Court challenge to wind power in Ontario

Wind power has been (and continues to be) a controversial topic in the North Country. It’s a subject of debate in Ontario too, including a court case in which Prince Edward County land owner Ian Hanna is challenging current regulations governing industrial wind turbines.

The Ottawa Citizen has an interesting article by Lee Greenberg on an informational meeting held in North Gower, Ontario, with an estimated 125 in attendance this past Sunday.

Wolfe Island resident Janet White painted a bleak picture of life among wind turbines. She said corporate wind developers have driven a wedge in the small community between those who oppose the development and those, like her neighbours, who support it and have allowed a company to install three turbines on their property.

White said the Wolfe Island wind turbine developments have created few jobs or other economic benefits for the community as a whole. “We’re not building anything, there’s no legacy here,” she said.

The article goes on to detail how orthopedic surgeon and former medical school dean Dr. Bob McMurtry went from wind power fan to critic.

After spending more than 2,000 hours researching the issue, he concluded that people living within two kilometres of the turbines are in danger of experiencing adverse health effects.

Greenberg has a follow-up article which presents an over-view of Monday’s actual court proceedings. Ontario government lawyer Sara Blake discounted the testimony presented by McMurtry and two other physicians that questioned current safety standards.

Blake said McMurtry expresses opinions in a deposition that he is not qualified to give.

“This is pure advocacy,” she told a three-member panel at Osgoode Hall in Toronto Monday. “He is not an expert … It is the belief of a passionate person.”

Hanna’s attorney Eric Gillespie countered with criticism of how existing regulations were enacted.

(Gillespie took)… issue with the fact that a planning expert — and not a public health expert — reviewed the science on the impacts of turbines.

“On a matter of human health it is not enough to have a land use planner say we considered it,” he said in court.

According the the article, it is unknown when the three-judge panel may issue a ruling on the one-day hearing. Ontario’s Attorney General has also argued for turning the matter over to an environmental tribunal.

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2 Comments on “Court challenge to wind power in Ontario”

  1. JDM says:

    This will continue as long as well intending people don’t listen to common sense.

    The earth’s climate changes. Always has, always will. Man’s activities are sooo small in the scheme of things. We like to think otherwise, but we are smaller than we think.

    Ok. Here’s a few quotes from the above article.

    “We’re not building anything, there’s no legacy here,” she said.

    “people living within two kilometres of the turbines are in danger of experiencing adverse health effects.”

    Man’s best efforts at trying to defy common sense will lead to more of this.

    Answer: Let’s be good stewards of our planet. But let’s not think we are bigger than we are.

    All of our wind turbines will rust-in-place as a legacy to allowing a few well intentioned mis-leaders who think they can cool the earth.

    My usual illustration is how the Aztecs used to cut the hearts out of tens-of-thousands, trying to appease the gods of the volcanos and earthquakes. They didn’t understand the underlying science.

    Well, if we don’t get the underlying science, i.e. the earth periodically gets warmer, then cooler, then warmer, etc. we will be like the Aztecs.

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  2. SGJ says:

    JDM makes two arguments. I definitely agree that ‘science’ isn’t well understood by the public at large, but I feel it is an oversimplification to reduce wind energy’s benefits to “doesn’t cause global warming.”

    All energy production creates waste. In the case of wind turbines, that waste is only created at the very beginning (manufacturing) and the very end (obsolescence) of the turbines life cycle. To have a truly meaningful discussion of waste, it is necessary to compare production waste versus power generated.

    Additionally, it’s important to note that someone, somewhere is going to have to live with a wind turbine to find out if it causes negative health impacts. It doesn’t seem reasonable to undertake a lifetime-long study to calculate the possible impacts of a mechanical technology (not chemical, no combustibles, not radioactive) that is available and useful now.

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