Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner absent on wind power environmental problems

House at Belle River: Wind Concerns Ontario asked the ECO for a systemic review of problems with wind turbine noise. No action was taken.

December 1, 2018

Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner or “ECO,” lawyer Dianne Saxe, sent out a Tweet on Friday to say that in spite of the fact her office is being folded into that of the Ombudsman for Ontario, and her own position is disappearing, for the moment, she will continue to monitor for compliance with environmental regulations.

Unless the problems relate to wind power, of course.

On that issue, Ms. Saxe, a former member of the board of directors for Toronto’s Exhibition Place wind turbine, is notably and consistently missing.

In 2016, Wind Concerns Ontario wrote a long, detailed letter to the ECO, after receipt of records of more than 4,000 complaints of excessive noise from wind turbines. In the Master Incident Reports we received — detailed reports prepared by Provincial Officers — there were more than a few reports of adverse health effects being experienced by the people filing complaints with the environment ministry. By our count in the records from 2006 to the end of 2016, 35 percent of the master reports contains explicit mention of adverse health effects. This did NOT include the reports made in the small hours of the night when one might logically conclude that callers were experiencing sleep disturbance.

We wrote to the ECO:

We request that the Environmental Commissioner’s office undertake a full broad review of systemic issues related to the MOECC’s management of the implementation of the Green Energy Act. From our perspective, the documentation shows a complete failure to take accountability for its legislated responsibilities.  At the same time, there is clear evidence that the legislation and rules currently used in relations to wind turbines are not sufficient to protect the health of nearby residents. We hope that you will give a priority to this review as the Ministry is continuing to process approvals for new wind turbine projects based on a set of regulations that are clearly inadequate. 

We also attended a meeting at Queen’s Park in 2016, organized by then Opposition environment critic MPP Lisa Thompson, to present these concerns. The ECO response? Priorities for the office are set well in advance, they only deal with a few things a year. You’re not on the list, have a nice day.

A major concern has always been her pro-wind power bias. I the recent report Making Connections, the ECO addresses the problems of wind turbines and has this response (page 153):

Many reasons have been given for opposing wind farms, including a powerfully held belief that wind turbines are harmful to human health, often because of turbine noise. All of the 46 wind projects appealed to the ERT have used serious harm to human health as one of the grounds for appeal.12 After extensive expert evidence, and having considered numerous studies from around the globe, the ERT has consistently dismissed appeals based on alleged harm to human health. The sole exception was the Fairview wind project in Simcoe County, which was proposed to be located too close to the Collingwood airport, thus affecting aviation safety. The noise impacts of wind on people are controlled through noise limits in the REAs, and through mandatory setbacks established by the Environmental Protection Act.

So, despite the multitude of complaints of excessive noise, vibration/sensation and shadow flicker or strobe effect which clearly indicated a problem that was not being resolved, the ECO maintains that wind turbine operations in Ontario are being properly monitored and that the existing protocols are adequate for protection.

We disagree.

 

 

Comments

Parker Gallant
Reply

Yes, I am in total agreement with this article! Some may recall I noted in an article I wrote two years ago about the Exhibition Place wind turbine and Dianne Saxe: ” TREC have placed a plaque at the base of the turbine with the names of the people who invested in the turbine and have no hope of ever seeing a return on their money. One of the names on the plaque is Dianne Saxe, the current Environmental Commissioner. (It appears supporting industrial-scale wind turbines that kill birds and bats did not deter the Ontario Liberal government from appointing Ms. Saxe as commissioner of the environment.)”
An obvious “conflict of interest” which the ruling Ontario Liberal Party (who appointed the current ECO) turned a blind eye to. Article is here: https://parkergallantenergyperspectivesblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/25/premier-wynnes-mistake-no-real-fixes-ahead/

Richard Mann
Reply

Turbines must be turned off immediately due to known, documented, and on going health harm to citizens living nearby.

On October 28, 2018 I wrote to Christine Elliot, MPP, Minister of Health and Long Term Care, requesting an urgent meeting to address known health harm from Industrial Wind Turbines.
I have not heard back.

The letter and details of my research and advocacy on this issue are on my web page,
https://cs.uwaterloo.ca/~mannr/Wind_Turbines.html

Richard Mann
Associate Professor
School of Computer Science
Faculty of Mathematics
University of Waterloo

Leave a comment

name*

email* (not published)

website