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1/14/09 How many people will be driven from their homes before we get an Independent Health Study?

“We lost a lot of money on the sale of the house, but it was better to get away from (the turbines),” Ernest says. “We are not against wind power. We were for it. But they shouldn’t be near people.”



Today's Farmer, www.todaysfarmer.ca

Still poised to respond to any renewed efforts by CASA Engineering and Construction to build a wind project in the St. Columban area, Huron East Against Turbines (HEAT) is cynical about a report from the wind industry stating that wind turbines have no adverse effect on human health.

“This study is no big deal and no surprise. We still need an independent health study,” says HEAT member Rob Tetu.

The study — funded by the American Wind Energy Association and the Canadian Wind Energy Association — involved a seven-member international panel that reviewed all current peer-reviewed scientific literature on sound and health effects.

“There is no evidence that the sounds, nor the sub-audible vibrations, emitted by wind turbines have any direct adverse physiological effects on humans,” says a press release released by CanWEA, quoting Dr. Robert J. McCunney, one of the study’s authors.

“We’ve got no peer-reviewed studies. All we’ve got is a bunch of sick people,” responds Tetu, referring to the over 100 people documented by Wind Concerns Ontario to have suffered ill effects from living too close to wind turbines since 2007.

“I have very little faith in a study released by the wind industry,” he says.

Tetu says HEAT’s mandate is to fight the project proposed for the St. Columban area and is preparing a document to send to the province in response to its definition of a “point of reception.”

Clarification needed

He says the definition needs clarification since it’s not yet clear if barns, cabins and trailers will be considered points of reception along with houses.

Tetu says that while HEAT has determined that CASA will be subject to the new setback distances under the new Green Energy Act, the group has not been able to find out if CASA is working at redeveloping its plans from its original setbacks of 450 metres and reapplying to continue with a wind project for the St. Columban area.

The Green Energy Act sets a minimum 550-metre setback for wind turbines for projects of five turbines and under and 750 metres for projects of six to 10 turbines.

“CASA is not communicating with us but they are obligated to make contact with the community if the project is on the go,” says Tetu.

The Green Energy Act did not require an independent epidemiological study to prove that the setbacks stated in the regulations are not harmful to human health, a request made by Huron East council several months ago and a request that was recently made by Grey County council in a resolution approved by Huron East council.

While HEAT has raised $61,000 in the local community to pay for its legal bills, Tetu says HEAT is supporting “in spirit” a legal battle happening in Prince Edward County where farmer Ian Hanna is suing the Ontario government and asking for an independent health study on the effects of industrial wind turbines.

“We can’t support it financially but we can encourage local people to do so. They’re looking for $250,000 to do it — it’s a provincewide project,” says Tetu, adding interested people should access the Wind Concerns Ontario website.

Seaforth residents Ernest and Sharon Marshall say they were “forced off (their) farm in Goderich” after the elderly pair began experiencing health problems, which they believe were linked to living next to wind turbines.

In April 2006, a wind turbine was erected 548 metres from the Marshall’s property. Four turbines surrounded the house, with 11 turbines in total within a two-mile radius, Ernest says.

After that, the couple both began experiencing health issues.

The couple also says the horses they owned at the time started acting strangely after the wind turbines were built.

Ernest says after years of raising horses he’d never seen them act so bizarrely.

In April 2008, after exactly two years of living next to the wind turbines, the Marshalls moved out of the home they’d live in for 30 years and into a house in Seaforth.

“We lost a lot of money on the sale of the house, but it was better to get away from (the turbines),” Ernest says. “We are not against wind power. We were for it. But they shouldn’t be near people.”




Vol. 34, No. 1,

January 2010

North Gower and Richmond residents worried about a proposal for industrial wind turbines near the villages are not reassured by a report on health effects from the noise produced by turbines.

The report, released last month and sponsored by both the Canadian Wind Energy Association and the American Wind Energy Association, is titled Wind Turbine Sound and Health Effects.

The panel of expert reviewers concluded that there is “no evidence that audible or sub-audible sounds emitted by wind turbines have any direct adverse physiological effects.”

It doesn’t sit well with opponents of a proposal to build eight industrial wind turbines more than 600 feet tall in their area.

“We have joined a coalition of 41 citizens‚ groups throughout this province,” says North Gower Wind Action Group chair Gary Chandler in a press release issued by his organization.

“I can tell you that people in Ripley, Essex, Melancthon, Amaranth and on Wolfe Island are saying that the constant noise and vibration from these huge structures is very disturbing,” Chandler alleges. “These reports are real and very worrying for us.”

He asserts that the most recent report is not a true health study, but merely a review of existing reports.

“As far as I can tell, this is just a re-reading of information we had before, nothing new. And certainly, none of the reviewers ever consulted with people who are experiencing the effects from turbine noise, or their family doctors. In our view, this report is a reaction to the just-released book by Dr. Nina Pierpont, The Wind Turbine Syndrome, which is a peer-reviewed account of real experiences.”

He says his group and others continue to ask government to sponsor independent research on the health effects of exposure to industrial wind turbines, and enact a moratorium on industrial wind turbine developments until that research has been completed.

“It just makes sense not to subject more people to this noise until we know the truth,” Chandler adds. “These turbines can be a welcome source of energy, but they should not be located close to people’s homes.”

The North Gower Wind Action Group points to a Dec. 13 report in The Sunday Times of Britain that UK officials covered up warnings that wind turbines generate noise damaging to people’s health for miles near such installations. As a result, hundreds of turbines were erected and allowed to generate higher levels of noise than should be allowed.

NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD: The industry-funed health study focused mainly on homes located a half mile from wind turbines. The latest wind farm approved in Wisconsin has a setback of just 1250 feet from homes.

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