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.

Comments

Lynda
Reply

She’s not a licensed physician but I bet she is a licensed Liberal! How can the government get away with trying to pass off these “witnesses’ as credible? It’s incredible that they assume we Ontarians are so bloody stupid that we won’t notice. The devill is always in the details!

ScepticalGord
Reply

Baines, Chapman, seriously?

The MOECC is really scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to the credibility of their witnesses / references.

Will the ERT find a way to ignore this farcical testimony when it comes time to pass judgment, or will the ruling be the same old “there’s no proof that wind turbines cause serious harm to human health”?

Mike Jankowski
Reply

The MoE&CC continues to view this issue from the wrong end of the spectrum, perhaps intentionally.

We have what is obviously an emerging issue. It has been emerging too long because we have a bunch of “followers” only reviewing existing works, not capable of creating new works.

What we need is people who are capable of creating the standards the “followers” follow, a group of troubleshooters who would form the bases of a true multi-disciplined epidemiological Study. One that specifically looks into what people have reported and as such, does not disqualify the very people submitting problem reports!

Dr. Baines can fulfill a useful purpose, but is certainly not the type of reosurce which could prove or disprove the reports of people suffering around Wind Farms.

The fact the MoE&CC selected and is paying a person of her skillsets is further proof they are not only failing in their mandate to protect people, but further that they are not even directing their efforts sincerely at fulfilling their mandate. In fact, they are directly their efforts and our tax resources at hiding the suffering.

This is the wrong approach and the MoE&CC knows it. Help your fellow people as you are paid to do. We are not making these things up.

Gord Schneider
Reply

What a sham from a government whose ministers should probably be all in jail. I can imagine the outcry if this were foisted on the GTA. This whole thing is an absolute travesty.

Lynda
Reply

You can say that again and again and again. Isn’t it a shame we can’t seem to do anything about it. Perhaps we should all don berets and make a fist….or at least move the tractors and bailers in like the truckers do when the gas prices go sky high.

Sommer
Reply

I do think its time to make a highly visible public statement at Queen’s Park…something more than just a brief display.

The report of this woman’s statement is absolutely distressing. I sincerely hope reading this does not cause people to despair.This comes at a time when victims here in Huron County are experiencing some of the worst sounds and effects from infrasound ever, because of the atmospheric conditions and wind speeds and the fact that the crops are off and the leaves have fallen and people are inside their homes most of the day.

Mike Jankowski
Reply

Hi Sommer,

I agree on all counts. The emissions in our home were the worst Oct. 29, had been significant 8 days around that and again very prominent a week after. (Wind direction being one variable, operating mode another.)

I try to remain focused on health and mostly ignoring the noise emissions, but observing them enough to note when they are present.

Focused on writing letters these days.

Keep up the good work, positive attitude and good health,
Mike

Barbara
Reply

Had a conversation with a PhD bio-medical researcher who is aware of the IWT “noise” issues but was under the impression that IWTs were being shut down when they cause “noise” issues.

Information is getting through to those who work with health issues.

Mike Jankowski
Reply

That is great to hear. I trust you enlightened the person as to who is monitoring them (no one adequately) what percentage of the time (Not enough) from what directions and according to what criteria? (Rejecting all Infrasound and severely attenuating Low Frequency noise.

We need them on board. Thanks.

Barbara
Reply

This scientist brought up the subject matter to me. Then the “noise” issue was discussed and backed up by an engineer who was also present.

Mike Jankowski
Reply

Fine company!

Thanks.

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