Farm federation wants block on wind power

By Lee Greenberg, Ottawa Citizen
Plans to dot Ontario’s countryside with wind turbines should be shelved, says the province’s largest agricultural organization. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture is calling on the government to properly address a range of concerns, including the health effects of turbines, before it issues any more permits for development. “A lot of these issues haven’t been resolved,” says Mark Wales, president of the OFA. “It’s really dividing rural communities and that’s not healthy, that’s not good.”  In a statement Friday, the OFA identifies numerous concerns with wind power, including its inefficiency, excessively high prices and inadequate rules on the distance of turbines to the nearest home. They’re also pushing the government to give power back to local municipalities.

The provincial Liberals took siting authority away from municipalities because of concerns over NIMBYISM (“Not In My Back Yard”).

“We elected not to give all 440-plus municipalities in the province of Ontario a veto,” says Energy Minister Chris Bentley. “Because the natural result of that would be that no projects would proceed.”

New wind turbines are massive steel structures that stand as tall as 146 metres – higher than most modern skyscrapers.

The OFA is not targeting solar power, or any other less intrusive form of green energy encouraged by Ontario through 2009 legislation.

Wales denies the new position is a knee-jerk reaction against wind.

“Our members are telling us we need to come out strongly,” he said. “The time is now to slow the process down and get it right. There’s so much divisiveness in the rural community, you can’t have a healthy discussion, you can’t find the right solutions.”

Provincial regulations state all turbines must be 550 metres away from the nearest home.

Wind opponents believe low-frequency noise from the turbines disturbs sleep and causes a range of other conditions, including anxiety, de-pression and even hypertension causing heart disease.

Bentley says the OFA helped the government come to that decision. He also says the health concerns “have been reviewed by Ontario’s medical officer of health, the federal health Canada officer (and) a number of tribunals.”

Bentley added that a current review of the legislation could result in more changes, including ways to ensure “greater local input.”

The OFA represents 37,000 farm families across the province. In a statement, the Canadian Wind Energy Association said it was “surprised and disappointed” by the OFA’s position.

“We will continue to provide fact-based answers to ensure Ontarians have the information they need to make informed choices as Ontario moves toward a cleaner, stronger and affordable energy system,” the lobby said in the statement.

The new OFA position comes just days after a couple in Stayner, Ontario, announced a lawsuit against a nearby farmer who leased some land to a wind company. John and Sylvia Wiggins say they have been unable to sell their $1.15 million 48-acre horse farm since the new project was announced.

11 thoughts on “Farm federation wants block on wind power

  1. Well Emperor McGuinty…YOU ARE NAKED!
    Put some clothes on!
    Canwea..get a life and Bentley..I hear Home Depot needs greeters.

  2. Isn’t it time for a major farm organization to take hold of the turbine controversey
    and demand that unbiased research be employed to find the truth. Put new construction
    on hold until the dust settles. If urbanites want turbines they can build them downtown.

  3. OFA ‘Gas Plant’ Facts – None

    ‘Gas Plants’ support wind – contracts signed – Game on!
    * Environmental Screening Only

    Question: Where will they go?

    ‘[excerpt] The OFA is not targeting solar power,
    or any other less intrusive form of green energy encouraged by Ontario through 2009 legislation.’
    http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/Farm+federation+wants+block+wind+power/6030131/story.html

    According to definition:
    Gas Plants/High Pressure Gas Lines = Alternative Energy
    “alternative energy systems” means sources of energy or energy conversion processes
    that significantly reduce the amount of harmful emissions to the environment
    ( air, earth, and water)when compared to conventional energy systems. [Provincial Policy Statement (PPS)]

    OFA on Facts!
    ‘[excerpt] “We will continue to provide fact-based answers to ensure Ontarians
    have the information
    they need to make informed choices
    as Ontario moves toward a cleaner, stronger and affordable energy system,
    ” the lobby said in the statement.’

    Others facts!
    ‘[excerpt] The new OFA position comes
    just days after a couple in Stayner, Ontario,
    announced a lawsuit against a nearby farmer who leased some land to a wind company.
    John and Sylvia Wiggins say
    they have been unable to sell their $1.15 million 48-acre horse farm
    since the new project was announced.

    If you want to know about a person, or organization –
    look @ who they associate with,
    and who their friends are.

    About the Green Energy Act Alliance:
    The Alliance’s vision is to make Ontario a global leader in green energy development
    through the use of renewable energy,
    distributed energy and conservation, creating thousands of jobs,
    economic prosperity, energy security, while ensuring climate protection.

    Founding groups include:
    the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association,
    Community Power Fund,
    the David Suzuki Foundation,
    Environmental Defence,
    the First Nations Energy Alliance,
    the Ivey Foundation,
    the Ontario Federation of Agriculture
    and the Pembina Institute.

    http://www.greenenergyact.ca/Page.asp?PageID=122&ContentID=1226

    p.s. OFA – SORRY! SORRY! SORRY!
    Deep thinkers @ the OFA should @ least be congratulated for positioning
    themselves in the right direction.

    INVESTIGATION!

  4. “We elected not to give all 440-plus municipalities in the province of Ontario a veto,” says Energy Minister Chris Bentley. “Because the natural result of that would be that no projects would proceed.”
    We received that message loud and clear; Liberals didn’t want democratic decision making.

    • But, but, but Jutta says the majority of people want wind turbines, so giving a veto to the municipalities would not deter projects, right? It’s only a vocal minority opposed to wind.

  5. I think all the people that can’t sell their properties because their neighbor has a W.T SHOULD slap the WT property owner with a massive lawsuit, so large that it would make their head spin!!. I just had a conversation with a farmer here that was approached by one of these carpetbaggers, and it would knock your socks off as to how underhanded, sneaky, ruthless, and uncaring these companies can be !!! Pure evil !! You basically are limited to what you can do with your own property that you work so hard for,, if you sign one of these leases…Wake up, people !!!

  6. A very crass move by OFA. Especially now, because most wind turbine contracts have already been signed and approved and are going to be build anyway!! Once these are built the liberals will be close to their goal of 4000MW and would probably have suspended the program before the next election anyway.
    Very convenient timing to be against wind now, after supporting it for the last 5 + years!

    THANKS OFA!!!! Thanks for nothing!!

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