Can you believe it. Someone in the MOECC’s office had the task of responding to my concerns. (I wonder what they did to deserve that!) In any case, the following our recent email exchange…..beginning with Helen’s letter to me and followed by my response.
SENT ON BEHALF OF STEVE KLOSE, DIRECTOR
Dear Ms. Kellar:
Thank you for your fax dated October 5, 2015 sent in response to my letter to you dated September 24, 2015.
In your letter, you expressed interest in obtaining information on Ontario’s air quality. Through this website, http://www.airqualityontario.com/, you can obtain annual reports on air quality in Ontario, information on the air quality health index and real time data from air monitoring stations.
You also asked about the science used to establish the 550 meter setback for wind turbines. Government regulations and policies are typically not formed based on the result of one single study, rather, a body of literature is considered during the regulatory development process. As such, there is no one single study that can be referenced as being the key information source for the development of the renewable energy regulation.
The ministry continues to track science and research, such as papers from the recent Wind Turbine Noise Conference held in April 2015, the Health Canada Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study and the Council of Canadian Academies recent paper on Wind Turbine Noise: Understanding the Evidence.
As you may be aware, a number of divisions from across the ministry play a role in the renewable energy process. The Standards Development Branch conducts ongoing technical reviews of scientific and jurisdictional literature, including noise related to wind turbines. The Operations Division is responsible for the delivery of the renewable energy program including the technical review of renewable energy applications and posting of proposals for public consultation. MOECC District offices ensure compliance to our standards (e.g. addressing noise complaints) and corresponding with the public and project developers on site specific issues.
You also asked about recent proposals the ministry has sought input on related to renewable energy. On September 16, 2015 the ministry posted two proposals to the Environmental Registry, Proposed Amendments to O. Reg. 359/09 Renewable Energy Approvals under Part V.0.1 of the Act (EBR 012-4493) and to the Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms (EBR 012-4601). At this stage, the Ministry has not made a decision to move forward with these proposals. Once a decision is made, the Ministry will post a notice on the Environmental Registry, describing the decision and how public input was considered.
I trust you will continue working with your doctor regarding the symptoms you have been experiencing.
Thank you once again for bringing your concerns to my attention.
Dear Ms. Kolitsopoulos / Steve Klose, Director:
Thanks for getting back to me. I am not sure what your role is within the Ministry or why you have the saddled with the task of responding to my concerns but I genuinely appreciate getting a response, such as it was.
You began by providing a link that I was unfortunately unable to decipher much from, given my lack of education with chemical pollutants stood second only to my patience level in attempting to find the answer to my question. Just to be clear, I didn’t ‘mention air quality’, rather the ask was for you to:
“produce data that shows an improvement in out air quality since coal generation has ben shut down”.
Frankly, I felt I was given the proverbial run around. As such and simply put, I have yet to be directed to something that specifically states there is an increase in air quality in Ontario since coal generation ceased.
I would hope and can certainly appreciate that the process for determining regulations and policies consider more than one single study, as you pointed out. Specifically with respect to the setbacks, however, you have provided me with nothing.
All the studies point to more studies. Nice way of covering one’s behind, don’t you think?
You mention “The Standards Development Branch conducts ongoing technical reviews of scientific and jurisdictional literature, including noise related to wind turbines.” To plagiarize and paraphrase a fellow wind opponent:
‘The Standards Branch has no evaluation criteria to even assess the quality of peer reviewed reports provided to the Ontario government about wind turbines. It is also clear from the federal side that there are no standards for wind turbines even though the REDA (Radiation Emitting Devices Act ) has created limitations for things such as the use of tanning beds by setting standards in 2014. Indeed, the Standards Branch are uninterested in actual experiences of people. They have no means to handle emerging issues and no recommendations as to how the very people they are mandated to protect could get their experiences onto the MOECC’s radar. So despite being informed for years and while they continue to review science, people continue to be hurt. This wreaks of not only failure to execute their mandate and obsolescence, but perhaps complicity.’
Thanks for explaining how the Operational Branch ensures that things run smoothly that wind developers follow a process outlined by the Green Energy and Economy Act of 2009, a completely draconian, embarrassing and flawed piece of legislation that made a mockery of democracy and will forever leave a black mark on Ontario.
Most of us are aware now that the District Offices are to ‘ensure compliance’ re: noise complaints. What we are unaware of however is how that happens. So, not to be too repetitive but the specific ask is:
•What is the number of complaints you have received?
•What is the process the MOECC 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?
A few other questions that I had asked in my previous correspondence that I would appreciate a response to:
“When it comes to reviewing and amending your ‘requirements as appropriate,’ (the ask was) can you share one example of when you have done this with respect to wind generation?
And (paraphrasing) the ask is:
•Do you believe that people who live hundreds of miles away from an affected area where turbines are being built, should be in the position to decide where they will be built and if so, why are you in a better position to do so?
You also directed me to the government’s website outlining the the changes to guidelines. Although I am not computer illiterate, I could not locate the information I looked for by using the search engine, leaving me once again with the feeling that I have been given the bum’s rush. So simply put, the ask is:
•Do the new guidelines suggest or recommend that there be less than a 550 meter setback for Industrial Wind Turbines from the closest receptor, either participating or non-participating (aka people).
While you continue to ‘track science and research’ you may have noticed the rest of the world is having considerable challenges with Industrial Wind Turbines. You also might reviewed the recent Australian Senate Committee Hearings in which over 500 submissions were provided world wide. Their findings were quite interesting. You might also have noticed that the UK is recognizing the absolute financial disaster IWT’s have created and are back paddling furiously with their subsidies.
You are likely be aware of the fiasco currently occurring in the FIFTH appeal at Ostrander Point where the Ministry in charge of the Environment is fighting to put turbines into what is deemed world wide as an Important Bird Area? That alone boggles the mind. That we continue to pay for both sides, the MOECC lawyers, the Attorney Generals and our own is unbelievable. The information coming forward now which could only be gleaned through the Freedom of Information Act continues to show the truly incestuous relationship between the MOECC and wind developers. Given all that has occurred, I have little faith left in the integrity and credibility of any studies done in either Ontario or Canada for that matter. I am relatively certain that eventually, all of the subterfuge and corruption that has occurred will come to light. Which reminds me, any ideas on when the actual data is going to be released for the Health Canada study? No, I suppose not.
Regretfully living this nightmare while you and your coworkers continue to draw salaries paid for by us galls Rural Ontario to no end. Then again, we can always hope that someone in this government will have the cojones to come forward and identify this farce for what it truly is – an absolute atrocity against the citizens of province of Ontario.
If my Dad were alive, I could hear his voice right about now….’Don’t piss on my back and tell me it’s raining’. You might not appreciate my response to your letter. I can assure you however that it echoes much of rural Ontario’s position and our usual Canadian politeness and civility is in serious disrepair. Case in point, your Environmental Review Tribunal has a new moniker, Express Route for Turbines. What a legacy you have left.
So how about we try this again. I request you answer my questions, outlined in red, directly and if you have supporting links that support your answer, provide them please.
I appreciate you may very well be genuine in your suggestion for me to keep seeing my physician. I intend to, as does my partner who is suffering with what may now be permanent eye damage which has occurred for no discernible reason after the turbines began. Until the government understands and supports change with this nightmare, there is unfortunately, little our health care professions can do other than attempt to provide some symptom relief through medications and recommend that we move. If history is our teacher, those who have had to resort to doing this world wide, have not given up. We will not either.
Ontario Taxpayer (and payer and payer and payer)
cc anyone who wants to take the time to read this