Searching for truth on the wind power issue

Float at an Ontario fall fair: talk to the people actually living with wind turbines
Float at an Ontario fall fair: talk to the people actually living with wind turbines

Letter to the Editor of Ontario Farmer, September 29, 2015
Ian Cumming’s search for truth about wind turbines attracted my interest. A longtime admirer of his critical thinking skills, his ability to uncover the hidden, and his talent for research, tells me he is onto uncovering the great untruths of industrial wind turbines.
In his article “Looking for truth” of September 15, 2015 [not available online], he presents several truths. However, he makes some grave basic research mistakes. Having spent six years going to meeting[s] to learn about wind turbine issues, informing myself through knowledgeable people, travelling backroads to talk to people living next to turbines, I can tell Mr. Cumming is in the early stages of his research.
In his article, he identifies the most apparent truth of all: energy companies and the farmer/leaseholders are in this purely for the money, read “greed”, with no regard for neighbours or state. Cumming’s area of growth: what is the neighbor of the leaseholder getting out of this arrangement? I question how that farmer is manipulating or ignoring the truth, the truth that 550 meters away, a 170-meter (approximately 525 feet) structure is towering over my home.
…He contradicts himself by telling people to speak the truth and then when they do he calls them hypocritical, through his reference to a meeting beginning with the swooshing sound of a turbine. He suggests that the sound is exaggerated. Interestingly, a day before I read his article, a farmer who lives within 800 meters of two turbines said, “Tom, you won’t believe it. I was standing beside my tractor, engine running and the jet-sounding turbine was louder than theb tractor.”
That was my first-hand research.
Later [in his article], Mr. Cumming presents an inverse error by stating that he heard nothing standing beside a huge windmill in a county in New York. The inverse error: if I am standing beside a turbine, I do not hear any sound, therefore turbines do not make any sounds. My research would ask, how long were you beside that turbine? The people I have talked to who live around the turbines say that wind direction and speed, atmospheric pressure, and time of day all influence the amount and kind of sound. *
Several people have told me the sound is the worst between 3 am and 6 pm when the usual ambient noise is the least. Sound travels the farthest at night–when people are trying to sleep. Mr Cumming was probably not doing his sound research at that time of day.
His concluding example demonstrates that he is a novice wind turbine researcher when he referred to New York veterinarians with multiple problem-free herds next to 28 wind turbines for over a “decade.” My research tells me that 10 years ago, the largest turbine was about .6 to .8 megawatt. The local ones are 2.2 megawatts, newer ones proposed 3 megawatts, over twice the size of the ones 10 years ago!
I suggest that he find several herd with turbines of that magnitude within 55 meters, operated by sleep-deprived farmers and find out the health problems on those farms.
His concluding statement, “Is demanding the truth from either side too much to ask?” is the saddest part of the article.
The Truth: the misguided deceptive Smitherman-McGuinty-Wynne Ministry of the Environment are aware of human health problems, bird and bat killing, infrasound noise, transient voltage, yet they continue to approve new projects, with cost-benefit analysis or regard to local municipal planning. That is the truth.
I encourage Cumming to continue his research for he is good at questioning the right people for the answres he seeks. The easiest place to start: go to a farming community that has wind turbines and talk to as many people as possible who live near them. That is what I did. That research is solid. But remember when researching the truth from the wind companies, 50 years ago we wondered if the truth was that smoking caused cancer. Not possible, said the tobacco corporations.
Tom Melady
Stratford Ontario

  • Editor’s note: the quietest place is right under a turbine.

A note about writer Ian Cumming; he is himself a farmer, not a journalist, who farms in Glengarry County.

What's your reaction?


  • Sommer
    Posted October 4, 2015 10:03 am 0Likes

    Thank you Tom Melady, for respecting the people who must live with the negative impacts!
    One positive outcome of this horrible experience for rural residents is the relationships that are steadily growing based on compassion for the victims.
    In some cases, even family and marriage bonds have been tested and torn apart because of the lack of respect for people who are in serious distress. Dr. Sarah Laurie of the Waubra Foundation has openly called this willingness to ‘turn a blind eye’ to the suffering caused by these turbines and their infrastructure in close proximity “abuse”. Why are so many people willing to tolerate this form of abuse? In their silence on this matter, they are complicit.

    • Barbara
      Posted October 4, 2015 2:10 pm 0Likes

      The number of people who have signed IWT or even ground mounted solar options is unknown. If they break their silence they can be sued.
      Are they complicit then?
      Local councils who sign on to vibrancy funds become part of the IWT constituency.

  • Gord Schneider
    Posted October 4, 2015 3:05 pm 0Likes

    I’ve lived near wind turbines in Alberta and I have done my own moderate research there. Noise is a definite problem. Those windmills also kill wildlife. They are a visual blight on one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. They pit neighbours against one another. As for more serious issues, I can’t really say first hand because I only lived near them for three years……..thank God.

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