What’s Missing?

by Harvey Wrightman

The much awaited ERT report/decision  into the Chatham/Kent wind project seems weighty enough for an official document; but, having attended some of the sessions, I can say that not everything is reported let alone commented on. I thought I should report on the report, since I am one of those “inconvenient” rural receptors who cause so much consternation for our political and administrative masters – rather, those who imagine they are our masters – we’ll see about that.  Continue reading

Government lawyer blasts opposition to wind farms

by Lee Greenburg, Ottawa Citizen

TORONTO — A government lawyer fighting off a major challenge to wind energy in Ontario says the foremost health impact complained about by detractors is not a medical condition at all, but a “fact of life.”

Frederika Rotter cast aspersions on the term “annoyance,” which opponents describe as a critical health condition caused by giant wind turbines, which emit noise that, they say, causes a number of other physiological effects, including sleep disturbance, headache, irritability, problems with concentration and depression. Continue reading

The Imaginary Scientist

by Harvey Wrightman

I have attended as many of the sessions of the ERT hearing as I have been able to justify. The last witness was Dr. Robert McCunney, who has a specialty in environmental and occupational health. Dr. McCunney speaks without the bombast and personal hurt that Dr. Colby exhibited during his testimony. Instead, he comes across more like one of those 1950’s dads –  dressed in gray, driving a gray ’52 Pontiac. I first saw him in action when he appeared with Dr. Michael Nissenbaum in a debate in Rutland, VT in May, 2010. Continue reading

Doc questioned about mounting evidence of turbines harming health

By Ellwood Shreve, Chatham Daily News

There was acrimonious cross-examination of a medical doctor on the final day of testimony today at a hearing into the challenge of an approval of a renewable energy project near Thamesville.

Dr. Robert McCunney, a co-author of the a 2009 review of wind turbine reports for the American and Canadian wind energy associations, which concluded there is no adverse effects on human health due to wind turbine noise, was challenged on whether he still believes this is the case. Continue reading

Safety issues discussed at Tribunal

by Harvey Wrightman

Wm.K.G. (Bill) Palmer, P.Eng , whose specialty was safety and risk management for Ontario Hydro, said this about safety and the wind industry,

“A problem that exists is that unlike mature technologies where failure events are carefully documented, studied and shared so that the entire industry can learn from failures, the wind industry tends to be competitive, and focused on confidentiality. Wide reporting of failures has an adverse impact on investor confidence. Further, an adversarial relationship with the public developed early on… failures are not well communicated to the public… there is no publicly available database of wind turbine failures maintained by the industry …” Continue reading

Wind farm’s 40-decibel noise limit debated

By Sharon Hill, Windsor Star

Suncor Energy’s Kent Breeze Wind Farm must meet a noise limit of 40 decibels -about the same level as that of normal conversation -at homes near its proposed wind turbines, Ministry of the Environment engineer John Kowalewski told a hearing this week in Chatham.

But the question in the muchwatched case is whether the decibel calculations are correct and how much noise is needed to cause health problems for residents living near turbines, said lawyer Eric Gillespie, who represents the residents fighting approval of the wind farm. Continue reading

Wind farm application called ‘priority’

Ontario environmental review: Appellants argue the project, near Thamesville, will cause harm to health

by Ellwood Shreve, London Free Press

CHATHAM — The Ministry of the Environment honoured a request to put a rush on approving the Kent Breeze Wind Farm, the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal heard Wednesday.

Eric Gillespie, the lawyer representing the appellants challenging the approval of the wind energy project near Thamesville, asked Mansoor Mahmood, acting manager of the MOE’s Renewable Energy Approval (REA) unit, if there was a “priority rush” on the project. Continue reading

David v Goliath -Week Three

Never send a boy on a man’s job. That is how the saying goes.
That is also what we saw again this week as the Chatham Kent legal action returned to Chatham, Ontario for more evidence for the CKWA group against the Suncor Kent Breezes wind project. As wind turbines are still being erected on the site for the development, three outstanding witnesses were called to give evidence that this project will cause serious harm to humans in the vicinity of the project. Continue reading

MOE Lawyer suggests residents should just wear earplugs or earmuffs

Dessert in Chatham  by Harvey Wrightman
The most notable problem for the Suncor and AG lawyers is their lack of technical background, and so they depend on the support staff to provide them with content. It easily leads to confusion for the lawyer. Most of us would be similarly affected. But, sitting in the gallery it is delightful to watch – after all, they are making more money than most residents. Let them earn it.

Wednesday morning was taken up with Ms. Frederika Rotter , affectionately known as “Freddy”, questioning Dr. Christoper Hanning, a sleep disorder specialist from the UK, via teleconference. Fortunately, he must not be from Northumbria, as I could actually understand him even with “speaker phone” connection. Continue reading

Kent Breeze Environmental Tribunal – Testimony of Dr. Arline Bronzaft

By Esther Wrightman

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2011  Testimony of Dr. Arline Bronzaft

New York Environmental Psychologist Dr. Arline Bronzaft is not afraid of attorneys- they don’t faze her one bit. Dr. Bronzaft is a firecracker that says everything in plain English and is ready for any question thrown her way. So when the Andrea Huckins, lawyer for the Ministry of Environment and Albert Engel, lawyer for Suncor, started into their same old rigmarole of trying to remove the expert from the hearing, she was ready with her extensive list of qualifications that would make most of us feel small and wonder how somebody could accomplish so much in life. Well, it helps if you start early like Dr. Bronzaft and begin teaching college at age 19! Continue reading

Expert witnesses slam wind turbine reports

HEARING: Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal

By Ellwood Shreve, Chatham Daily News

American-based expert witnesses for those opposed to a Thamesville-area wind farm levelled criticism at provincial reports on wind turbines during an Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal hearing in Chatham Tuesday.

The Kent Breeze Wind Farm project, owned by Suncor Energy, is being challenged by appellants Katie Erickson and Chatham-Kent Wind Action Inc. on the basis that noise from wind farms can cause harm to human health, including sleep disturbance, psychological stress, inner ear symptoms and headaches to those living near the structures. Continue reading

David v Goliath Week 2 – Kent Breeze Legal Challange

Toronto – The hearing this past week began with evidence from Dr. Michael Nissenbaum of Maine. Nissenbaum’s controlled study of people living in Mars Hill and Vinalhaven, Maine was the subject. Information on the study has been embargoed as it is up for peer review therefore details cannot be described here. However Nissenbaum did state that he lived 90 miles from the wind developments in Maine. After hearing what was happening in news reports he began a pilot study of people in Mars Hill in 2009. The results of that small study led him to the medical officer of Health to suggest a larger study was needed. But that was turned down. So Nissenbaum hired nurse practitioners to carry out the new study and used amongst other tools internationally recognized standard questionnaires to gather the research. Continue reading

David v Goliath – Week One: Kent Breeze Legal Action

The optics said it all.

On one side, lawyer Eric Gillespie for the appellants Katie Erickson and Chatham-Kent Wind Action and his assistant.

On the other side two lawyers for the Ministry of Environment, Fredericka Rotter and Andrea Huckins along with MOE Director for Renewable Energy Approvals (REA) Mr. Mansoor Mahmood and alternately Brian Howe of HGC Engineering. Next to them were Suncor lawyer Albert Engel of Fogler, Rubinoff with Jay Headrick and Brad West of Suncor. Next to them sat Stantec Consulting representative, Chris Scott. Continue reading

Acoustician Rick James – Real Evidence

by Harvey Wrightman

“I have seen both good wind projects and disasters. My hope is to prevent the disasters.”  ~ Richard R. James, Acoustician

With that in mind, Rick James explains his philosophy and approach to siting industrial wind turbines. He went on to explain that focuses on the science, not the client. To him a wind turbine is simply a machine that produces industrial type noise that can be analyzed.

It is in the analysis that he differs with the MOE and the wind proponent, Kent Breeze (Suncor). Although the AG’s lawyer, Andrea Huckins and Suncor’s lawyer, Albert Engel, continued to to try to to discredit Mr.James qualifications, when it came time for cross-examination, it was clear that they are no different than any other lawyer in that they hate expert witnesses. Continue reading

Wind energy showdown begins

Chatham Court House

by ERICA BAJER, Chatham Daily News

Those opposed to the Kent Breeze Wind Farm will attempt to prove the eight-turbine project near Thamesville will cause serious harm to human health.

Opening statements were heard during the first day of the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal Tuesday at the Chatham-Kent Civic Centre. Lawyer Eric Gillespie, acting on behalf of appellants Katie Erickson and Chatham-Kent Wind Action Inc., said the focus of the case deals with the medical impacts on human health such as sleep disturbances, stress or psychological distress, inner ear symptoms, headaches and loss of enjoyment of life. Continue reading

Wind farm health effects to be challenged

CBC News

A small wind farm in Thamesville, Ont., is the centre of a big debate over the health effects of wind turbines.

Opponents who claim wind turbines are bad for people’s health are challenging government approval of an eight-tower wind farm called Kent Breeze. Continue reading