MOECC reps stun audience with views on wind turbine noise

Municipal officials told wind turbine noise no worse than barking dogs, no action planned

MOECC officials actually compared noise emissions from large-scale wind power generators, including harmful low-frequency noise, to barking dogs. A failure to regulate

December 16, 2017

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) position on wind turbine noise is that they don’t pose a health problem.

That’s the conclusion from remarks made by Owen Sound District Manager Rick Chappell and District Supervisor Andrew Barton, speaking to the Multi-Municipal Wind Turbine Working Group in Chesley this past week.

The two MOECC managers said repeatedly indicated that they are just messengers: the MOECC’s Technical Assessment and Standards Branch is responsible for establishing the Ministry’s position on wind turbine noise and providing “advice” to local District staff when they respond to queries.

Bottom line: we don’t believe you

In their presentation and responding to questions from municipal officials in the Multi-Municipal working group, the MOECC officials outlined key elements of the MOECC position on wind turbine noise.

  1. They agree that wind turbines can cause annoyance. Contrary to medical literature, however, they do not use “annoyance” as a medical term denoting stress or distress. They actually compared annoyance caused by barking dogs to residents’ reactions to wind turbine noise. *
  2. The MOECC managers insisted the literature did not demonstrate any direct health effects from wind turbine noise, when asked about health studies and reviews on turbine noise. Despite evidence of indirect health effects raised, the staff comments repeatedly indicate the MOECC is narrowly focused on direct health effects.
  3. The MOECC takes a one-sided view of the Health Canada study which according to these officials only found that there was no link between wind turbine noise and health impacts. This statement ignores the second half of the findings which confirmed a link between reported health effects experienced over 12 months and wind turbine noise. They also do not seem to be aware of the findings released to WCO which indicated that annoyance starts at 35 dBA, not the 40 dBA used in Ontario.
  4. Their view of the Council of Canadian Academies report was similarly selective. They downplayed the key finding of this review which was that there is sufficient evidence to establish a causal relationship between exposure to wind turbine noise and annoyance in the medical sense. Also not mentioned were the issues highlighted about measurements of wind turbine noise using A-weighted tools which fail to capture low frequency components of wind turbine noise. The Council noted that averaging measurements over time does not convey changes in sound pressure levels occurring in short periods.
  5. In terms of low frequency noise and infrasound, the MOECC representatives relied on a statement from Health Canada that levels of these emissions were found to be below levels that would expect to result in harm to human health. When questioned, however, they were not able to quantify what the MOECC considered “safe” levels of infrasound, or when the MOECC would be acquiring equipment that is capable of measuring emissions at frequencies below 20 Hz.
  6. Members of the Working Group countered by referring to research that conflicted with the MOECC statements. The response from Chappell and Barton was that the Technical Assessment and Standards Development branch reviews emerging research, but limits its assessments to peer-reviewed articles in “respected” journals.
  7. In the MOECC presentation, staff said the 2016 Glasgow International Wind Turbine Noise Conference supported their position on infrasound and health effects. This prompted the Technical Advisor to the group — who actually attended the conference — to inform them that he sent 14 papers presented at this conference to the Ministry, because the conclusions do not support the Ministry’s position.
  8. Chappell and Barton did not seem to be aware of the work of Dr. Neil Kelly at NASA in the mid-1970s on low frequency noise and infrasound from wind turbines, even though it was published in respected peer-reviewed journals and presented at U.S. wind industry conferences.
  9. Residents affected by wind turbine noise were present in the audience. One from Grey Highlands asked when the Ministry was going to respond to the noise assessments at his home that had been provided to the Ministry. No response timeline was provided. Another asked for the position of the MOECC on people who had to move from their homes because of the impact of the noise from nearby wind turbines. The response was that the MOECC has no position except to repeat that there is no direct link between wind turbine noise and health issues.

Members of the Multi-Municipal Wind Turbine Working Group did not appear to be satisfied with the answers provided by the Ministry officials; several follow-up activities are planned.

MOECC failing as regulator: WCO

Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson says these remarks are either a sign of “stunning ignorance, or a calculated policy by the MOECC to ignore and even demean what is happening to people in Ontario.”

Wilson, a Registered Nurse, says there is a great deal of evidence in the health literature about the range of noise emissions produced by large-scale wind turbines, and growing international concern about adverse health effects.

“Of course there are health effects,” Wilson said. “That’s why we have setbacks between turbines and homes in the first place. This Ministry refuses to acknowledge it has a problem and take appropriate action — it is failing the people of Ontario as a regulator.”

MOECC managers Rick Chappell (4th from left), Andrew Barton at December 14th meeting: their answers didn’t satisfy the committee [Photo: Wind Concerns Ontario]

*CanWEA in a 2011 news release acknowledged that a percentage of people can be annoyed by wind turbines, and the trade association said that when annoyance has a significant impact on quality of life, “it is important that they consult their doctor. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also describes noise-induced annoyance in legislation as a situation that “can have major consequences, primarily to one’s health.”

Comments

Mike Jankowski
Reply

Jane has stated my position regarding these two from the MoE&CC and the standards branch: “these remarks are either a sign of “stunning ignorance, or a calculated policy by the MOECC to ignore and even demean what is happening to people in Ontario.”

Well stated Jane! The MoE&CC would state WTN is like a barking dog because thats all their standards look for. I have no kind words for this from the MoE&CC.

Andre Lauzon
Reply

It has to be “stunning ignorance” and it filters down from the top. The entire dept. is corrupt.

Sommer
Reply

It’s very good that people are seeing what those who have been/are being harmed have been dealing with all along from the MOECC. We need meetings like this in the future to be recorded and put into the public domain, so that everyone in this province can see for themselves the level of ignorance people being harmed are dealing with. We all have a right to know why papers, such as the Max Planck research on impacts on the brain (neocortex) from infrasound has been sloughed off by the MOECC’s Technical Standards and Assessment Branch. People experiencing harm need to know exactly why the findings of Dr. Neil Kelly were ignored. We need to know who made that decision. All of this must come out into the open NOW.

Bob Haynes
Reply

Perhaps several members from the MoE&CC (or even some of our provincial politicians) should be encouraged to “bunk in” for a couple of months with noise plaintiffs owning homes adjacent to IWT’s. Pretty sure a barking dog would subsequently seem trivial.

Francis
Reply

“The two MOECC managers said repeatedly indicated that they are just messengers: the MOECC’s Technical Assessment and Standards Branch is responsible for establishing the Ministry’s position on wind turbine noise and providing “advice” to local District staff when they respond to queries.”
Having been a member of the federal public service for 30 years, 15 of those as a senior manager, I have no doubt that this statement was made (repeatedly) to let you know that their position was dictated from the top, i.e. under direction from the politicians.

Sommer
Reply

So, is the next step is to meet face to face with the people within the MOECC’s Technical Assessment and Standards Branch? Rick Chappell needs to be asked to arrange for that meeting to happen as soon as possible.The meeting needs to be videotaped and made available, in the public domain, so that people throughout the province, the country and the world can see how these people justify continuing the harm.

Karen Breitbach
Reply

BARKING DOGS! SERIOUSLY?? Hello MOECC take note that in the case of barking dogs that are an annoyance the municipalities are ALLOWED to issue noise nuisance regulations that do not require a phalanx of expensive testing experts to ascertain the level of all of this barking that is disturbing people’s night rest. MOECC you are barking up the wrong tree with this comparison. Admittedly it is one level up from the “quiet” refrigerator spewed out by the wind corps. Sorry folks if this rubs anyone the wrong way, but I am surrounded by some 50 of these environmental wonders and just cannot take this nonsense from the MOECC seriously any longer, but do thank those who will have helped the MOECC hoist on its own petard!

Barbara
Reply

Ontario Health Promotion E-Bulletin, c. March, 2007

Re: Coalition building.

‘Editorial on Climate Change and Health Promotion’

http://www.ohpe.ca/node/8437

Barbara
Reply

WWF Canada, Feb.24, 2009

Re: The ‘Green Energy Act Alliance’ coalition.

“Green Energy Act: First in North America”

http://www.wwf.ca/newsroom/?2660

Notinduttondunwich
Reply

Example…… maybe MOECC should take some notes…

“No owner of a dog shall permit or cause the dog to cry or bark in a manner which disturbs the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort or convenience of the neighbourhood or of persons in the vicinity of the place where the dog is kept.” 

In order for barking to be in violation of the bylaw it must be: (1) frequent and persistent; and, (2) disturb the neighbourhood (more than one household). 

Excessive barking does not have a specific definition. There is no time duration or specific times of the day that automatically defines prohibited barking, and each case is dealt with individually. However, owners who allow their dogs to bark frequently and persistently or bark during the night are likely to be in violation of Animal Control bylaws. 

What do I do if there is a serious barking problem in my neighbourhood?Talk to Your NeighbourIf possible, approach your neighbour and tactfully discuss the problem with them. Believe it or not, many people do not realize that their dog barks when they are not home or that it disturbs their neighbours. Many dog owners react well to such friendly approaches and are able to find a solution without an official visit by a Bylaw Enforcement Officer.Contact Animal ControlIf no results are achieved by your friendly visit or you choose not to make contact with the dog owner, call the Animal Control Officer for you area. Be prepared to leave a voicemail message with name, address and phone number as well as the address of the barking dog, its recent barking history, description of the dog and name of the owners if known. 

The Animal Control Officer will make contact with the dog owner and advise them a complaint has been made. The complainant’s identity is kept confidential, they will only be referred as, “the complainant.” The Officer uses this opportunity to first confirm that the complainant has identified the correct source of the barking and to educate and inform the dog owner about barking regulations. 

The Officer will provide the dog owner with possible causes and solutions in efforts to assist the dog owner to correct the problem. The Officer will also ensure the dog is currently licensed and forewarn the dog owner that the complainant will be counselled to keep a Barking Log if they are further disturbed. 

Approximately 90% of barking complaints are resolved after the Officer’s initial visit. Some 8% of complaints require multiple visits – the Officer often requires Barking Logs at this point to convince a dog owner that a violation is occurring. One or two percent of complaints result in fines or injunctions.If Barking ContinuesIf the barking continues unabated and the dog owner is obviously doing nothing to resolve the situation the complainant will be directed to complete a Barking Log (see below for details). The Animal Control Officer will likely issue a Warning Notice to the dog owner if the Officer is satisfied a disturbance is occurring. 

If barking still continues the Animal Control Officer will, in most cases, need to identify a second complainant willing to corroborate the disturbances. The original complainant may already know of someone in the neighbourhood willing to come forward, if not, the Animal Control Officer will conduct a door to door canvass of the neighbourhood to determine the validity of the complainant’s allegations. If the canvass confirms a violation has occurred a Final Warning Notice will likely be issued to the dog owner. The dog owner will be directed to rectify the problem immediately and advised of pending penalties. 

If disturbances continue the complainant and other concerned neighbours must keep very detailed Barking Logs and use other means of documenting the disturbances (audio recordings, photographs, video tape). The Animal Control Officer will review evidence presented and where warranted issue fines to the dog owner. If the dog owner disputes the tickets, witnesses will be subpoenaed to court to provide testimony.Barking LogThe Barking Log is to be used by persons who have recently reported a barking dog to the Animal Control Officer. The Officer has spoken to the dog owner about the disturbance, but there appears to have been no change and the dog continues to bark as before. 

Once given direction to keep a Barking Log, be sure to follow all of the specific instructions on the form. When three days of significant barking has been recorded in any 10-day period, call the Animal Control Officer as soon as possible so they can review the log and take steps to resolve the matter while it is still fresh. Contact phone numbers are on the bottom of the Barking Log form. 

Do NOT complete a Barking Log prior to contacting an Animal Control Officer and receiving direction to do so. Barking Logs completed without direction to do so will not be accepted.Barking LogFill out our Interactive Form and email it to our office. *Please note that the form may not be fillable in Firefox 19.0 and higher.Interactive Barking LogPersons who keep Barking Logs must be 100% truthful when documenting disturbances and not exaggerate or embellish facts. 

A Barking Log that consists of numerous entries detailing exact times, durations and observations will provide the Officer with a powerful tool to work with. 

A Barking Log that consists of a few general statements and approximate times is unlikely to convince the Animal Control Officer, the dog owner or a Judge. 

Most important: have patience and be consistent.

E Barry
Reply

Good analogy. and research.
This whole system is a crime being perpetrated on country folk who don’t have any power to resist; the walk-aways from people’s affected homes tell the true story of the turbines’ effect on people’s bodies.
Our government has betrayed us and sold us down the river. For pennies on the dollar. Where can we turn?

whooper
Reply

infuriating! total and complete betrayal!

Mike Jankowski
Reply

When the WT blade passes the tower, it creates a disturbance in the form of compression of air. The compression of air is a strong fluctuation in barometric pressure which is both theoretically predictable and measurable in the infrasonic noise range, typically the fundamental at approx. 0.7 Hz with harmonic frequencies at multiples of the fundamental frequency.

This infrasonic pulse propagates up and down wind via spinning modes. It normally passes up above homes with very little impact, but several factors, including wind sheer height, humidity, air temperature relative to ground, etc. can cause it to interact directly with homes, perhaps not right next to the turbine, but further away, even 8.4 km away. The impact zone varies horizontally by wind direction and vertically (or distance) by these other factors.

We know from studies authored by NASA [Hubbard and Shepherd – Wind Turbine Acoustics – 1990] and others that the home and the person is also a variable to consider in determining whether a person will have a negative health reaction as a result of exposure to wind turbine infrasound; the rigidity of the materials used to construct the home and the size and shape of rooms. (Standing waves can cause amplification inside a home [Bill Palmer – How Abandoned Homes Help Understand… 2014]

I have measured wind turbine infrasound from 0.74 Hz to 19 Hz in my home on a day I could not sense it.

Infrasound, especially bearing such characteristics is known to be harmful. [Dr. Maria Alves-Perreira, Steven Cooper and others]

Yet, in Ontario, our MoE&CC continues to give all infrasound a free pass and does not consider any of the variables above. Despite it being proven ineffective, they continue to apply A Weighting to their noise measurements and try to represent all noise with one number.

I’ve personally had discussion with the Director of the MoE&CC Standards Branch. He admitted to me that “we have seen the science diverging” since their search of literature in 2010 which they used as a base to exempt infrasound from “protections”. (Or was it the letter from the CEO of Vestas stating that if infrasound was regulated that they would not be profitable??)

Add to this the thousands of problem reports from residents such as myself that wind turbine noise has made them ill. (Such as myself and family.)

An expert in measuring wind turbine infrasound will tell you that humankind has never been exposed to a noise source like a large wind turbine. Even a jet does not produce infrasound so low and pulsating.

The fact that the MoE&CC crafted rules, standards and procedures which allow all this to happen, that the variables previously proven to determine health impacts are also excluded from scrutiny are testaments to the fact that our MoE&CC, who is paid by our tax dollars, is at least complicit in this offense against people and it looks like probably more.

With each passing day that the “authority” continues to allow this, my opinion moves toward them being more than complicit – rather abetting. I have approached them at all levels with real data and an open mind, hoping to work together. My professionalism was met with evasiveness and ignorance.

Sommer
Reply

THE NUREMBERG CODE
1. The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential.
This means that the person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be
so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, over-reaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved, as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision. This latter element requires that, before the acceptance of an affirmative decision by the experimental subject, there should be made known to him the nature, duration, and purpose of the experiment; the method and means by which it is to be conducted; all inconveniences and hazards reasonably to be expected; and the effects upon his health or person, which may possibly come from his participation in the experiment.
The duty and responsibility for ascertaining the quality of the consent rests upon each individual who initiates, directs or engages in the experiment. It is a personal duty and responsibility which may not be delegated to another with impunity.
2. The experiment should be such as to yield fruitful results for the good of society, unprocurable by other methods or means of study, and not random and unnecessary in nature.
3. The experiment should be so designed and based on the results of animal experimentation and a knowledge of the natural history of the disease or other problem under study, that the anticipated results will justify the performance of the experiment.
4. The experiment should be so conducted as to avoid all unnecessary physical and mental suffering and injury.
5. No experiment should be conducted, where there is an a priori reason to believe that death or disabling injury will occur; except, perhaps, in those experiments where the experimental physicians also serve as subjects.
6. The degree of risk to be taken should never exceed that determined by the humanitarian importance of the problem to be solved by the experiment.
7. Proper preparations should be made and adequate facilities provided to protect the experimental subject against even remote possibilities of injury, disability, or death.
8. The experiment should be conducted only by scientifically qualified persons. The highest degree of skill and care should be required through all stages of the experiment of those who conduct or engage in the experiment.
9. During the course of the experiment, the human subject should be at liberty to bring the experiment to an end, if he has reached the physical or mental state, where continuation of the experiment seemed to him to be impossible.
10. During the course of the experiment, the scientist in charge must be prepared to terminate the experiment at any stage, if he has probable cause to believe, in the exercise of the good faith, superior skill and careful judgement required of him, that a continuation of the experiment is likely to result in injury, disability, or death to the experimental subject.
[“Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals under Control Council Law No. 10”, Vol. 2, pp. 181-182. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1949.]

Wind Concerns Ontario
Reply

An Ontario court (Drennan) dismissed the idea of rural residents as victims in an “experiment.” The judge said, he didn’t want to hear this brought up again — the government was elected by the people and the government has decided to run this wind power program.

Sommer
Reply

So does this mean that we can access the actual proof from the MOECC that industrial scale wind is backed by scientific evidence that no one will be harmed from noise, low frequency noise modulations, infrasound radiation and extreme fluctuations in harmonics due to grid instability issues?
Is this what the judge implied in your assessment?

Stan Thayer
Reply

Hmmmmmm.
Judges are paid with taxpayer dollars.
MOECC operates with taxpayer dollars.
Both are annointed by the government.
Hmmmmmm

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