water standards,” Hensel said.

“The only thing that’s happened within my general area, 1520 holes were punched through my aquifer. All of a sudden, my water is cloudy.”

Water Wells First has asked that the sediment in the water be tested but so far, neither the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change [or the developer] has complied. As a result, Water Wells First has paid for its own tests, which will soon be released.

Pattern and Samsung each have a 35 percent stake in the North Kent Wind project. Other partners include Walpole Island First Nation with a 15 percent stake and the Municipality of Chatham-Kent with a 15 percent stake through Entegrus Inc.

The Municipality, despite its investment, has called for the project’s halt.

Councillor Joe Faas, who attended the September 21 meeting, said “It’s apparent there’s groundwater concern,” and called for a thorough investigation to determine the cause.

Samples of contaminated well water are either cloudy or solid brown in colour and have a disagreeable odour and taste.

 

Editor’s note: the wind power developers filed for an injunction against Water Wells First and community members demonstrating against the project; they were successful, in a decision announced this week.

Wind Concerns Ontario is advising anyone near this power project experiencing problems or changes to their well water to contact the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Spills Action Line at 1-800-268-8080. Be sure to provide your address, distance from any turbine or turbine construction activity (though this may or may not be relevant), and what the changes are to your water. BE SURE TO GET AN INCIDENT REPORT NUMBER from the staff member you speak to.

*Mr. Boone has a PhD in engineering; he is not a medical doctor.