High electricity bills, energy poverty behind municipalities’ call for no new wind power contracts

Ontario is paying too much for wind power, and it doesn’t help the environment anyway, says the Wainfleet Resolution. Reports of health effects worry Wainfleet Mayor.

Erie Media, March 4, 2016

Image result for image Wainfleet wind farm

51 Ontario Municipalities endorse resolution

The Township of Wainfleet has gained support from 51 other municipalities in Ontario who have endorsed the Townships resolution calling on the Ontario government to not award more Feed-In-Tariff contracts for power generation from wind.

In a press release issued by the Township of Wainfleet, “The resolution was based on December’s Auditor General Report which reported that Ontario has a surplus of power generation capacity and, under existing contracts, is paying double what other jurisdictions are paying for wind power.  Adding more surplus generation capacity would add to the already high costs of disposing of surplus electricity.”

According to the release, the cost of electricity is a concern for Ontario residents, straining household budgets and it states that the Ontario Chamber of Commerce noted that high electrical costs are affecting their members’ ability to grow their business which will affect their ability to create jobs in Ontario.

“This suggests the need for a full, cost-benefit review of the renewable energy program before committing Ontario electricity users to even more surplus power,” the release says.

“This quick response from other municipalities to the circulation of the resolution indicates that wind turbines are still front and centre as an important issue in rural Ontario,” said Wainfleet Township Mayor April Jeffs in the Wainfleet Township release.

It continues on to say that Mayor Jeffs is reporting that citizens reports of deteriorating health is a cause for concern, the reports coming in since the beginning of operations for one of the two projects in Wainfleet.

“We did have a family come to us before Christmas and had reported that they were suffering many health effects from the wind turbine near their residence,” Mayor April Jeffs said in a follow up interview. “The main complaint was sleep deprivation caused by infrasound created by the turbine.”

Since the complaint, the family has since sold their house in Wainfleet and moved to Port Colborne.

Jeffs pointed out that Huron County Health Unit has now begun an investigation into health complaints from industrial wind turbines in their community. They will be surveying resident’s complaints of several symptoms including headache, ear pressure, nausea, anxiety, pressure in the head, bloody nose, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, vertigo and sleep disturbances.

“Appropriate long term health studies weren’t done before putting the things up, now they are there and people are noticing problems,” Mayor Jeffs said. …

Read the full story here

 

Huron County Health Unit to launch investigation of wind farm noise complaints and health

This announcement is from the Huron-area community group, Huron East Against Turbines (HEAT).

March 4, 2016
 
TO:                  All concerned
 
FROM:            Area-wide Concerned Residents of Huron County:
                     Jeanne Melady, Gerry Ryan, Patti Kellar, Carla & Mike Stachura
 
SUBJECT:      Huron County Health Unit –  Health Concerns from IWT’s
                 
On March 1, 2016, the Huron County Health Unit stated it will investigate the concerns of residents regarding potential health effects of wind turbines, in keeping with their legislative duty to investigate potential population health hazards.
 
      The Health Unit plans to launch an online and paper survey in May 2016.
 
      information from the survey will help the HCHU decide the next steps to investigate concerns.
 
      Health Unit staff will present their action plan to the Board of Health as part of a report in April, 2016.
 
The HCHU made this decision as a result of correspondence from numerous residents of Huron County to the Huron County Health Unit (HCHU) describing negative health impacts from living close to Industrial Wind Turbines (IWTs).  
 
A delegation had been formed to make a presentation to the Huron County Board of Health on March 3, 2016.  As our delegation was requesting information and the decision by HCHU to proceed with the health investigation, the HCHU scheduled two meetings on March 1, 2016.
                                                                                                                       
The first meeting on March 1, 2016, the HCHU met with Carmen Krogh to further discuss the complaint tracking form that was developed with Public Health Ontario in the fall of 2015.  Dr. Clark and Carmen Krogh have been working together since introduced by Safe Wind Energy for All Residents (SWEAR) in 2014.
 
Later the same day, the HCHU – Dr. Janice Owen (Medical Officer of Health),
Dr. Erica Clark (epidemiology) and Jean-Guy Albert (environmental health) met with
Jeanne Melady, Gerry Ryan, Carla and Mike Stachura.
 
At the meeting, the HCHU detailed their plan to implement an investigation on health complaints from Industrial Wind Turbines. 
 
The following is a synopsis:
 
Phase 1 – The health unit is developing a survey to track wind turbine complaints. 
Carmen Krogh and Tanya Christidis (University of Waterloo) are involved in developing the survey. A small number of affected individuals (5-10) will have input into the survey development during the pilot testing phase in April 2016.
 
The survey will be available electronically (using FluidSurvey) and also as a paper survey. The survey is expected to launched in May 2016. Those wanting to participate will need to register with the health unit first. The initial interview will be done by Dr. Erica Clark and/or additional health unit staff members.
 
Note: Information provided on this survey is owned by the individual.  This means that the health unit cannot share individual responses without permission from the person who provided those responses.  If a person wants to withdraw from the investigation, they have the right to ask the health unit to delete all of the information he/she provided.  Only aggregate (grouped) data will be published.
 
Registering will involve answering an initial series of questions including age, gender, address, health conditions that existed before the IWTs were turned on, how many IWTs are visible from the house, etc.  These initial questions will not be part of the wind turbine complaint tracking.  After completing the survey, individuals will receive a personal code known only to them.  When they enter information into the complaint tracking survey, they will use their personal code so that they do not need to enter information included in the initial interview. 
 
When an individual is experiencing negative impacts, they complete the survey online or on paper.  The survey can be accessed without the code; however, there will be a question that asks for the code.  The personal code is a substitute for answering questions about name, gender, age, address, etc. every time the survey is completed.  
 
The survey will consist of “tick” boxes and a 1-5 “Likert” scale. The survey should take less than 10 minutes to complete.  It will include weather conditions, noise description (i.e. whining, whooshing, wooing, thumping, crashing, whumping, swooshing, tonal sound etc.), the health complaints being experienced at that moment for example – headache, ear pain/pressure, tinnitus, nausea, anxiety, pressure in the head and chest, bloody nose, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, vertigo, sleep disturbances including quality and quantity of sleep, shadow flicker etc.  
 
Resident’s will be encouraged to complete a survey each time they are experiencing negative health impacts.  This could be up to several times a day if the weather is changing etc.  
 
Resident’s that do not have access to the internet will be provided paper forms to complete that will later be entered into the system. 
 
Information will be gathered for each person for a year.  This is necessary because negative health effects are often dependent on seasonal weather patterns. 
 
Data will be analyzed seasonally to determine trends. The process will be open and transparent and results will be made available to the public on a seasonal basis.  
 
The HCHU will be attempting to determine patterns of when and under what conditions people are experiencing difficulty. 
 
Phase 2 – Analysis of the phase 1 results will help the HCHU determine the next steps of the investigation.  The health unit stated next steps may include acoustical testing of both audible noise and infrasound inside and outside of homes of agreeable participants.  The details of phase 2 are still being developed so there is no further information available on phase 2 at this time.
 
Dr. Owen stated that the HCHU’s mandate does not include setting up a medical referral centre or designating a referral physician; however, Dr. Owen is aware that Carmen Krogh is making inquiries on that issue.  If a physician is found that is willing to take referrals, area physicians could refer people to him or her for further testing.
 
 
Timeline:
 
The HCHU will require two “point people” from the “health affected resident group” to communicate with committed residents willing to participate in the development/ testing phase of the survey. 
 
HCHU expects the initial draft survey will be completed by the end of March.
 
HCHU will need a committed group of 5-10 people to “test” the survey beginning in April.     
 
HCHU expects a final version of the survey to be available by May 1st and to begin a long term/full year investigation by May 1st.
 
Note: HCHU inquired as to the best method to find participants.  Interested individuals can contact the HCHU @ (519) 482-3416 or email @ hchu@huroncounty.ca
We also discussed press releases, news media, radio, newspaper, door to door, flyers in the affected area, various email lists, and the HCHU website.  
 
This is the first county health unit investigation, in Ontario, regarding industrial wind turbines, where the affected resident’s health complaints will be tracked long term.
 
Note:  Dr. Owen stressed that this is NOT a research study.  It is an investigation. It will not prove causality. The HCHU is required to do an investigation when there appears to be a community environmental health issue.  Due to the number of complaints the HCHU is receiving from the community, they believe they must do an investigation. The Health Unit is not making a judgement on wind turbines with the survey. They are only investigating whether there is a potential population health hazard.
On March 3, 2016 Jeanne Melady and Gerry Ryan made a presentation detailing the health effects being experienced by Huron County residents.  Statements of 26 households were displayed on a screen.  There were over 80 people in attendance. It was standing room only. This board meeting is rarely attended by the public.
On March 3, 2016, The Huron County Board of Health voted: “to direct staff to prepare a report regarding the presentation by “Concerned Citizens of Huron County” about concerns of health complaints by Huron County citizens exposed to Industrial Wind Turbines”.

 

Health affected residents to present to Huron County Health Unit March 3rd

aboutus

“Can’t pretend these people don’t exist.”

Lakeshore Advance, February 24, 2016

Thursday, March 3, 2016 @ 9:00 a.m. at 77722 London Rd. in Clinton, ON., Jeanne Melady and Gerry Ryan will be making a presentation at the Huron County Health Unit on industrial wind turbines and the adverse health impacts experienced by Huron County residents. This meeting is open to the public. Please show your support by attending.

 Shaun Gregory from the Huron Expositor wrote an article in November 2015 entitled,“Residents say some children are allegedly receiving nosebleeds from wind turbines.” The article detailed a meeting between the wind company and the community in the St. Columban Wind project.  It was standing room only as thetestimonials from 14 households were read aloud and projected onto a screen. 

 In response, Huron County affected residents have been reaching out to one another and relaying similar experiences and forming informal support groups.  In Huron County, there are 6 Industrial Wind projects consisting of over 300 industrial wind turbines – St. Columban, Kingsbridge 1, K2, Varna Bluewater, Goshen, and Grand Bend. 

What was remarkable about the St. Columban community meeting was that the wind company admitted the health effects reported were common occurrences for most of the wind projects throughout the province.

Even Health Canada, and the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CANwea) have acknowledged that people living in the vicinity of wind turbines, at the distances permitted by the Ontario government, can result in a significant percentage of residents being highly annoyed by audible noise, and in particular low frequency noise – a tonal signal of sharply rising and falling pulses.  This contributes to well-known noise stress effects including: sleep disturbance, psychological distress, headache, tinnitus, ear pressure, dizziness, vertigo, nausea, visual blurring, tachycardia, irritability, problems with concentration and memory, panic, episodes of internal pulsation or quivering when awake or asleep.  In addition, it is recognized that chronic strong annoyance can lead to an increase in disease.

 A letter by the HCHU to a family with seven children under the age of 18, that began experiencing many of the above symptoms when the turbines became operational, was that the HCHU would “stay up to date on the latest evidence” and expressed that it would take many years of better measurements and of the people exposed to determine cause and effect. 

Currently, the health unit has no plans to gather and track health complaints of local residents living within these electrical generation facilities.  There is no mechanism in place to determine the scope and severity of the health problems being experienced by Huron County residents living in close proximity to poorly sited turbines. 

 As a community, it is unacceptable to continue to put our “heads in the sand” and pretend these people do not exist. They are our friends, family and neighbors.Ignoring the health impacts being experienced will only lead to further negative emotions including anger, disappointment, dissatisfaction, withdrawal, helplessness, depression, anxiety, agitation, or exhaustion.

 The presenters will be requesting the formation of a working wind turbine committee to include affected residents living in close proximity to industrial turbines.  The goal being to develop a method to accurately track complaints, produce a study to determine the scope and severity of the problem in Huron County, and to develop solutions.

 For more information, or to connect with health affected residents in your area, please contact: huronwindaction@gmail.com or phone (519) 529-7624.

Please show your support by attending on March 3, 2016 @ 9 am @ the HCHU.

Mike Stachura

Ontario’s broken promises on funding for health care and jobs

Ontario’s nurses are campaigning for more health care dollars. If only they hadn’t believed the government’s promises …

The Truth Hurts

Back in January 2012, the Ontario Nurses Association (ONA) issued its Research Paper # 3. The paper was directed at the provincial government and called for increased health care spending including adding 9,000 registered nurses to the sector.

One of the recommendations in the paper was: “To fulfill the 2009 G20 Pittsburg commitment to put quality jobs at the heart of economic recovery – part of the coordinated G20 stimulus plans to which Canada was a signatory – the Ontario government should work with the federal government to establish job creation targets in various areas. This should include job-intensive green job creation and fully subsidized skills training programs accessible to all unemployed and underemployed workers.”

Disaster for health care

Fast-forward four years: the ONA is running TV ads focusing on nursing layoffs at hospitals and reduced health care funding throughout the province. Layoff notices have been appearing regularly since release of the Research Paper. The ONA’s President, Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN, has been outspoken about the health care cuts as in a February 2016 media release where she says “that 2016 is turning into a ‘disaster’ for patient care and it’s now hitting Toronto hospitals.”

It is ironic that the ONA appeared to support Ontario’s Liberal government in the last election, even giving $100,000 to “Working Families,” the coalition of unions that used union dues to paint the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario as not worthy of election. Almost $2.5 million was spent to accomplish that task. The ONA, whose members pay high union dues, spent $687,000 in total.

Billions lost in cheap power exports

Had the ONA re-considered their recommendation to “include job-intensive green job creation” in Research Paper # 3 and instead examined the fall-out from the Green Energy and Green Economy Act (GEA), they might have taken a different tack.  As I noted in an earlier article, just the cost of Ontario’s net exports of electricity from 2007 to 2015 removed almost $4.5 billion from ratepayer pockets. That $4.5 billion would have gone a long way to ensure both the retention of registered nurses and the hiring of recently graduated RNs.

Believing the Ontario Liberal government promises of job creation with the GEA, and endorsing it, the ONA may have exacerbated the continuing cuts to health care. Many earlier studies out of the EU noted that, rather than creating private sector jobs, renewable power developments actually caused the demise of private sector jobs in ratios as much as five to one.  Tax dollars need to come from the private sector and those jobs promised by the McGuinty-led government were simply a pipe dream.

The ONA may also have been led astray by George Smitherman when he set up a $40-million irrevocable trust to save nursing jobs referred to as the Nurses Retention Fund, but only a very small portion of the fund has actually gone to retain jobs.  While the $40 million is a long way from the $4.5 billion mentioned above, it would appear to have done little to support Registered Nursing jobs, perhaps because of the way it was setup by the former Minister of Health.

The ONA should ask the government to focus on wasted tax dollars both within the health care portfolio and elsewhere, including the Energy Ministry where billions of dollars are being wasted annually.

(C) Parker Gallant

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

EDITOR’S NOTE: Please see a news release on a report issued today by the CD Howe Institute on poor governance in Ontario’s electricity sector. An excerpt: “If a disproportionately large amount is dedicated to unnecessary electricity projects, then that amount is not available to meet other needs such as transportation, schools and hospitals.”

Annoyance not a “disease” power developer witness tells Tribunal

REPORT ON AMHERST ISLAND APPEAL OF WINDLECTRIC PPOWER PROJECT

Location: St John’s Hall, Village of Bath

Tribunal: Mr. Robert Wright & Mr. Justin Duncan

Lawyers for

Appellant:                  Eric Gillespie, Graham Andrews, EKG, LLP

Approval Holder :      John Terry, Torys, LLP

MOECC:                    Andrea Huckins

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

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

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

 

Citizens of Amherst Island for Renewable Energy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Kenneth Mundt 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ontario turbine setback A-OK with wind industry-paid physician

Report on Environmental Review Tribunal Hearing on White Pines Wind Project

December 8

 

On Day 19 the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) of the White Pines wind project heard the testimony of Dr. Robert McCunney, an expert witness for developer WPD.

Robert McCunney, MD, has a Boston clinical practice and is a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.   Funded by the Canadian and American Wind Energy Associations, he headed teams in both 2009 and 2014 that produced status reports such as the recent “Wind Turbines and Health: A Critical Review of the Scientific Literature.”   Though not licensed to practice medicine in Ontario, Dr. McCunney has testified on behalf of the wind industry at other ERT hearings.

The Tribunal qualified Dr. McCunney as “a medical doctor specializing in occupational and environmental medicine, with the particular implications of noise exposure.”

WPD counsel James Wilson asked Dr. McCunney to comment on wind turbine sounds.  He said that noise is characterized by loudness and pitch, low frequency is associated with vibrations, and infrasound is inaudible below 107 db(A).  The last feature also occurs in the natural environment (e.g., wind and waves) and in actions of the human body such as breathing.  Turbine infrasound cannot be distinguished beyond 300m.

Dr. McCunney’s 2014 literature review, based on 162 published papers, concluded that “(1) infrasound sound near wind turbines does not exceed audibility thresholds, (2) epidemiological studies have shown associations between living near wind turbines and annoyance, (3) infrasound and low-frequency sound do not present unique health risks, and (4) annoyance seems more strongly related to individual characteristics than noise from turbines.”   Nothing Dr. McCunney has read since publication changes his opinions.

In cross-examination, APPEC counsel Eric Gillespie established that Dr. McCunney has never treated anyone complaining of turbine-related symptoms or conducted any original field research. Though he lives near a wind turbine, his home is 1500m away.

Mr. Gillespie asked Dr. McCunney to confirm the findings in several studies cited in his literature review that turbine sounds annoyed 7-18 percent of nearby residents.  But Dr. McCunney said this is similar to other environmental noise.  Moreover, he does not accept the concept of “wind turbine syndrome,” in which a number of symptoms are associated with wind turbines and disappear in their absence.

Dr. McCunney was then asked to consider the 2015 Australian Senate inquiry, which received almost 500 worldwide submissions on wind turbine noise.  He said he had not read it, but he was critical of its reliance on a range of unverified reports rather strictly published studies.  He did accept, however, the finding that the “distinction between direct and indirect effects is not helpful.”

Finally, Mr. Gillespie asked at what distance from turbines complaints would cease.  Dr. McCunney expressed confidence in Ontario’s 550m minimum setbacks.

In re-examination WPD’s Wilson asked about sleep anxiety and deprivation, which can lead to serious medical conditions.  Dr. McCunney said no study shows a causal relation between these symptoms and wind turbines.   His 2014 literature review identifies “longitudinal assessments of health pre- and post-installation” and “enhanced measurement techniques to evaluate annoyance”—but not sleep problems—among “further areas of Inquiry.”

Henri Garand, APPEC

Wynne government medical witness not a licensed physician: claims no health effects from wind turbine noise

Dr Cornelia Baines: I've read about this
Dr Cornelia Baines: I’ve read about this

Report on Environmental Review Tribunal Hearing on White Pines Wind Project

November 24

by

Henri Garand, APPEC

On Day Twelve the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) on the White Pines wind project heard Dr. Cornelia Baines, witness for the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC).

After confirming the credentials and lengthy research experience of Dr. Baines, MOECC counsel Sylvia Davis asked her to respond to Dr. Hanning’s observations of bias in her witness statement.  She said that the negative phrases were taken from the papers she had referenced and her focus was on following a good scientific approach in research.  The Tribunal qualified Dr. Baines, MD, as a “physician and epidemiologist with special expertise in design, measurement, and evaluation of research studies.”

Dr.  Baines reviewed the hierarchy of research design from the lowest quality (case series and case reports) to the highest (cohort and randomized control studies).  She said that “compelling evidence” of adverse health effects would require that “complaints are specific to wind turbines,” “symptoms would be more frequent and severe than in the general population,” and a “biologically plausible mechanism” would be identified.
Then Dr. Baines commented on several well-known studies.   She cited Dr. Simon Chapman’s paper on the psychogenic causes of wind turbine complaints and explained placebo and “nocebo” effects.  The latter result when awareness of negative effects increases the likelihood of such reports.  Despite criticisms about demographics and the synthetic circumstances, Dr. Baines defended the Crichton study in which university students were exposed for ten minutes in a laboratory to both real and sham infrasound.  She also praised the Health Canada study for its design, collection of data, and analysis, noting the lack of impact on the “quality of life” of wind project residents.
Under cross-examination by APPEC counsel Eric Gillespie, Dr. Baines conceded that she knows nothing about wind turbine technology though she has read regularly about the health issues.  She also admitted she has not seen patients since the 1980s and is not licensed to practice medicine.
Gillespie asked Dr. Baines to consider the Erickson ERT decision in which the Tribunal accepted that turbines can cause serious harm when placed too close to homes, and the debate over health effects is “one of degree” and does not concern the biological mechanism.  Dr. Baines said she does not agree with the Erickson ERT, which is “a court decision, not a scientific finding.”
The ERT continues on Wednesday, November 25, at 10 a.m. in the Picton Community Centre.
Further note from the APPEC board
In our Friday, November 20 Report on the ERT it was noted that WPD is dropping its appeal of two turbines (T7 and T11) that were disallowed by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC).  However at the end of the hearing today WPD reversed its previous position and is now asking the ERT for an adjournment on this appeal.  James Wilson, counsel for WPD, told the ERT that he may have misspoken or mischaracterized the withdrawal of the section 139 appeal of the two turbines and that his client WPD had only intended to ask for an adjournment.
Wind Concerns Ontario editor’s note: readers will surely connect the testimony of Dr Baines here to earlier appeals in which Dr Sarah Laurie of Australia was not allowed to be termed an “expert witness” because she had let her medical licence expire, yet she is actively involved through the Waubra Foundation in helping people with health effects from wind turbine noise and vibration. Also note the mention of Simon Chapman, also Australian, whose work and opinions were thoroughly discredited by the Australian Select Senate Committee investigating the effects of wind turbines in that country; Mr Chapman was also recently forced to issue an apology for remarks made about Dr Laurie.
In Ontario, however, a formerly licensed medical professional a) qualifies as an expert witness for the government, and b) mentions the work of the discredited Mr Chapman.

Children showing health impacts from St Columban wind turbines, developer told at meeting

“We’ll take it up at our next seminar,” is the corporation’s reponse

Huron Expositor, November 23, 2015

Residents says some children are allegedly receiving nosebleeds from wind turbines

By Shaun Gregory, Huron Expositor

During a community liaison meeting in Seaforth at Huron East’s town hall, an engineer who works on several turbines in St. Columban admitted to the public that most statements made by consultants that residents will “never hear” the large fans are dishonesties.

It was a full community conference with almost every chair filled in the council chambers joined by the HEAT group, Veresen Inc., Huron East council members and a few locals. For all those who came, coffee, donuts and a fruit tray were available free of charge. The voice of the HEAT, Jeanne Melady and Gerry Ryan were front-row ready with pens and paper. The two have been present at three out of the last four Huron East council meeting. They expressed their needs to the political gang numerous times, a primary concern was that HEAT did not know who to call. Today was the day to move forward and be heard by the wind turbine company. At a previous council meeting, Huron East was optimistic and sure several questions would be answered at this function.

Dennis Mueller, a representative for the community liaison committee started the two-hour session by directing questions and complaints from members of 14 households that live near these wind turbines. These inquiries were aimed at Veresen Inc. and the senior engineer. Mueller put all these objections on a screen so the public could view these alleged accusations.

“Personally I was appalled when these reports began to come in as I knew there were health problems but had no idea to this severity,” said Mueller.

“The fact that there are also children being affected by this project, I have a huge problem with that as a parent.”

In the prepared document by Mueller, he pointed at all the specific complaints by the residents. They were presented at the meeting as property numbers from 1-14 with no specific names attached to them. Their main concerns and questions were as followed:

Property #1

“I would like to know why my bed trembles or lightly vibrates. The nights of the storm were particularly noticeable. I always sleep with my bedroom window open but can’t anymore.”

Property #2

“Noise from turbines were very loud last night (Oct.31) but have got to the point that no one will follow up. We run a fan all night to drown out the noise. As soon as my head touches the pillow I can hear the noise and feel the vibration.”

Property #3

“Our concerns are noise-night time mainly. Going to sleep we hear a constant swoosh. The instances where the weather, temperature, & wind are in a perfect combo causes them to be very loud-enough to wake you from a sleep.”

Property #4

”I have called the proponent three times now regarding turbine noise and have not been called back once. I have also called the MOECC at least three times and nothing has changed with regard to noise, nor has anyone came out to my home.”

Property #5

“On the morning of Sept 25, two kids were affected, one could not think properly and follow basic duties without constant confusion & the other woke up with a very bad headache – the turbine is the closest to the room these two children sleep in.”

Property #6

“I suffer from sleeplessness from the turbines and find them very loud. It was particularly bad September 25-27. If the turbines are loud and I can hear them from inside the house, my cat now will refuse to go outside the door. That was never a problem before.”

Property #7

“We hear them every day. We have two adults and two children living in our home. Noise affects us both during the day and at night. Shadow flicker from the blades as well as the blinking red lights at night are a problem for us. We can always hear them whether it is windy or calm.”

Property #8

“We definitely hear the turbines and they have interrupted our sleep especially during the summer months as we do not have air conditioning and could not sleep with the windows open. Both occupants of the house are experiencing sleeplessness.”

Property # 9

“It sounds like there’s a train behind our barn. We’re not able to sleep when the window is open, especially during the summer months.”

Property #10

“We are experiencing noise both day and night from the turbines, literally seven days a week. Shadow flicker, nausea, headaches & ringing of the ears are problems we have experienced. The lights are a distraction at night and make us nauseous. Obviously the noise is worse if it is windy.”

Property #11

“We have two adults and three children living in our house. Warm, windy nights seem to be the worst. We experience: sleep disturbance, high blood pressure, nosebleeds, vibration on chest during the night, shadow flicker, headaches and nausea.”

Property #12

“Depending on wind direction, we are affected most early morning (around 3 a.m.). It is loud enough to wake us up, making it very difficult to get a good night’s rest.”

Property #13

“Four to five nights a week our sleep is interrupted. We experience nausea and headaches as well. That was never a problem before.”

Property #14

“Since they began spinning we have had problems ongoing. There are a total of six people living in our home of two adults and four children.”

Ian Bonsma, is one of senior engineers for the turbines that are stationed in St. Columban. He told the public that these issues have been a common occurrence for most of the wind projects throughout the province.

“Every project has complaints, my sort of reasoning or philosophy is turbines that are going into rural areas typically don’t have background levels of 40 decibels. They often have 30 decibels. So you’re going to hear them,” explained Bonsma.

“In 2004 and 2006 there were a number of projects where the consultant said you’ll never hear them, (that’s a) lie.”

The crowd in the seats shouted out an uproar after these comments by Bonsma, the meeting became a back and forth questionnaire between the community and the ones involved with the wind turbines. The inquiries also began to shift towards the people in the crowd. Ryan noticed that Jose Menendez, St. Columban Energy LP’s vice-president was present. The devoted HEAT member turned towards Menendez and asked him why there were noise issues, because Ryan alleged that he said prior to the development of the wind turbines that they would not generate noise.

“I suggest you direct your questions at them,” responded Menendez.

“Why are you here tonight then sir,” Ryan said in a stern tone.

“I’m curious what’s happening in the community,” replied Menendez who was about four chairs away from Ryan.

David Hayles, the operations coordinator for the St. Columban Wind Project clarified to everybody in attendance that these concerns will be reviewed case by case. He said the Ministry of Environment has approved the sound levels, which can only reach a maximum of 40 decibels. If the decibel level goes above those requirements, certain steps will be implemented to either fix the problem or shut the turbines off. To date none have been shut off due to complaints. Last week a sound test was implemented and to the wind company’s knowledge, the levels complied with the legal legislation.

“I want to do my job the best I can, I can’t commit to turning turbines off, that’s way above my pay level, but if there is an issue with a turbine, it’s my job to turn them off,” said Hayles.

This meeting was meant to engage with the community about their concerns pertaining the wind turbines. Hayles said he will bring these findings to his manager’s attention at the next company seminar. The next community liaison meeting is set for the spring of 2016.

All residents in White Pines project area will be affected by noise: top acoustician testimony

Report on Environmental Review Tribunal Hearing on White Pines Wind Project

November 20, 2015

by

 Paula Peel, Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC)

APPEC’s health appeal continued on Day 10 with expert witness Dr. Paul Schomer testifying before the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) on the White Pines wind project.  The remainder of the day was spent making adjustments to the schedule following WPD’s abrupt announcement that it was dropping an appeal of the disallowance of two turbines (T7 and T11) by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC).

Dr. Schomer, a former Standards Director of the Acoustical Society of America with 48 years’ experience in noise measurement, was qualified by the ERT as an expert in acoustics.  He told the Tribunal that all residents in the White Pines project area will be affected by audible and inaudible sound and a number of residents will be seriously affected.  The effects reported by people living near wind projects are similar in nature to the effects experienced by participants in a 1985 University of Toronto study on infrasound.  At lower levels and at higher levels of pure tone some participants experienced nausea and dizziness.  However, when overtones were added at higher levels, participants experienced headaches and fatigue.

Dr. Schomer considers that internationally-accepted noise standards and protocols are being flouted in Ontario.  For example, A-weighting is not supposed to be relied on when sounds have low-frequency content such as those emitted by industrial wind turbines.  Canada is one of the countries that voted for this rule.  He also calls for changes in current Ontario regulations to adjust up to 10 db(A) for wind turbine noise in rural areas.  Other suggested adjustments include up to 3 db(A) for weather conditions and 3 to 4 db(A) for locations downwind of turbines.   Dr. Schomer is highly critical of WPD’s current predicted average sound as it merely indicates that 50% of the time 50% of the residents will be exposed to sound above or below the limit.  The wind industry should be held to a higher level of accountability: db(A) limits should be met 95% of the time.

Dr. Schomer pointed to a very important figure in the Health Canada Report.  Only 1% of people are shown to be highly annoyed at 30 – 35 db(A) sound levels.  However, at 35 – 40 db(A) the number jumps to 40%.  Dr. Schomer sees this as evidence of a community response to wind turbine noise, and that what Health Canada says, what independent acoustic experts say, and what communities say should carry weight in Ontario.

Through experience Dr. Schomer has found that when community responses disagree with the physics, the physics is usually wrong.  This has been confirmed by his involvement in six studies of wind farms, including the 8-turbine Shirley Wind Farm in Wisconsin where three families abandoned their homes and about 60 other people reported adverse health effects.

The ERT continues next week.  Hearings on Monday and Tuesday are in Toronto.  The location of the hearing on Wednesday still needs to be confirmed.  

Doctors say enough evidence of wind farm harm to use Precautionary Principle

Telling the truth, the whole truth
Telling the truth, the whole truth

Report on Environmental Review Tribunal Hearing on White Pines Wind Project‏‎

November 18

by

Paula Peel, Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC)

 
APPEC’s health case proceeded​ on Day 8 with two experts providing evidence to the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) on the White Pines wind project: Dr. Alun Evans and Dr. Robert McMurtry.
 ​
Dr. Evans, Professor Emeritus at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, has studied cardiovascular disease for 30 years.  Dr. Evans told the Tribunal that his involvement in wind turbines is tangential to his interest in noise, sleep disturbance, and cardiovascular disease.  But he has also met many people severely impacted by wind turbine noise.
  
Citing published studies, Dr. Evans explained that the major adverse health effects of wind turbines seem to be due to sleep disturbance and sleep deprivation, mainly from loud noise and low-frequency noise (LFN), particularly infrasound.  Dr. Evans finds the “impulsive, intrusive and incessant nature” of wind turbine noise a particularly troublesome feature that is highly discernible in rural areas.  LFN, which is inaudible, is propagated over long distances and penetrates buildings where it can be amplified by insulation and closed windows.  Dr. Evans noted that sleep deprivation is associated with increased likelihood of developing a range of chronic diseases, including Type 2 diabetes, cancer, coronary heart disease, and heart failure.  His recent systematic literature review  found 18 published studies establishing an association between wind turbine noise and human distress.
  
While agreeing with James Wilson, counsel for WPD, that “human distress” is not a medical term Dr. Evans said that human distress needs to be taken seriously nonetheless.  He also agreed with Wilson that the results of observational studies do not constitute “proof”.   But what is important about these studies is the strength of the associations, which are certainly enough to point to the Precautionary Principle. 
 
Robert McMurtry, MD and Emeritus Professor of Surgery at University of Western Ontario, has studied adverse health effects from industrial wind turbines since 2008.  His public engagement includes   a 2009 Deputation to the Ontario legislature’s Standing Committee on the proposed Green Energy and Green Economy Act; expert witness testimony at the 2011 ERT on the Kent Breeze project; 2011 publication of “Toward a Case Definition of Adverse Health Effects in the Environs of Industrial Wind Turbines”; 2014 publication (with Carmen Krogh) in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine of “Diagnostic criteria for adverse health effects in the environs of wind turbines”; 2014 invited commentary by the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) on the Health Canada Study; 2015 literature review, “Do wind turbines cause adverse health effects?” presented to the Acoustical Society of America; and 2015 Response to “Invitation to Submit” from the Senate of Australia.
When asked by Wilson to confirm statements in the Health Canada Study Dr. McMurtry clarified that he does not accept the findings because of many problems with study design and participation.  Among these are the principal investigator’s ongoing work for the wind industry and evidence of communications between Health Canada and the industry, including disclosure of the study prior to public release.
In contrast, Dr. McMurtry cited Dr. Cooper’s Cape Bridgewater study showing there is an indirect pathway for adverse health effects.  Dr. Cooper visited people’s homes and found that emissions from wind turbines could be detected without hearing them.
 
Dr. McMurtry stressed the fact that no wind farm monitoring has even been done in Ontario.  “It would be possible, as cited since 2006,” he said, “to reduce or eliminate the boundless discourse of dueling experts by conducting appropriate third-party research.”  The MOECC regulations are based upon out-of-date standards that fail to evaluate LFN and infrasound.
Both of today’s health experts emphasized that White Pines would harm a significant number of people. Eric Gillespie noted the importance of APPEC’s witnesses. He told the Tribunal that this is the first time the link has been established at an ERT hearing between wind turbine noise and those who are afflicted.