The victims are citizens living mainly in rural communities.
Their concerns about the possible adverse health effects of industrial wind turbines are being rolled over by Premier Dalton McGuinty.
We should all pay attention because our rights could be next.
On Thursday, the Legislature is scheduled to debate a resolution by Tory MPP Bill Murdoch calling for a moratorium on wind turbine development in Ontario until the province’s medical officer of health and the government assure the public it’s safe.
That’s unlikely to slow McGuinty, who has already dismissed critics as suffering from “Not-In-My-Backyard” syndrome.
Even if Murdoch’s resolution — prompted by concerns from his constituents in his Owen Sound-area riding — is passed, unlikely given the Liberal majority, it won’t be binding on the government.
And yesterday, a health ministry spokesman told me Ontario Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Arlene King, shares the government’s view, following its review of the existing scientific literature, that a moratorium isn’t needed, suggesting Thursday’s debate is moot.
McGuinty wants to portray himself as a North American leader in developing green energy, given his repeatedly broken and farcically unrealistic 2003 election promise to close all of Ontario’s coal-fired electricity plants by 2007.
He’s using taxpayers’ money to massively subsidize wind — paying 13.5 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity generated from wind turbines (19 cents for offshore projects) compared to the normal cost of generation of four to five cents.
Wind companies are scrambling to cash in, building and proposing thousands of turbines across Ontario, massive steel structures as high as 40 storeys.
The province has been flooded with so many applications for offshore wind farms that Natural Resources Minister Donna Cansfield announced last week it won’t consider any more until next year, just so it can catch up on the paperwork.
Alarmingly, Ontario’s mad rush to embrace renewable energy sources that aren’t viable without massive public subsidies and are incapable, given current technology, of supplying “on demand” power to the grid, is being led by the same two politicians, McGuinty and Energy Minister George Smitherman, mainly responsible for the $1 billion eHealth boondoggle. (Smitherman used to be health minister.)
Hypocritically, many environmental organizations that go berserk over laws limiting the rights of citizens to oppose other power-generation projects for land use, health and environmental reasons — wind turbines slice and dice birds and bats — have lavished praise on McGuinty’s Green Energy Act which does exactly that.
Wind farm opponents last week announced a court challenge of the law, arguing it violates the “precautionary principle” by failing to address the potential adverse health impacts of wind turbines.
Dr. Robert McMurtry, former dean of medicine at the University of Western Ontario, has called on the province to undertake an independent epidemiological study on whether noise and low-frequency vibrations caused by turbines negatively impact on human health.
He says more than 100 people informally surveyed living close to turbines in Ontario — and others all over the world — have complained of such symptoms as sleep deprivation, cardiac arrhythmia, tinnitus, nausea, heart palpitations and severe headaches.
The government, like the wind industry, argues research shows no adverse health effects.
Government regulations specify a minimum setback of 550 metres for turbines from homes. Critics say it should be three to four times that.
McGuinty promised months ago to set up an academic research chair into these issues so Ontarians would have the best scientific information available.
That promise remains unfulfilled. Not hard to see why, is it?