Trudeau government silent on wind farm noise

In sworn testimony at an environmental review tribunal, a Health Canada official confirmed industrial wind turbines — large, noise-emitting devices — are regulated by the Radiation Emitting Devices Act. So why isn’t it responding to hundreds of citizen complaints?

KIncardine area house w turbine

Toronto Sun, June 28, 2016

The federal government’s inaction on wind turbine noise is making Canadians sick.

It’s been a year-and-a-half since Health Canada’s $2-million study determined low-frequency acoustic waves from industrial wind turbines cause community annoyance.

According to the World Health Organization, unwanted noise, even at a moderate level, can lead to a myriad of adverse health outcomes, including stress-related symptoms such as sleep disturbance, elevated blood pressure, cardiac events and depression.

It’s a “green” form of radiation sickness.

Canada’s Radiation Emitting Devices Act (REDA) is supposed to regulate the design and operation of devices that emit radiation, such as microwave ovens and tanning beds. In sworn testimony at an environmental review tribunal, a Health Canada official confirmed industrial wind turbines — large, noise-emitting devices — are regulated by REDA.

REDA requires a manufacturer or importer of such a device to “forthwith notify the Minister” upon becoming aware its device is emitting radiations not necessary for the performance of its function.

On June 15, Barbara Ashbee of Mulmur, Ontario, together with hundreds of other Ontarians, sent an open letter to Health Minister Jane Philpott, asking why Health Canada has not insisted wind energy corporations report citizen complaints about noise radiation. She wants the minister to meet with her and representatives of citizens suffering from turbine noise radiations.

Ashbee wrote: “Many in Ontario and elsewhere have logged serious health complaints with proponents/operators of wind turbine projects, provincial and federal government ministries as well as wind turbine manufacturers … As previous ministers and current Minister Philpott have been informed, the adverse effects of wind turbines are not trivial.”

Access to Information records indicate wind energy corporations have reported no complaints.

Why is Health Canada not forcing wind turbine operators to report citizen complaints, as required?

Is the wind industry lobby that strong?

Why were Canadians not told wind turbine corporations are required to report citizen complaints to Health Canada? Were wind energy companies also not told about the REDA?

Why did Health Canada’s Wind Turbine Noise and Health study exclude people under age 18 and over age 79, the most vulnerable segments of Canada’s population?

Why do REDA regulations not include standards for the design and operation of wind turbines, as they do for microwave ovens, etc.?

Prior to the 2015 federal election, Canadians for Radiation Emission Enforcement (CFREE) asked candidates in wind turbine-affected Ontario ridings: “Will you support a moratorium on new wind turbines within 2 km of residences, until REDA regulations are updated to clearly stipulate wind turbine operators must comply with REDA, and to include scientifically proven safe setback distances?”

The survey revealed equal support from candidates of all four parties for a wind turbine moratorium. Only three candidates opposed it, but none were elected. In Ontario, the turbine setback is only 550 meters from residences.

Other countries are extending setbacks to safer distances. In Poland, the setback is now ten times turbine height. In closely settled Bavaria, it is now two kilometres. But there is no such action from Health Canada. No moratorium. No change in setbacks. No standards in REDA. More wind projects are planned. More Canadians are getting sick.

Openness and transparency are supposedly important to the federal Liberal government.

What will Prime Minister Justin Trudeau do about Health Canada’s inaction on wind turbines?

Read the full article here.

Ostrander Point decision: key changes to wind power process say lawyers

Blanding turtle as depicted by Jim Coyle of the Toronto Star: changing history
Blanding turtle as depicted by Jim Coyle and Paul Watson of the Toronto Star: changing history

The decision of the Environmental Review Tribunal to revoke the approval of a wind power generation project at Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County is key, says a leading law firm, because it provides insight into how the Tribunal will now exercise its powers.

In an opinion published on the Osler Hoskin Harcourt LLP website, lawyers Jack Koop, Richard Wong and others say that the Tribunal can now step into the Ministry of the Environment’s Director to approve a remedy to environmental challenges but, more important, “it may consider the general purpose of the EPA, the general purpose of REAs, the public interest under section 47.5 of the EPA, and the principles set out in the Ministry’s Statements of Environmental Values (including the ecosystem approach and the precautionary principle).”

The Precautionary Principle, which had been deemed irrelevant to appeals of wind power projects is now back in play, says Osler Hoskin Harcourt: “With the Ostrander decision, the Tribunal now appears to be saying that once the more stringent harm test has been met, and the Tribunal moves to a consideration of ‘remedy’, it has licence to consider a much broader range of factors, including the precautionary principle. This raises the question of whether the decision has opened a backdoor for the Tribunal to relax the stringent harm test imposed by the statute.”

This is a highly significant finding as it has long been surmised that the test imposed under the regulations for wind power project approvals was virtually impossible to meet. In fact, as lawyer for the industry trade association CanWEA or the Canadian Wind Energy Association said in court in January, 2014, “this [the Ostrander Point decision in favour of the Appellant] was never supposed to happen.”

Read the full opinion here but it appears the little, endangered, smiling Blanding’s turtle will go down in history for more than just being in the way of an inappropriate power development.

Wind power exec confirms: contracts to miss key performance date

"I'm a problem?"
“I’m a problem?”

The top executive for Gilead Power, the firm that was seeking to develop Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County into a wind power generation project, confirms what Wind Concerns Ontario has known for some time: there are projects in Ontario that are approaching, or have even passed, their key contract date to be supplying power to the grid.

The Wynne government has the option of now cancelling these contracts.

In an interview with the Picton Gazette, interim Gilead president Dan Hardie said the company is now “in limbo” with the decision by the Environmental Review Tribunal going against the project, and the “drop-dead” date approaching. (Actually, Wind Concerns Ontario’s information is that the key contract date was May 12, 2016.)

“We were supposed to be up and running by a certain date this year,” Hardie told the Gazette. “We are running out of time and that’s due to the Blanding [sic] turtle problem that we had.”

Asked if the ERT decision could mean the end of the company, Hardie replied, “Probably.”

According to WCO information, the cost to the government of getting out of the Ostrander Point contract would be $420,000 at most to terminate.

FIT Contract status: estimated from FIT contract source documents

Project 20 Year Cost Termination Cost (Max) Status/ Estimated

Key Contract Dates

Nigig/Henley Inlet, Parry Sound $2,057 M $1.0 M Pre-submission – Default Date =   Sep 24, 2015
Trout Creek, Parry Sound $68.6 M $420,000 Default Date = Nov 6, 2015
Fairview, Clearview $126.2 M $436,000 Default Date = Nov 6, 2015
Skyway 126, Grey Highlands $68.6 M $420,000 Default Date = Nov 6, 2015
Ostrander Point, Prince Edward $154.3 M $448,000 ERT – 24 months of Force Majeure = May 12, 2016
White Pines,

Prince Edward

$411.5 M $520,000 ERT – Default Date = 57 days after favourable ERT
Amherst Island, Loyalist $514.4 M $550,000 ERT – Default Date = 18 days after favourable ERT
Settlers Landing, Kawartha Lakes $68.6 M $420,000 Remedy ERT – Default Date = May 6, 2016
Majestic, Kincardine $13.7 M $408,000 Default Date – May 11, 2016
Meyer, Kincardine $27.4 M $404,000 Default Date – Jun 17, 2016
Total $3.5 B $5.0 M

 

 

 

Final arguments in Amherst Island appeal: danger to turtles and people?

The Whig-Standard, June 7, 2016

By Elliot Ferguson

The public waits for the start of the final day of the Amherst Island ERT. Elliot Ferguson/The Whig-Standard
The public waits for the Amherst Island hearing to begin June 7th. Photo: Elliot Ferguson/Whig-Standard

STELLA — The two sides in the legal battle over the Amherst Island wind energy project laid out their final submissions Tuesday.

The Association to Protect Amherst Island (APAI) is seeking the revocation of a conditional approval of Windlectric’s wind power project.

The hearing comes after the association appealed an August decision by the Ontario government that gave the project conditional approval. The Amherst Island Island Environmental Review Tribunal is expected to be the largest such hearing since the process was established.

Island resident Amy Caughey led off the final submissions by arguing that the negative effects on children’s health have not been studied collectively.

Caughey said the proximity of a proposed concrete batch plant near Amherst Island Public School would hurt pupils’ health.

But Caughey said such effects can’t properly be studied unless the children are first exposed to the dust and noise from the plant and the changes in their health documented.

“In Canada, in 2016, we do not permit such trials on children,” she said. “The burden of proof cannot fall on a parent.”

APAI’s lawyer, Eric Gillespie, said the evidence has met the burden of proof needed to show wind turbines are detrimental to human health.

“This case advances the health claims further than any other case this tribunal has heard,” he said, before outlining the key evidence his witnesses presented about the potential negative impacts of the wind turbines.

Gillespie said expert testimony showed Amherst Island is home to many species — birds, bats and turtles — that could be negatively affected by the project.

“This island is a stronghold for species that is under pressure,” he said of the local bobolink population.

Gillespie saved his final submission for the Blanding’s turtle, which has taken a special place in ERTs in this area.

The closing of the Amherst Island ERT came the day after a similar process rejected a wind energy plan for Prince Edward County.

On Monday, an ERT upheld an appeal of a nine-turbine project by the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN), saying the installation of gates on access roads won’t adequately protect the population or habitat of Blanding’s turtles.

Gillespie said island residents called as witnesses have testified to have seen the turtle on the island. …

Read the full story here.

Testimony concludes at Clearview appeal: aviation safety reduced

 

 

A small plane lands at the Chatham-Kent airport. "Reduced" safety at Collingwood
A small plane lands at the Chatham-Kent airport. “Reduced” safety at Collingwood

Even the expert witness for the power developer admits there would be “reduced” safety for pilots using the Collingwood Regional Airport if the wind power project is built.

Simcoe.com, June 6, 2016

By Ian Adams

A tribunal hearing an appeal of the province’s decision to approve an wind turbine project in Clearview Township has moved on to the next phase of the process.

The final witness on Friday, aviation expert Ed McDonald, told the tribunal the eight turbines proposed for an area north and south of County Road 91 would have “no incremental impact on departure procedures” at the Collingwood Regional Airport.

The Town of Collingwood, Simcoe County, and Clearview Township are among six appellants to the project, on the basis several of the turbines could pose a danger to pilots flying into and out of the regional airport.

However, McDonald, testifying on behalf of WPD Canada, told the tribunal that approach procedures at the airport could be modified in order to mitigate the presence of the proposed 500-foot turbines.

“I hope to put to bed that the turbines put into the area would not allow access to the airport,” he testified. “It just has to be mitigated.”

That would include moving a waypoint used by pilots flying under Instrument Flight Rules, moving the ‘circuit’ used by student pilots from the south of the airport to the north of the airport, and essentially creating a ‘no-go’ zone south-east of the airport where the turbines would be located.

However, he acknowledged that “one turbine becomes a factor” in the case of the privately-owned Stayner Aerodrome on County Road 91.

“There is a negative impact, and there’s nothing we can do about that,” McDonald testified, adding there are other obstructions to that aerodrome, such as trees and buildings, that a pilot flying in and out “would have to be very skilled.”

McDonald said modifying approach and take-off procedures at Stayner Aerodrome, however, would mitigate the presence of the turbines.

On Thursday, another WPD expert witness, risk assessment consultant Dr. Raymond Cox testified that an aircraft in the area of the turbines experiencing one of several issues, such as mechanical failure or pilot fatigue, and flying at the same level as the turbines “would likely impact the ground in any event.

“If (a pilot) is in a situation where they have run out of fuel, have a mechanical mishap, and they’re at (500 feet), they are in a dire situation,” Cox told the tribunal via Skype from his home in England. “If you’re in a car and you go over a cliff and don’t hit a boulder, you will hit something else.”

Cox also testified that any turbulence coming from the turbines would have a negligible effect on planes flying a distance equal to the diameter of five rotor blades.

However, under cross-examination by Collingwood and Simcoe County counsel Julie Abouchar, Cox acknowledged that under certain circumstances a pilot could make it to the airport should there be an issue.

“So, if the turbines are between an airplane and the airport, his or her options for a safe landing would be reduced,” Abouchar questioned the witness.

“Yes,” Cox responded. …

Read the full story here.

Victory for environment, community at Ostrander Point

Ontario Coat of Arms

The people of Prince Edward County have been battling a wind power project planned for–and supported by the Ontario government–for more than six years. An Important Bird Area and staging area for hundreds of thousands of migratory birds, and home to endangered species, Ostrander Point was a fragile environment— not suitable, most thought, for a huge, utility-scale, wind power project.

The Environmental Review Tribunal released its decision today, prepared by co-chairs Robert Wright and Heather Gibbs.

Here is a news release from the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists and their lawyer, Eric Gillespie.

TORONTO, June 6, 2016 /CNW/ – The endangered Blanding’s turtle has come out ahead in its race to protect the species and its habitat in Prince Edward County.

The Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal ruled today that the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change permit related to proposed industrial wind turbines on the Ostrander Point crown lands should be revoked.

“This is a great outcome for everyone involved and for the environment” said Myrna Wood of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, the appellant. “It’s taken some time, but with this result the effort has clearly been worthwhile” said Eric Gillespie, legal counsel.

SOURCE Eric K. Gillespie Professional Corporation

A key point in the decision was the concepts that there must be balance between preserving the natural environment and wildlife and the goals for “renewable” power generation.

The Ontario government has approved wind power projects in other areas where environmental protection is a concern.

Will the government of Ontario do the right thing and now cancel contracts for utility-scale wind power in these locations?

ToughonNature

Collingwood wind turbines will be ‘very dangerous’ for pilots, safety expert testifies

An aviation safety expert was “grilled” by lawyers for the Ontario government and the wind power developer. He maintains that the planned Fairview Wind power project represents a clear danger to airport operations and pilots.

Bayshore Broadcasting, June 2, 2016

Small plane landing at Chatham-Kent airport; several turbines were disallowed due to threat to safety
Small plane landing at Chatham-Kent airport; several turbines were disallowed due to threat to safety

Wind Turbine Opponent Grilled

Thursday, June 2, 2016 7:29 AM by Ken Hashizume
Charles Cormier says Mega Turbines simply too close to Collingwood airport.
(Collingwood) –  An aviation consultant returned to the stand at the Environmental Review Tribunal in Collingwood today.

Lawyers for the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and WPD Canada cross-examined Charles Cormier, who was retained by the municipalities fighting mega wind turbines.

Charles Cormier testified that the turbines planned at the Stayner-Clearview field will be very dangerous to normal flight operations.

He said with pilot multi tasking all the time, a catastrophe is likely with the turbines so close to the approach to the runway.

Cormier said if the turbine is built in the approved location, the start point for approaches at the facility would have to move 4-thousand feet, well beyond the existing property boundaries.

Citing studies that blade turbulence from the turbines can extend out 15 diameters of the rotors, Cormier said the entire aerodrome would exhibit severe potential for aircraft accidents.

Lawyers representing the turbine developers have argued that planes can make their landing approaches from a higher altitude to avoid the turbines.

But Cormier told the hearing he designs approaches to bring planes in as low as possible to inspect the runway for vehicles and wildlife.

When obstacles are placed in the way, the only alternative is to make the approaches higher.

But, at 1000-feet, Cormier said, an aircraft may still be in cloud and unable to see what’s coming.

Cormier said there is not enough land available to mitigate the problem, so the investment in the aerodrome would be lost.

Both counsellors suggested that Transport Canada letters on the subject said safety concerns could be addressed by lighting the turbines.
But Cormier said the turbines are simply too close.

He cited Chatham-Kent were 19 turbines were cancelled because they presented obstacles to the airport. In that case they were planned at 1 to 1.3 miles from the flight path.

At Stayner-Clearview they would only be .4 of a mile away.

Read the full story here.

Wind farm location near Collingwood airport “unwise” says aviation safety expert

Safety expert says wind power developer’s comparison to Pincher Creek Alberta “not valid”—turbines there are half the size proposed for Collingwood area

Collingwood Regional Airport

Simcoe.com, May 31, 2016

An aviation safety expert says the location of wind turbines as proposed by WPD Canada would be “unwise.”

Charles Cormier also told an Environmental review Tribunal hearing on an appeal of the province’s approval of a renewable energy application (REA) for the Fairview Wind project that the eight turbines could have a negative impact on growth at the Collingwood Regional Airport.

Collingwood, Clearview Township and Simcoe County have joined Kevin Elwood, Preserve Clearview, and John Wiggins in appealing the approval by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC).

“It’s a growing airport, a very busy airport,” Cormier told the tribunal during four hours of testimony.

Cormier has reviewed the turbine issue several times on behalf of the Collingwood Regional Airport, and rebutted the opinion of experts hired by WPD Canada that the turbines would have a negligible effect on aircraft movements.

Read the full news report here.

 

Appeal begins in Collingwood as record six appellants object to wind farm

Three municipal governments are among the appellants fighting the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and wind power developer, Germany-based wpd Canada. At issue, aviation safety and the economic survival of Collingwood (the latter not allowed as basis for an appeal.)

Hearing begins in Collingwood this morning: already a shambles
Hearing begins in Collingwood this morning: already a shambles

May 16, 2016

Six tables of lawyers make up the front of the room as the appeal against the Fairview Wind power project begins in Collingwood, Ontario. The Environmental Tribunal members for this appeal are Dirk Vanderbent and Hugh Wilkins.

Already there are problems as both the Ministry of the Environment and the power developer have missed deadline for their evidence submissions related to aviation safety issues.

The power developer is claiming it cannot force the federal government to provide information for this appeal.

More details when available.

Hearings are scheduled for May 16, then 18-20, at the Collingwood Curling Club.

Wind farm appeal decisions could take months

Citizens’ groups say onus is on developers to prove no harm; legislation constructed otherwise

Blackburn News, April 26, 2016

Appeal Ruling Months Away

Anti-wind turbine groups are patiently awaiting a ruling by the Ontario Divisional Court on Suncor and Nextera’s Cedar Point Wind Power Project.

Last week, court heard an appeal on the approval of 46 turbines in Plympton-Wyoming. That ruling could take upwards of a few months to be handed down.

The approval of the project was initially granted by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, and upheld by the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT).

Anti-turbine groups argued the developers didn’t provide evidence to the ERT that the turbines would not cause adverse health effects.

The turbine groups say the onus should be on residents to prove they will be harmed.

It’s too early to tell what impacts a successful appeal would have.

In the future, he says it would be beneficial for the government to engage in an inclusive discussion with community members before any projects are approved.