Posted By Rob Gowan, Owen Sound Sun Times
Ontario’s Medical Officer of Health Arlene King doesn’t see any scientific evidence that links wind turbines with adverse health effects.
When contacted yesterday, Ministry of Health and Long- Term Care spokesperson David Jensen said it is King’s position that there is no link between the noise turbines make and adverse health effects people claim to be experiencing, such as severe headaches and joint and muscle aches.
Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Murdoch plans to bring forward a resolution in the provincial legislature Thursday asking for a moratorium on any further wind projects until King determines if there are health risks associated with living near the turbines.
Jensen said steps taken by the Ministry of the Environment to introduce regulations governing how far wind turbines must be located from homes, roadways and property lines, combined with reviews of the scientific literature, are enough to determine that a moratorium is not needed.
“There is no definite scientific evidence to demonstrate a link between the noise and the adverse health effects,” Jensen said.
When asked if this is the medical officer of health’s position, Jensen said “absolutely.”
Wind turbine opponent Lorrie Gillis said yesterday there is ample evidence from “around the world” that the turbines can affect people’s health.
“I wonder if they’ve talked to any of the people who actually live near turbines in Ontario,” Gillis said, reacting to Jensen’s comments. “Because they would tell you that turbines are absolutely not sited safely nor are the new setbacks safe.”
Gillis and other area wind farm opponents held an information meeting in Keady last night to further raise health concerns about industrial turbines.
She said she applauds Murdoch’s resolution, but worries it asks the same people to debate it who “put wind policy in this province ahead of people’s health.
“It shouldn’t be up to the people that are having health difficulties to prove that they are having difficulties. That should be up to the wind companies and the government to prove that there are no difficulties,” Gillis said.
Murdoch said yesterday Jensen’s comments aren’t good enough for him. He wants to hear King herself state that a moratorium is not needed because wind farms do not cause adverse health effects. A call to King’s office yesterday was forwarded to the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care.
“If the doctor will say it then that is what I am trying to get her to say,” Murdoch said yesterday.
“If (King) comes up and says today or tomorrow that in her opinion there are no health effects created by windmills then I guess my resolution is moot,” said Murdoch. “We would probably still debate it because it would be too late to change it, but that is what we want. If she will say it before we force her to say it then fine, that is fine with me.”
Murdoch said if King says wind turbines do not cause adverse health effects then there isn’t much more people who are against the turbines can do to stop them.
Gillis, a Lake Eugenia area resident who organized the meeting last night and a bus trip to help jam the Queen’s Park gallery Thursday, has no doubt about there being health risks associated with industrial wind turbines.
Severe headaches, sleeplessness, tinnitus and joint and muscle aches are among health complaints people living near turbines have reported at information meetings, Gillis said. In severe cases, the symptoms have driven people from their homes.
With such testimonials, along with expert presentations about electrical pollution and health survey results, the meeting at the Keady Community Centre was to follow the same format as a half dozen others Gillis has organized.
The meetings are meant to raise awareness of the downside of industrial wind energy and rally support against them, she said.
Even if Murdoch’s resolution is defeated, Gillis said her group will continue opposing turbines and drawing attention to the associated health hazards.
“We’ve heard enough from enough people to know that there is a problem,” she said. “We’re not going away, because the people who are suffering won’t be going away, and in fact if they move forward we will probably have a great many more people who are having difficulties.”