Smitherman Still in Denial, Calls for Health Study Grow

Huron Kinloss Mayor, Mitch Twolan

Huron Kinloss Mayor, Mitch Twolan

Two recent health unit meetings, in Owen Sound and Walkerton, were dominated by people protesting industrial wind turbine development and listing health and other concerns.

Dr. Hazel Lynn, the Grey Bruce regional medical officer of health, supported Murdoch’s call this week, saying there are enough questions now about turbine health hazards to warrant an investigation.

Smitherman spokeswoman says renewable energy part of pledge to get rid of coal-fired plants.  Green energy is the only option for ending Ontario’s reliance on coal plants, a spokeswoman for Energy and Infrastructure Minister George Smitherman said yesterday.

While there may be unanswered health questions related to industrial wind turbines, there’s no doubt about health risks associated with coal burning power plants, Smitherman’s press secretary Amy Tang said.

“We have to remember why we entered into renewable energy in the first place, which was our commitment to get off coal,” she said. “We would argue that coal does contribute to air pollution which has been attributed to a number of complications and quality of life issues.”

Tang was reacting to Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Murdoch’s plan, announced this week, to ask at Queen’s Park for a halt on wind power development in the face of mounting questions about how the turbines affect people living near them. Murdoch will table a resolution Oct. 29 calling for a moratorium on wind power developments until the province’s chief medical officer determines definitively whether turbines cause health problems.

“I wouldn’t want to say that Bill Murdoch doesn’t have the right to put forth this motion. That’s not for me to say. I do know though that the Green Energy Act has advanced to a stage,” Tang said.

But not everyone in Grey-Bruce agrees. Two recent health unit meetings, in Owen Sound and Walkerton, were dominated by people protesting industrial wind turbine development and listing health and other concerns.

Dr. Hazel Lynn, the Grey Bruce regional medical officer of health, supported Murdoch’s call this week, saying there are enough questions now about turbine health hazards to warrant an investigation.

Tang said new provincial regulations for wind turbine projects were drawn up after a thorough environment and natural resources ministry process to establish safe standards. That did away with “a patchwork of municipal bylaws” to establish the same rules everywhere.

“The Green Energy Act clarified and made things easier for Green energy development to take place and take advantage of the jobs that might be created as a result of our pursuit of Green energy,” she said.

“What is our alternative right now other than renewable energy? That would be to keep coal open and that’s a non starter for us.”

“It’s not a bad thing considering what’s happened here in Huron-Kinloss . . . there have been health issues here without a doubt,” Twolan said.

The Ripley Wind Farm is in his municipality, where two families have vacated their homes after becoming ill. The project has been the focus of much of the health concern in this region.

Lynn said this week her staff determined that people living at eight per cent of the 72 homes within a kilometre of that wind project have complained of related health issues.

Twolan said he would like to see a definitive study done that answers once and for all whether there are health effects caused by living too close to wind turbines.

“I hope something will come out of this with some substance. . . one report will say one thing another report will say another thing. As elected politicians it’s up to us to decipher the right from the wrong,” he said.

Twolan knows of about a dozen people who claim to suffer ill effects from living close to the 38 wind turbines recently built and maintained by Suncor- Accione in the Ripley area. For some, he said, the health effects have been severe enough to force about eight people living in five families to leave their homes.

“Bill’s got a point. Let’s get a study done across the whole province. . . some kind of study that could be done that could the be all and end all of studies,” to solve the issues once and for all,” Twolan said.

Twolan said he doesn’t think a call for moratorium would effect future investment or development in wind energy saying since there are plenty of projects that have approval and are just waiting for development of more transmission capacity.

With files from Don Crosby

The Sun Times
www.owensoundsuntimes.com
10 October 2009
http://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2098133
Huron Kinloss Mayor, Mitch Twolan

Huron Kinloss Mayor, Mitch Twolan

Huron-Kinloss Mayor Mitch Twolan supported Murdoch’s call for a moratorium
Don Crosby The Sun Times
Smitherman spokeswoman says renewable energy part of pledge to get rid of coal-fired plants.  Green energy is the only option for ending Ontario’s reliance on coal plants, a spokeswoman for Energy and Infrastructure Minister George Smitherman said yesterday.
While there may be unanswered health questions related to industrial wind turbines, there’s no doubt about health risks associated with coal burning power plants, Smitherman’s press secretary Amy Tang said.
“We have to remember why we entered into renewable energy in the first place, which was our commitment to get off coal,” she said. “We would argue that coal does contribute to air pollution which has been attributed to a number of complications and quality of life issues.”
Tang was reacting to Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Murdoch’s plan, announced this week, to ask at Queen’s Park for a halt on wind power development in the face of mounting questions about how the turbines affect people living near them. Murdoch will table a resolution Oct. 29 calling for a moratorium on wind power developments until the province’s chief medical officer determines definitively whether turbines cause health problems.
“I wouldn’t want to say that Bill Murdoch doesn’t have the right to put forth this motion. That’s not for me to say. I do know though that the Green Energy Act has advanced to a stage,” Tang said.
“People are anxious to implement and embrace Green energy.”
But not everyone in Grey-Bruce agrees. Two recent health unit meetings, in Owen Sound and Walkerton, were dominated by people protesting industrial wind turbine development and listing health and other concerns.
Dr. Hazel Lynn, the Grey Bruce regional medical officer of health, supported Murdoch’s call this week, saying there are enough questions now about turbine health hazards to warrant an investigation.
Tang said new provincial regulations for wind turbine projects were drawn up after a thorough environment and natural resources ministry process to establish safe standards. That did away with “a patchwork of municipal bylaws” to establish the same rules everywhere.
“The Green Energy Act clarified and made things easier for Green energy development to take place and take advantage of the jobs that might be created as a result of our pursuit of Green energy,” she said.
“What is our alternative right now other than renewable energy? That would be to keep coal open and that’s a non starter for us.”
Also yesterday, Huron-Kinloss Mayor Mitch Twolan supported Murdoch’s call for a moratorium.
“It’s not a bad thing considering what’s happened here in Huron-Kinloss . . . there have been health issues here without a doubt,” Twolan said.
The Ripley Wind Farm is in his municipality, where two families have vacated their homes after becoming ill. The project has been the focus of much of the health concern in this region.
Lynn said this week her staff determined that people living at eight per cent of the 72 homes within a kilometre of that wind project have complained of related health issues.
Twolan said he would like to see a definitive study done that answers once and for all whether there are health effects caused by living too close to wind turbines.
“ I hope something will come out of this with some substance. . . one report will say one thing another report will say another thing. As elected politicians it’s up to us to decipher the right from the wrong,” he said.
Twolan knows of about a dozen people who claim to suffer ill effects from living close to the 38 wind turbines recently built and maintained by Suncor- Accione in the Ripley area. For some, he said, the health effects have been severe enough to force about eight people living in five families to leave their homes.
“Bill’s got a point. Let’s get a study done across the whole province. . . some kind of study that could be done that could the be all and end all of studies,” to solve the issues once and for all,” Twolan said.
Twolan said he doesn’t think a call for moratorium would effect future investment or development in wind energy saying since there are plenty of projects that have approval and are just waiting for development of more transmission capacity.