On August 2, 2015, I emailed Ontario’s Premier, Kathleen Wynne who passed my concerns regarding Industrial Wind Turbines onto the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. The following letter was is from Steve Klose, one of the MOECC’s Directors. My response that will be sent via snail mail on Monday, follows it.
Dear Mr. Klose
Thank you for responding to my email and for identifying yourself. I do appreciate that as it is most annoying to get a response letter from an ‘Office of’ vs. an actual person. The content of your response however, leaves something to be desired, such as our reality. I am in the unfortunate position of living in this Industrial Wind Turbine nightmare in rural Ontario, that you, living in the GTA, are protected from.
You say, “Replacing dirty, coal-fired power with cleaner renewable energy sources will reduce greenhouse gas emission, improve air quality and protect our health”. Let’s examine that a little more closely, shall we?
First of all, in Ontario you did NOT replace coal with renewables, you replaced it with natural gas. Refer to http://www.ieso.ca for confirmation of that, pretty much at any point in time. Secondly, please produce evidence that wind energy reduces greenhouse gas emissions. In my research so far, there is no empirical data supporting this statement. As I understand, there is no significant decrease in emissions and there are now claims that turbines actually increase emissions. If you do manage to find some data, please ensure the data is inclusive of the manufacturing and transportation aspects of wind generation such as the one tonne of rare earth minerals mined in China and the approximate 800 metric tonnes of concrete required for each turbine base. As well, I understand that the baseload power generation must be kept at the ready, powering up and down when the wind or sun doesn’t shine. My interpretation of that is that wind and solar actually are dependent upon fossil fuels. I would also request you are able to produce data that shows an improvement in our air quality since coal generation has been shut down in Ontario. I have not been able to find any actual science to support that.
I really must take umbrage with the last part of your sentence where you say you “protect our health”. As I sit in my kitchen responding to your letter, I am experiencing sensations in my body that were not present prior to the turbines being turned on. I have tinnitus, my head feels as though it is in a vice and my stomach is churning, feeling generally unwell along with a number of other atypical sensations. None of these symptoms were present prior to the start up of the turbines. I am not young anymore, I have experienced a great deal in my life and with all that I have gone through I can tell you that I have never had these sensations before. There is no Nocebo effect here sir. These symptoms are extremely disconcerting and have worsened over time. We can’t prove they are occurring as a result of turbines but there are no other variables that can be identified. While we wait for science to catch up with real world experience, we suffer greatly.
You and your government’s continued denial of health issues are one of the more frustrating aspects of our situation. That I supported the Liberal party the majority of my life is also something I struggle with. How can the party I voted in be the key players in destroying the quality of my life? Life is ironic. How can you sit at a desk in Toronto, responsible for making policy decisions with (I assume) no medical qualifications and tell me the negative health effects I am experiencing hundreds of miles away from you are NOT because of Industrial Wind Turbines emissions? My own physician has advised there is “no political will” for change here. So I say, that while your mandate is to protect health, you are definitely NOT committed to protecting my health sir and it galls me that you say you are.
Do you not understand that as the numbers of people negatively affected by turbines continues to grow, the more people are accessing our health care system which is currently facing serious cutbacks? Physicians are ordering tests, sending people to neurologists, etc. and not collecting any data on turbine locations, etc., citing ‘there is no political will’ for change.
In addition, I am requesting that you provide the science you used when you established the setbacks of 550 meters. Word of mouth has it that our government decided on that number, not because science supported it but because there are a lot of 100 acre farms in rural Ontario and if you had decided on 1 km setbacks, there would have been less opportunity to erect turbines given their proximity to people. (Note I am saying people, not “non-participating reactors”) With a 2 km setback, there wouldn’t have been any turbines at all. Since you are committed to keeping abreast of information, you should be aware that elsewhere, Dr.’s are calling for even greater setbacks, e.g. 1,500 meters. http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/doctors-call-for-reductionin-turbine-noise-317947.html.
Given the hundreds, if not thousands of complaints regarding turbines being out of compliance with the 40 decibel noise limits in Ontario, you must be aware that most projects are out of compliance most of the time. I believe I requested the number of complaints you have received? As well, could you please outline for me, the process the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change takes when an operator is found to be out of compliance? What kind of ‘teeth’ do you have to enforce those noise limits? Are you still only measuring noise with an A-weighing classification? What instruments are you using to measure infrasound / low frequency sound? In the upcoming revisions to guidelines for noise that you are developing, do you plan on building them even closer and if so, what rationale are you using for this? I struggle with understanding how you can cite WHO when they have identifying ‘annoyance’ as something that creates a host of illnesses and this government continues to deny the seriousness of the health impacts that are occurring in rural areas.
When it comes to reviewing and amending your ‘requirements as appropriate,’ can you share one example of when you have done this with respect to wind generation?
I fail to understand how you can continue to convince yourself that this is a good thing, when there is so much real world evidence to the contrary. Understand that as you drive home from work or take public transit, please know there are many of us who do the same. The significant difference between us is our diminished health and quality of life which is a direct result of the Liberal government’s flawed Green Energy and Economy Act of 2009 wherein you stripped rural Ontario of our planning rights, making a mockery of democracy. Who knows better than those living in an area, what is good for that area? Those who live hundreds of miles away? Those who have developed energy policies that have put Ontario into a have-not category for the first time in history? I think not.
I might remind you that Bluewater was one of the over 80 communities that declared themselves “Unwilling Hosts” to Industrial Wind Turbines. Madame Premier advised projects would not be built where community support was not present and look how that turned out.
As a servant of the public, I would request you respond in a straightforward and timely manner. While I recognize that I am not at the top of your list of priorities, I am a citizen of Ontario, whom is suffering ill health which began after the introduction of two wind projects around my home. As I wait for the third to begin operating, I (et al) look forward to hearing your response to my questions and concerns.
P.S. Please stop with the ‘dirty’ coal propaganda. Given you are tasked with keeping abreast of developments, I expect that you are aware that the latest coal technology captures nearly all of the carbon dioxide. I would add, hindsight being what it is, accepting the offer by Hydro Quebec for 25 years guaranteed 4 cents a kw would have been a better deal than the nightmare the Liberal government forced upon on us with renewables.
c.c. Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health