At-risk species prompts renewed wind development fight over Gunn’s Hill project

ab-batWoodstock Sentinel Review, Keith Maryanovich
NORWICH TOWNSHIP – At the proposed 10-turbine Gunn’s Hill wind farm, both the company and anti-wind turbine advocates expect a certain number of little brown bats to be killed. The point being contended, however, is just what constitutes an acceptable mortality rate.

The East Oxford Community Alliance felt the risk to these bat species was important enough to file an urgent request on July 14 to halt the Gunn’s Hill wind power project with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and the Environmental Review Tribunal. It has also requested that its appeal of the Norwich Township project be reopened.

“We filed to halt the project until further investigation and until it can be shown that effective protective measures are in place to prevent serious and irreversible harm to the little brown bat, the eastern small-footed bat, and the other endangered species known to be present at the Gunn’s Hill project site,” East Oxford Community Alliance chair Joan Morris said. “We have not heard back from the ministry yet.”

The Gunn’s Hill LP noted its intention to operate the Prowind Canada project in accordance with the approval that was upheld at the Environmental Review Tribunal, which includes reference to the bats.

“In post-construction, we will be monitoring in accordance with the guidelines on threshold limits for bat mortality,” Prowind Canada vice-president Juan Anderson said. “That threshold is 10 bats per turbine per year.” Read article

Dr. Colby’s Cottage and The Missing Conscience

wpd-second-open-houseYears ago my good friend and protest sidekick, Muriel, was leaving one of the final wind company dog & pony shows. As she walked back to her car one of the wind company hacks that stood beside the boards with a blank stare and canned answers night after night, approached her.  He had to tell her something that apparently couldn’t be said in the building with the others around.

From memory I’d say he always looked slightly uncomfortable in his attire, and even more uncomfortable when his morals were questioned. In any case, he told her it was his final night working for this wind company – he wasn’t going to do it anymore. Shocked that he would bother to reveal this, and doubting his sincerity, she took a second and then shot back, “So you finally got a conscience?”

Yes, he told her, he was done with it. Night after night he had stood by those posters and defended a project and a company he didn’t believe in anymore. In earlier conversations we found out that he had fought a gravel pit that was to be constructed near his home – no doubt gravel that would be used to build bases for hundreds of turbines. Slowly he started to see the similarities between our concerns for the local swallows, eagles and turtles, and his concerns for the threatened salamander in his neighbourhood.

And, just like that, we didn’t look so crazy to him, nor he to us.

DrColbyforwebNow I’m going to throw out a name that seems to have nothing to do with this story, but stick with me. Dr. David Colby, Chief Medical Officer of Health (MOH) for Chatham-Kent, specializes in microbiology and infectious diseases, outright Wind Turbine Syndrome denial, and he is president of the Rondeau Cottagers Association (RCA).

Colby is, and always has been, a chronically plugged ear to those who are suffering from the wind turbines in Chatham Kent. Here’s classic Colby cynicism in a statement made to the Huron County Council in 2011:

“You cannot design an experiment to prove that ghosts do not exist or that wind turbines do not cause harm,” he said.

Hence, he wasn’t going to do anything about the complaints in his community because – he doesn’t believe in ghosts, or something like that. There’s no way the people of C-K would even consider approaching him with their health issues after statements like this.

Colby now has his own little problem that’s occupying his time. His cottage is in Rondeau Provincial Park. He owns the building, but not the land. The province owns the land, or more correctly, we the people of the province do. The lease runs out on these cottages in 2017, and then it looks like the cottages will have to be removed. Say it ain’t so! Stand in front of the bulldozers for him! Protect his… um… home. Yeah. Fat chance. Tables turned, how do ya like it? Continue reading

Irish Gardai probe councillors asking for money… to help wind developer

imgname--rebuilding_the_corrupt_organization---50226711--corruption1The Irish Independent, Maeve Sheehan
The Garda fraud squad has launched a full investigation into allegations made in an RTE undercover sting operation that showed two county councillors allegedly asking for money to help a wind farm operator.

The investigation has been under way for a number of months and is understood to be at an advanced stage. The Garda fraud bureau decided to proceed with an investigation after assessing the RTE footage to see whether the allegations they contained merited a full-scale inquiry. Sources confirmed that the case has now proceeded to the next level.

Detectives have been viewing footage of the programme and a number of people have been interviewed. The programme by the RTE Investigates team, broadcast last year, generated huge public debate over standards in public office. The programme featured a journalist posing as a wind farm investor who spoke to three local councillors.

The three politicians appeared to offer to lobby on behalf of a wind farm company – two of them allegedly in exchange for money.  One councillor, John O’Donnell, was filmed requesting that the money be routed through a third party. “Politically there would be a backlash,” he said on the programme. Read article

Watch RTE Investigation here.

Ontario Electricity Prices Are Out Of Control

The Huffington Post Canada, Daniel Tenceroriginal

Ontarians aren’t just imagining it: Electricity prices in the province are soaring.

Prices jumped by 15.7 per cent over the past year, according to Statistics Canada’s consumer price index, about eight times faster than overall inflation.

Bank of Montreal chief economist Doug Porter published this chart showing just how far hydro rates have diverged from other prices in the province.

“Meantime, electricity prices in the rest of the country have posted average annual gains quite close to the overall inflation rate over these periods (i.e., roughly 2 per cent per year),” Porter wrote.

“In Ontario, only three other categories in the CPI have risen faster than electricity since 2002 — water charges, home insurance and cigarettes. But in the past seven years, nothing has risen faster than electricity prices.”

Ontario’s prices are being driven up by a number of factors, including subsidies for the province’s green energy program.  Read article

What is the Global Adjustment fee? The mysterious cost Ontario hydro customers must pay

 

McGuinty Visits Erie Shores Windfarm

Global News, Brian Hill
A product of Ontario’s 2009 Green Energy Act, the Global Adjustment fee is a charge billed to all hydro customers in the province.

For major manufacturers and large businesses, the fee appears separately on electricity bills. But for residential customers and small businesses, the fee is hidden – appearing on your electricity bill as a part of the per kilowatt hour charge.

According to data obtained by Global News from the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), the organization responsible for managing Ontario’s energy system, residential customers and small businesses in Ontario paid an average of 7.9 cents per kilowatt hour in Global Adjustment fees last year.

So for every $100 in usage that appears on your electricity bill, $77 of that is the Global Adjustment fee. Meaning the cost of electricity use is only $23. Read Article

Eagles’ nest in EDF wind project disappears, questions abound

Where have we seen this before? Several years ago NextEra went in and chopped down an eagle nest in Haldimand Cty that was “in the way,” and ta-da – 3 wind turbines worth millions of dollars could be constructed. In this news story similarities abound as EDF Renewables is chewing over how to proceed with an Illinois wind project that has an eagles’ nest “in the way” of 8-10 wind turbines (worth more millions of dollars) and ta-da, presto-chango nest is gone and all wind turbines can go ahead. How can we not be hugely suspicious!


EaglesConcord Record, Rob Maharry
Last month, a bald eagles’ nest on the property of Mary Katzer in rural western Grundy County vanished after almost four years, and because of the effect that it would have had on the yet to be constructed Ivester Wind Farm, the recent news has received attention from residents and conservation authorities alike. As those involved seek to gather more information and wait for the facts to come out, speculation has been aplenty in this curious case.

“I’m trying to stay calm and not jump to any conclusions,” said Mary Katzer, who owns the land in question. “More information needs to be collected.”

The nest, which was located between Conrad, Wellsburg and Eldora on 280thStreet, would have taken between eight and 10 turbines out of the plans for the proposed 90 megawatt Ivester Wind Farm, according to information that EDF Renewable Energy Development Director PJ Saliterman provided at the June 27 meeting of the Grundy County Board of Supervisors. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommends a voluntary 1.6-mile buffer zone from wind turbines for the nests. Read article

Wind turbines killing tens of thousands of bats, including many on the endangered species list

Canadian Wind Energy Association says that they are now, “concerned about reports that are based on limited data that have the effect of boosting estimates [of bird and bat kills].”

This is almost funny. It’s not like we aren’t trying to get all the data, but this is all CanWea will release! When I ASK for ALL the data in letters and FOI requests, the wind companies refuse with a curt “Don’t give her anything.”  The MNRF and the FOI office thought Canadians should see this data. But the wind companies are adamant we never have access to the full reports.

So what does CanWea plan to do? They are going to make up another “system” to um… make it a all a little clearer, like mud. Dear CanWea, why not let Canadians see ALL the data? Don’t make up another fancy system to hide it, just show us the bodies. Or are there too many? Either way, be prepared for a new scheme by this industry to hide them this fall.


bat-killed-by-wind-turbine-bladesLondon Free Press, John Miner
Wind turbines are killing bats, including ones on the endangered species list, at nearly double the rate set as acceptable by the Ontario government, the latest monitoring report indicates. Bats are being killed in Ontario at the rate of 18.5 per turbine, resulting in an estimated 42,656 bat fatalities in Ontario between May 1 and October 31, 2015, according to the report released by Bird Studies Canada, a bird conservation organization.

Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources has set 10 bat deaths per turbine as the threshold at which the mortalities are considered significant and warrant action. The bats being killed by turbines in Ontario include the little brown bat, tri-coloured bat, eastern small footed bat, and northern long-eared bat, all on the endangered species list.

The Birds Studies Canada report draws its information from a database that is a joint initiative of the Canadian Wind Energy Association, Canadian Wildlife Service, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Bird Studies Canada.

Brock Fenton, an expert in the behaviour and ecology of bats and professor in Western University’s department of biology, said the bat deaths are a concern. Bat populations across North America have been plunging with the emergence of a fungal disease called white nose syndrome. Read article

Ontario wind turbine developers killing endangered birds and bats, with impunity

dead-bird-1024x560Bird Studies Canada quietly released a summary of bird and bat kills a few days ago. It doesn’t include last year’s toll on the avian population, but it gives you a good idea of where it’s headed – for a cliff. As you have probably noticed, this item hasn’t made the mainstream news in any way, shape, or form.

Even though the “Top 15 Hit List” consists of threatened swallows, tiny kinglets, scarce hawks and purple martins… not the common and introduced birds wind companies put on their open-house posters (i.e. house sparrows).
top15ONbirdkillBSC

Even though Ontario avian mortality rates have skyrocketed for both bats and birds in recent years. 40,833 bat deaths. 14,144 bird deaths. 462 raptor deaths.

birdbatmortalitychart

 

Even though bat kill averages grossly exceed the MNRF allowable limit. On average they are killing almost double the bats in Ontario than supposedly permitted (although, who’s watching?).

  • Average # of bats killed by just one Ontario wind turbine: 18.52.batmortality
  • Amount supposedly allowed by MNRF per wind turbine: 10.  Bat mortality threshold

Think about that.

Even though the Barn Swallow (a threatened species) is one of the top 15 birds found killed by wind turbines.barn swallow

Even though the Red-tailed Hawk is the sixth most likely bird to be killed in Ontario by a wind turbine.

red-tailed-hawk1

Even though three of the bat species killed by wind turbines are listed as endangered. Does it count as a violation to kill an endangered species if you are a … wind developer? Apparently not. Continue reading

Wind power debates continue

Laura Barton, Welland Tribune
A recent survey says Ontarians are pretty evenly split when it comes to wind turbines. The poll done by Mainstreet Research and Postmedia was published June 7. It had 2,537 people respond to questions about turbines. The survey determined that 43 per cent of people do not like turbines, 43 per cent do and the remaining 14 per cent don’t know.

Wainfleet Mayor April Jeffs said she hears more negative comments and concerns than positive remarks. When the township was against the first wave of five turbines, residents fought for them and thought it was a great idea.

“I just don’t hear that anymore,” said Jeffs. Because of the larger expansion of the industrial wind farm, Fleeters are having second thoughts. It’s partially a case of not realizing the consequences of the infrastructure necessary for turbines, said Jeffs. “I don’t think any of us quite realized the amount of transmission lines and such,” she said. Read article

The dangers of fire in the dead of summer

This image of a wheat field fire makes any rural resident cringe.

Wind turbine fires are always shrugged off by the developers. They bank on them just not happening – especially in the dead of summer, when the wheat is dry… and the wind is blowing. And if they do happen, they figure they can just stand back and watch it burn. That’s the only plan they have.

This fire is on the edge of Middlesex County turbine country.

wheat fire

A second fire in Middlesex (Adelaide-Metcalfe twp) happened yesterday too:
105.7FM13654196_1228941567130477_1953791430843769770_n

Absurdities abound with rural water plan

1297854991096_ORIGINALPeter Epp, London Free Press
It’s difficult to rule in isolation. That can be the only conclusion from the latest incident between rural Ontario and those in charge of Ontario’s Green Energy Plan.

How else to explain the almost embarrassing lack of understanding that the Green Energy people have about the potential impact of their decisions in parts of Ontario where wind turbines are to be developed?

The latest wrinkle comes from Chatham-Kent, which happens to lead the province in the number of wind turbines located in a single jurisdiction, and whose residents are bracing to receive even more.

A citizens’ group is now concerned about the potential impact that turbine vibrations will have on rural water wells, in an area where 40 to 50 turbines are to be constructed. They say studies show turbine activity can disrupt groundwater activity, a red flag for those who depend upon water wells for their households and agricultural activities.

Turns out that the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change is prepared for such an eventuality — or they thought they were. The ministry’s approval for the turbine company reads that “an adequate amount of bottled water” must be provided to “the impacted party” should there be a disruption with water well activity. That’s a lot of bottled water. As one Chatham-Kent farmer told reporters, an average horse can consume two to five cases of water a day. Read article

Hydro horror stories: tales from rural Ontario

turbine-and-truthGlobal News, Brian Hill
Residents of rural Ontario are outraged by ever-increasing hydro bills and the constant threat of disconnection. Facing an unresponsive utility provider, Hydro One customers from across the province are speaking out.

In the past three days alone, Global News has received more than 400 emails and messages from concerned Ontarians frustrated by the lack of government transparency and the apparent disregard with which industry regulators treat their concerns.

In their own words, read how the hopes and dreams of some rural Ontarians have become complete hydro nightmares.

Lindsay Ambeault, Sault Saint-Marie, Ont.

My husband and I have four children. One with autism. We have had to learn to eat only using $200 a month. Two of our children are in diapers – imagine the cost. We get the disconnection notice EVERY month and are behind approximately $1,000. I feel as though we work just to pay PUC. It is ridiculous!

Matt Grassie, Peterborough, Ont.

I live just outside the city of Peterborough Ont., and I am impacted greatly by the cost of hydro.

My bills are OVER $600 a month, but I have seen bills in recent years over $1,000 a month. I have suffered disconnections in the past, the worst one being on Remembrance Day while I was at the Remembrance Day Service paying my respects (I am a Canadian Forces Veteran). Even with the banks closed, I managed to get them their money. They took two days to reconnect me. We are on electric heat, and our water pipes nearly froze because of sub-zero temperatures. Read more

NextEra’s wind turbines kill at least 16 raptors per year in SW Ontario

trade secretsHas anyone mentioned recently how many birds or bats are found dead around the bases of operating wind turbines in Ontario? Like say… the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, or how about Bird Studies Canada? Or maybe even one of the many wind companies in this province that have to collect the bodies? Surely with these hundreds of turbines in operation there would be a news article, or a report released with all the data…?

Of course not, because to talk about the bloody details of bird and bat deaths from wind turbines would just lead to a sorry black eye on such a glowingly green and pristine industry.

Bats killed HaldimandA week ago I was supposed to find out whether NextEra filed an appeal to my Freedom of Information request for three of their wind project’s Bird and Bat Mortality Reports. Nobody called, and nothing arrived in the mail, so I called in this morning. Turns out that even though NextEra had 30 days to file an appeal, they asked for a little more time. And in order to get what they wanted they pointed out a ‘clerical error’ that the FOI office made and this bought them that 30 additional days to file an appeal.

The important message out of this is that NextEra is appealing the FOI office’s decision to release these reports. They don’t want the public to see just how many Purple Martins they killed in Haldimand Cty, or what kind of raptors (Bald Eagles?) they killed in each of their projects. They must think the public can’t responsibly handle that kind of information. Or perhaps they are claiming it’s a ‘trade secret’ like Iberdrola did in Ohio. We won’t know what their official excuse is for another month. Continue reading

Watch “Follow the Money” on CBC: The inside of the dirty wind industry

If you’ve fought the wind industry long and hard enough you’ll be able to practically identify characters in this drama (that plays more like a documentary). For once the inside of the wind industry is shown, and it’s not an exaggeration. Terror, gag clauses, dirty money, carbon schemes, threats, legal weasels, lies upon lies – sound familiar? Sounds like the wind industry in Ontario. Those who haven’t lived it might find it entertaining, but those who have been through the wind wringer will see it as brutally and gut wrenchingly real.

Watch online: CBC – “Follow the Moneyfollow the money

 

Efficiency better option than Hydro One rate hike

electricity costJim Merriam, London Free Press
The word efficiency doesn’t appear to be in the vocabulary of the suits — empty and otherwise — that run Hydro One. The utility’s “province-wide consultation process” includes an online survey for those inclined to help with a poorly veiled attempt to get support for rate increases.

In the preamble to the survey Hydro One admits as much: “All feedback . . . will in turn influence plans that the company will submit to the Ontario Energy Board.” The board will determine new rates. The survey asks a number of questions about Hydro One services and customer priorities.

Here’s an example: Survey respondents are asked if they prefer longer power outages in order to keep costs low, or if they prefer to maintain the current length of outages with a “relatively modest increase” in rates. A third option would see the length of outages reduced at yet higher costs.

In all such questions the option of Hydro One improving efficiency in order to offer better service never appears. That would lead to the assumption that Hydro One sees itself working as cost effectively as possible. Read article

Buddhist temple project in rural Ontario threatened by wind turbines

‘Water Wells First!’ Public Protest Wind Turbine Adverse Effects

Ontario Ground Water Association
Strathroy, Ontario – June 27, 2016 – “On Wednesday, June 29, 2016, residents of the municipality of Chatham-Kent, Ontario, embark on their Water Wells First! campaign to protest and advocate for protection of their water wells, says the Ontario Ground Water Association.” These residents understand that renewable energy is important to the future of Ontario and in the battle that is climate change but the safety and security of their water is their priority. The Ontario Ground Water Association (OGWA) became aware of increased water quality issues in the region when inquiries intensified from Chatham-Kent and Lambton County residents for well water testing through the OGWA’s ‘Well Wise’ water testing program. The OGWA is fully supportive of the Chatham-Kent residents in this endeavour.

Existing Wind Farm developments in this area are disregarding known science on vibration and seismic coupling, causing adverse effects on local ground water and drinking water wells.

The pile driving of foundations began the onset of water quality deterioration during the construction phase. After the wind mills are in service, the vibrations transfer into the concrete foundations and continue to vibrate the rock and soil formations of the surrounding areas. This activity directly affects the sources of the residents’ water wells. The result is dirty, turbid water. These residents are also rightly concerned about what effects this vibration has in an area known to have elevated levels of Radon gas. Continue reading

Iberdrola Renewables sues to block bird death data release

trade secretsSandusky Register, Tom Jackson
OAK HARBOR — An Ohio wind farm has filed a lawsuit against two state agencies, hoping to conceal the number of bird deaths that are being caused by its operation.

The legal dispute was generated by an Ottawa County birding organization, the Black Swamp Bird Observatory in Oak Harbor, which contends that bird death data held by both federal and state agencies is public information. Blue Creek Wind Farm LLC, which operates a wind farm in Van Wert and Paulding counties in Ohio and Allen County, Indiana, says releasing its bird and bat kill reports would provide “trade secrets” to its competitors.

Blue Creek filed the lawsuit in May in Franklin County Common Pleas Court against the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Ohio Power Siting Board. The lawsuit seeks a court order to block the two state agencies from releasing the company’s reports on bird and bat kills.

Blue Creek met with Black Swamp officials last year and released some of its data in an unsuccessful attempt to placate the birding group.

The release of public information sought by Black Swamp would allow everyone to know the trade-off between developing renewable energy and killing birds and bats, said Kim Kaufman, executive director of Black Swamp Bird Observatory.

“In a way, the public information acts keep everybody honest,” she said. Read article

Subsidy Sam – A Tale About Money, Greed… And Wind Turbines

SubsidySambook_sm-211x300Lyndsey Ward and Josh

“Subsidy Sam was written in response to the wind industry’s own book for children, Tommy the Turbine. Following requests from people fighting wind turbines around the world a children’s story, Timmy the Tiny Turbine, has now been written and will be published online in August 2016 with illustrations by Josh.”

Subsidy Sam – A Tale About Money, Greed… and Wind Turbines

Lyndsey Ward and Josh
“Subsidy Sam was written in response to the wind industry’s own book for children, Tommy the Turbine. Following requests from people fighting wind turbines around the world a children’s story, Timmy the Tiny Turbine, has now been written and will be published online in August 2016 with illustrations by Josh.”

Survey suggests an even split in public opinion about Ontario’s embrace of wind energy

2014_06010079John Miner, London Free Press
Seven years after Ontario’s multi-billion-dollar, headlong plunge into wind energy, residents of the province are deeply divided on the project, a new Mainstreet/Postmedia poll has found. The survey of 2,537 Ontarians, released Wednesday, found an even split on wind power, with 43 per cent of respondents having a positive opinion about it and 43 per cent a negative view.

But there was a big difference in the two opinion camps. “The people who don’t like wind power right now really, really don’t like wind power, and the people who do like wind power are only somewhat okay with it,” said David Valentin, executive vice president of Mainstreet Research.

Out of those with a negative view, 28 per cent had a “very negative” opinion and another 15 per cent had a “somewhat negative opinion.” For those with a favourable opinion, 18 per cent were “very positive” and 25 per cent “somewhat positive.”

Valentin said rising electricity bills are part of the reason for the weak support, but mishandling of contracts and reports of disputes involving wind energy developers and the Liberal government are also having an impact. More than 60 per cent of respondents believed wind power has contributed to higher power bills and 59 per cent expect the charges will keep increasing over the next 12 months. Read article

Turtles topple turbines as ERT revokes project approval

sign blanding turtleCounty Live
The County’s Blandings turtles, and nature in general, are victorious in the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists’ more than six-year battle to protect the south shore of Prince Edward County.

The Environmental Review Tribunal in the Ostrander Point industrial wind turbine hearing has decided “remedies proposed by Gilead Power Corporation and the Director (MOEE) are not appropriate” and has revoked the Renewable Energy Approval for the nine turbine project.

“The tribunal decision says that no matter how important renewable energy is to our future it does not automatically override the public interest in protecting against other environmental harm such as the habitat of species at risk,” says Myrna Wood, president of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists. “This was the basis of PECFN’s appeal. This decision not only protects the Blanding’s turtle but also the staging area for millions of migrating birds and bats and the Monarch butterflies.”

In their decision, ERT vice-chairs Heather Gibbs and Robert Wright state “The Tribunal finds that to proceed with the project, when it will cause serious and irreversible harm to animal life, a species at risk and its habitat, is not consistent with the general and renewable energy approval purposes of the Environmental Protection Act, protection and conservation of the natural environment and protection and conservation of the environment, nor does it serve the public interest.

“In this particular case, preventing such harm outweighs the policy of promoting renewable energy through this nine wind turbine project in this location.” Read article

Ross McKitrick: Climate crazy Ontari-ari-ario’s no place to grow, but to get the hell out of

CHATHAM-KENT, ONTARIO, INTERNAIONAL POWER GDF SUEZ from Stefina LineRoss Mckitrick, Financial Post
The latest news out of Queen’s Park is that Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals plan to deindustrialize Ontario. Of course they don’t call it that; they prefer the term “decarbonize.” But for an industrial economy, the government’s new climate action plan, leaked to reporters this week, amounts to the same thing.

The proposed scheme beggars belief. Having phased out coal-fired power, the province now plans to phase out natural gas, the only reliable alternative for non-baseload generation. Despite electric cars being extremely costly and unpopular, more than one in 10 new car sales will need to be electric, and every two-car household will have to own at least one electric car. All homes listed for sale will require a costly energy audit. Home renovations will have to be geared around energy efficiency as the government defines it, not what the homeowner wants.

Around the time that today’s high-school students are readying to buy their first home, it will be illegal for builders to install heating systems that use fossil fuels, in particular natural gas. Having already tripled the price of power, Queen’s Park will make it all but mandatory to rely on electricity for heating.

There will be new mandates and subsidies for biofuels, electric buses for schools, extensive new bike lanes to accommodate all those bicycles Ontario commuters will be riding all winter, mandatory electric recharging stations on all new buildings, and many other Soviet-style command-and-control directives. Read article

What the hell is happening in Huron County?

Patti Kellar
Many people are wondering what is going on and what comes next.

Below is a photograph taken at the March 3rd Board of Health Meeting in Huron County. Over 80 people at a meeting that typically no one attends.dsc06480Please try not to be too discouraged by the recent decision made by the Board of Health to pause the health investigation begun by Dr. Owen in Huron County.

For those not yet aware, the Board of Health in Huron County, Ontario Canada (comprised of current or past municipal councillors) voted unanimously (other than one abstention /conflict of interest) at a closed meeting, to oust Dr. Owen (Acting Medical Officer of Health).  We were assured afterwards by Mayor Tyler Hessel / Chair of the Board of Health that the investigation was to continue and we felt badly for Dr. Owen but we were also relieved to know her work was still going to matter.  After all, when an agency is mandated to investigate health complaints, it would seem reasonable to assume that they would do so once started, even in the absence of the person in charge who initiated it.  If this investigation involved water or food and the public expressed concerns, they would have to follow through with it, would they not?  Mayor Hessel had assured us that the Health Unit’s epidemiologist, Dr. Erica Clark was  the lead in the investigation and things were proceeding ‘at this point’.

It turns out, those last three words were pretty significant.

Just a few weeks later, Mayor Hessel and the Board of Health voted unanimously  to put the investigation on hold. Read article

The Liberal Party has Received over $1.3 million from 30 Renewable Energy Companies

Wind company, Ontario government had cozy relationship until deal fell apart

Art by Paul Bloomer, The Money Counters

Art by Paul Bloomer, The Money Counters

David Reevely, Ottawa Citizen
The Ontario government’s decision to ditch its plan for wind farms in the Great Lakes seems to have been made all the more awkward by the lobbyist-lubricated relationship the province had developed with the company that wanted to build one of the biggest.

The company was Windstream Energy, which is seeking as much as $568 million in damages on the grounds that the government mistreated it because it’s backed by American money, which would be a violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

But back when it seemed to be well on its way to building a wind farm in the water off Kingston, Windstream had a lobbyist named Chris Benedetti helping it along. Benedetti is a specialist in energy policy for Sussex Strategy Group (he’s had dozens upon dozens of industry clients, according to the Ontario lobbying registry), and a former federal Liberal staffer.

If his name sounds familiar, it’s because he promoted the $6,000-a-plate fundraiser that offered intimate conversations with Premier Kathleen Wynne and Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli as its big draw earlier this year. That’s the one that shamed the Liberals into finally pursuing reforms to political fundraising because, though completely legal, it looked so gross when people found out.

We know what politicians get out of such events: A whole lot of money. But now, thanks to the company’s own claims in its case against the government, which rely heavily on evidence from Benedetti himself, we know what Windstream’s lobbyists got before everything fell apart. Read article

Wind developments are Resonating Across the Grid

Andrew Dodson was interviewed by Scott Medwid and Rick Maltese on the subject of grid stability, and the impact of “green energy”.

Police investigating Ontario Liberals over alleged wind power document deletion

470_OPP_3_430241CTV News
TORONTO — Ontario’s Liberal government is facing another criminal investigation after a wind power company complained to police about the alleged destruction of documents in a lawsuit it filed against the province.

Trillium Power Wind Corp. has alleged in a lawsuit that government officials destroyed documents after the company sued in a case that stemmed from the government’s cancellation of a Lake Ontario wind project.

OPP Det.-Supt. Dave Truax said police began an investigation in the last couple of weeks after Trillium made a complaint. Truax would not say that the allegations are about destruction of documents, but that the probe is looking into elected officials and/or civil servants, and that there is a “co-mingling” of issues with Trillium’s civil suit.

Trillium lawyer Morris Cooper alleges the documents were destroyed around the same time as emails are alleged to have been deleted in relation to the Liberals’ cancellation of two gas plants. In that case, former premier Dalton McGuinty’s chief of staff and deputy chief of staff have been charged with breach of trust and mischief.

Premier Kathleen Wynne said the government was not aware of any Trillium-related investigation until Wednesday, but that it will co-operate fully. A spokesman for Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli said the government takes its record-keeping obligations very seriously.        [can’t make this stuff up!] Read article

“The government twice suspended [offshore] wind-farm work, both during election years.”

offshore_windDavid Reevely, Ottawa Citizen
In the five years since Ontario scrapped all its plans for wind farms on the Great Lakes because we needed more scientific research on them, the government went four years without commissioning any.

Once upon a time, way back in 2009, the province’s Green Energy Act seemed to make it a priority to get windmills built in Ontario waters, as part of a big brave plan to make Ontario a world leader in renewable electricity. We’d kickstart a domestic green-power industry by using ourselves as guinea pigs.

In 2011, the provincial government gave up. It cancelled all the offshore wind projects then in development and put a moratorium on new ones. The lack of documentation around that major government decision is now under investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police, and is the subject of a $500-million lawsuit by Trillium Power Wind Corp., which saw its plan for a wind farm in Lake Ontario off Kingston vaporized by a press release one February morning. Read article

Wind Turbine Highlights Unifor’s Hypocrisy On Noise Hazards

o-WIND-TURBINE-570Karen Hunter, Huffington Post
The National Day of Mourning sends “a strong message to all governments of their obligation and responsibility to strongly enforce health and safety laws and regulations,” says Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector union, formerly the CAW.

There’s a “serious lack of commitment,” Unifor says of the provincial government, “to enforce the health and safety protections that we have fought for,” so “unfortunately, the suffering continues.” One of the hazardous dangers flagged by the union on its website notice is noise.

Meanwhile, a new online petition targets Unifor for its failure to comply with provincial health and safety protections, specifically noise regulations.

Unifor owns and operates the controversial CAW Wind Turbine, located on its property in Port Elgin, Ontario on the shore of Lake Huron. The turbine began operation in 2013 to generate money for the union. At the time, the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) approved the turbine on the condition that the Union would conduct noise audits within the first two years of operation and provide MOE with the results.

Now, as the turbine begins its fourth year of operation, the tests and results are, at a minimum, two years late.

MOE knew — as did everyone else — how important noise monitoring would be. Unifor’s turbine is located just 210 metres from the nearest home, less than half of the 550-metre distance required by provincial noise regulations. MOE approved Unifor’s turbine after the union had the community’s zoning changed from a rural tourist/recreational classification to city semi-urban to allow for increased noise.

To further address noise levels, the union stated that its powerful 800kw turbine would operate at just 500kw (despite reduced revenue generation) and that it would self-monitor its operation. Since its startup, Unifor and MOE have received hundreds of noise complaints, day and night, from the nearly 200 families who live within the turbine’s 550-metre radius. Still, the noise testing has not been done.

Back in 2013, during the turbine’s first six months of operation, 140 noise complaints prompted town council to pass a motion asking the CAW to honour President Ken Lewenza’s commitment to shut down the turbine if it harmed residents. The union dismissed the request. Read article