Kingston Whig-Standard, 11 January 2010
In a recent article on the wind turbine debate, Ontario Environment Minister John Gerretsen used the worn-out term “NIMBY” in reference to opposition to wind turbines.
This comment is unbecoming of the minister, and to characterize those concerned about health as NIMBYs is discriminatory. It stereotypes residents concerned about the serious consequences of industrial-scale wind turbines.
Gerretsen has been well advised about the adverse health effects of wind turbines, and one would think he would express deep concern rather than discredit legitimate concerns.
It is apparent there are many problems with renewable energy policy worldwide, and that information is being suppressed. For example:
The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario said in his 2007-2008 annual report regarding environmental assessments that “the Ministry of the Environment is not adequately meeting its vital procedural oversight role” and that “the EA process retains little credibility with those members of the public who have had to tangle with its complexities.”
The United Kingdom’s Times newspaper reported on a scandal in which civil servants “suppressed warnings that wind turbines can generate noise damaging people’s health for several square miles around.”
The New York Times reported on investigations of corruption regarding wind energy and said, “Authorities say it is impossible to quantify the level of fraud in public spending on wind energy because investigations are scattered across different countries among the regional and fiscal police.” The Times also noted that the wind industry has been given a “pass” politically. This is true in Ontario.
In France, a legal decision ordered wind turbines shut down overnight due to sleep disturbance, and it has been reported that the Japanese government plans to conduct a four year health study as a result of reported adverse health effects that residents have named “wind turbine disease.”
Here in Ontario, a legal action has been filed for judicial review of the Green Energy Act based on the precautionary principle as it applies to industrial wind turbines. The application claims there is more than sufficient scientific uncertainty to allow Ontario’s courts to strike down key portions of the legislation until proper health studies have been carried out.
While the Canadian Wind Energy Association, the registered lobby group for the wind industry, and the Government of Ontario deny the health risks, victims and concerned families request that they stop building wind turbines until authoritative third-party health studies have been done. Neither the association nor our government has supported conducting these studies.
Barbara Ashbee, Orangeville