Horizon Wind, First Nation remain at odds over wind farm project

Thunder BayNorCBC News
An Ontario court has declined to intervene in the Big Thunder wind farm project, after Horizon Wind applied for a judicial review, saying court applications by Fort William First Nation against various government ministries had created confusion.

Horizon wanted the province to approve the project, but company director of Community and Public Affairs Kathleen MacKenzie said a judge on Friday decided not to issue any instructions to the Ministry of the Environment.

“The court didn’t think it was appropriate for it to … step in at this point,” she said. “The court elected not to order any action from the MOE — not further consultations, not an end to consultations. It just said it was not going to substitute its judgement for that of the ministry.” Read article

28 thoughts on “Horizon Wind, First Nation remain at odds over wind farm project

  1. more LAUNDERING:

    Communities Around Renewable Energy Projects
    uwo.coarep@gmail.com
    519 661-2111 x 82818

    http://coarep.uwo.ca/

    ‘[excerpt] About Us

    COAREP is a group interested in contributing to sound community planning and sustainable alternative energy policies through innovative social scientific research. It is funded by the Western University in Ontario, Canada and the Metcalf Foundation, the latter through their Green Prosperity Challenge.’

    ‘[excerpt] Our Team
    Jamie Baxter
    Isaac Luginaah
    Chad Walker
    Michael Buzzelli
    Emmanuel Songsore’

    Not using Western’s email server. No wonder.

    • Western University professors describe wind turbine laundries:
      ‘[excerpt] the context of existing institutional arrangements and cultures to fall back on the rhetoric that seems to readily discredit claims of harm.’

  2. Western Researcher not familiar with Nuremberg Trials,
    ignores real problems!

    ‘[excerpt] Communities Around Renewable Energy Projects
    Study 2: Media and Wind Energy Development

    Several scholars have attempted to explain the (un)successful deployment of wind energy by studying public perceptions of and reactions to the technology. To date, however, a majority of studies continue to focus on the role of specific issues (e.g., visual perceptions, financial incentives, political factors, health) in shaping responses to the technology to the neglect of broader multicausal factors and processes that determine these responses. Additionally, important factors which could influence deployment such as media discourse and developer perspectives have received very scant attention within the research community. With these contexts in mind, this study will seek to understand the role of the media in shaping public perceptions of the technology, understand how various stakeholder perspectives are represented in the media and, understand the experiences of wind energy developers within the province. Driven by Luhmann’s Ecological Communication theory and the Socio-Political Evaluation of Energy Deployment (SPEED) framework which call for a holistic understanding of environmental issues and renewable energy deployment respectively, the study will focus on economic, political, health, environmental, aesthetic, wildlife and environmental factors and the interplay thereof.’

    • ‘[excerpt] multicausal factors’

      (for the benefit of Negligence Defendants…)

  3. Finding “benefits” in a TOTAL FRAUD!
    [Laugh Out Loud!]

    ‘[excerpt] Findings also point to a need for better allocation of financial benefits to those closest to the turbines who bear the negative impacts.

    “Those who benefit financially are more likely to accept these developments, but neighbouring residents have been reluctant to ask for these benefits lest they be accused of gold-digging,” says COAREP Principal Investigator, Associate Professor Jamie Baxter. “We need to more seriously consider alternatives for neighbours of landowners who lease to wind turbine developers as they typically get nothing, while the landowner with the turbine receives thousands of dollars per year. Addressing this discrepancy could drastically change how these developments are received in these communities.”‘

    “We should forget about the children,” said Professor Baxter.

  4. Redeeming factors:
    (but not five hundred million dollars’ worth)

    ‘[excerpt] The study also found that residents experiencing a higher density of turbines, close to their homes are more likely to oppose the development. Residents in Clear Creek looking out their windows are likely to see more turbines, larger turbines, and closer turbines than residents in Port Burwell. In Clear Creek, homes average 6.8 turbines within 2km of their home, while in Port Burwell there are only 3.7 turbines. As such, 80% of residents in Port Burwell support turbines, compared to 63% in Clear Creek. Furthermore, only 3% of the Port Burwell sample claimed to experience health impacts they attribute to the turbines while 22% reported such health impacts in Clear Creek.’

    • Also the study did not examine the correlation between
      intelligence, socioeconomic status
      and prevalence of reports of adverse health effects
      in the environs of IWTs in the communities of
      Clear Creek and Port Burwell, Ontario.

  5. Didn’t even consider that the loss of a persons purchasing power due to high energy bills can cause a great deal of stress. Having to choose between food and freezing is not exactly an easy choice.

  6. Choices: Professor Baxter explains why it’s OK for your niece to inhale second-hand smoke:

    ‘[excerpt] Conclusions
    Our study gives further reason for developers and policy makers to be cautiously optimistic about the potential positive effects of careful attention to financial benefits arrangements in the local context, including community profit-sharing. Benefits regimes that include paying landowners hosting turbines while simultaneously providing nothing to other residents living closest to turbines is part of the problem. Alternatives might involve implementing smooth contours of financial benefits for homeowners outward from turbines rather than stark dots of all and nothing. Yet, in a context where people are choosing to not live in their own homes because of exposure to clusters of operating turbines, attention to mitigation should be also be priotitized. For example, those who are living among turbines that grossly violate existing setback regulations deserve immediate mitigation attention from policy makers and operators alike. This will require discipline from the latter two groups in particular, as it may seem far simpler in the context of existing institutional arrangements and cultures to fall back on the rhetoric that seems to readily discredit claims of harm.’

    • Exactly whose wind turbines are causing all this “harm”???
      Maybe the shareholders would like to know?

      • Good comments re Western University study … but unfortunately posted under the Horizon Wind information.

        Can this be fixed?

    • “financial benefits arrangements to those living closest to the turbines?!” I for one would not trade my health for any amount of money. Ignorant, unethical people would be the type to take money, then, go to church and pray on Sunday as they do in Norfolk County on the first concession.
      Just what amount of money would a wind company pay for a human life? Too bad for those who have already died. Yes, people have died. D-E-A-D God Bless.
      Oh, let’s not talk about THAT. It never happened, ahem.
      Shall we dedicate a turbine to each who gave their lives for the benefit of others??
      When you look at a turbine, think of a big white crucifix.
      Mike Crawley, prove your are not guilty of manslaughter. Can’t buy your way out of hell paper clip.

  7. Liberal ‘lawlessness’ – creates ‘confusion’;
    and, it’s all very ethical in the mind of –
    a Liberal ministry.

    What is a judge to do?
    How is it possible – to do nothing?

    ‘[excerpt] An Ontario court has declined to intervene in the Big Thunder wind farm project, after Horizon Wind applied for a judicial review, saying court applications by Fort William First Nation against various government ministries had created confusion.

    Horizon wanted the province to approve the project, but company director of Community and Public Affairs Kathleen MacKenzie said a judge on Friday decided not to issue any instructions to the Ministry of the Environment.

    “The court didn’t think it was appropriate for it to … step in at this point,” she said.

    “The court elected not to order any action from the MOE — not further consultations, not an end to consultations. It just said it was not going to substitute its judgement for that of the ministry.”’

    By the way – how’s former Minister of the Environment – Laurel Broten?
    Maybe she’s got answers?

    p.s. …….only the stench is left behind!

    Vote Conservative!

  8. Metcalf Foundation, Toronto
    Lists only one grant to University of Western Ontario
    Grantee: UWO, Environment, 2013, $36,800 & this is for all years for UWO/Western
    http://metcalffoundation.com/grants/who-we-fund
    Use search & enter;
    Western University & use all for this search.
    Could this be the grant for Jamie Baxter’s research funding?

    • Creativity!……..for prosperity
      Toolkits – sigh!

      Grantee: University of Western Ontario
      Website: http://www.uwo.ca
      Program: Environment
      Funding Stream: Green Prosperity Challenge
      Year: 2013
      Amount: $36,800
      Description: for Dr. Jamie Baxter to create toolkits for dialogue for potential turbine “host” communities and wind energy developers to improve turbine facility placement

      Vote Conservative!

      • Translation:
        Dr. Jamie Baxter to create toolkits for dialogue –
        …….to ‘Delphi’ – Ontario citizens to death.

        p.s. Like Mr. Hudak said in the legislature – Feb. 2014…..
        …..we don’t even need wind and solar.
        Kapeesh?

        Vote Conservative!…….and, end the insanity.

  9. ‘[excerpt]
    From: Media Relations
    Date: Wed, May 21, 2014 at 10:00 AM
    Subject: Western University wind turbine study cuts through rhetoric
    To:

    Western University wind turbine study cuts through rhetoric

    A new study from Western University researchers probes beyond pro- and anti-wind turbine rhetoric to better understand community dynamics in regards to turbine placement.

    Published in the journal Environment and Planning A, the study by Jamie Baxter and Chad Walker in Western’s Department of Geography titled, “Beyond rhetoric to understanding determinants of wind turbine support and conflict in two Ontario, Canada communities” examines data collected in Port Burwell and Clear Creek, Ontario.

    “Though a majority of residents support the turbines, this study focuses on how that majority interacts with those perceiving negative impacts, particularly related to health,” says Baxter.

    He says the findings, gleaned from 26 face-to-face interviews and 152 questionnaires, point to the need for greater attention to mitigating conflict by understanding how siting policies interact with social processes at the local level.

    “What distinguishes this study from our other published work on turbine communities is that we interviewed residents face-to-face and visited their homes to achieve a much more intimate understanding and feel for community dynamics,” says Baxter. “Bringing these interviews together with the survey, allowed us to determine if certain themes were present across these communities to help them and other communities reduce conflict and have more productive outcomes.”

    These themes include the need to eliminate rhetoric, better understand the effects of proximity and density of turbines around homes and to better share the financial benefits of turbines with those who live with them daily.

    “Governments and wind developers need to better understand the social dynamics of rural communities and avoid feeding into rhetoric that allows neighbours to ridicule concerned or impacted residents,” says Baxter. “Through our interviews with local residents we discovered that there is a willingness on both sides of the issue to listen to each other and work together, but that seems to be getting lost in a war of words.”‘

    • ‘[excerpt Media Release] [cont’d]
      Baxter’s team is continuing to research new ways to improve the siting process and distribution of benefits in wind turbine communities. More information on their research is available at http://coarep dot uwo dot ca.

      MEDIA CONTACT: Stephen Ledgley, Senior Media Relations Officer, 519-661-2111, ext. 85283, sledgley @ uwo.ca

      • COAREP – Communities Around Renewable Energy Projects

        ‘[excerpt] our Team

        Chad Walker

        Chad Walker is a PhD candidate in Geography and the Environment and Sustainability program at Western. He will use data from the “Toolkits for Turbine Communities” study for his PhD thesis. Chad was the lead researcher on the “Don Quixote” study involving two communities on the shores of Lake Erie living with turbines. That work comprised his Masters thesis and is now published in the journal Environment and Planning A.’

        http://coarep.uwo.ca/team.php

      • Study “cuts through rhetoric”?
        ‘[excerpt] Chad was the lead researcher on the “Don Quixote” study…’

      • ‘[excerpt] The treatment only makes the situation worse for individuals with concerns, said associate geography professor Jamie Baxter, one of the study’s authors.

        “If you get right down to the micro level of the community, life is not good for these people,” Baxter said Wednesday.’

        “UWO study: life not good for turbine neighbours”
        By John Miner, The London Free Press
        Wednesday, May 21, 2014

  10. Anonymous reviewers???

    ‘[excerpt] Acknowledgements: The authors would like to thank the residents of Clear Creek and Port Burwell who shared their views and three anonymous reviewers for their very helpful comments. The map is courtesy of Karen VanKerkoerle and the Cartography section in the Department of Geography. This research was funded by the University of Western Ontario.’

  11. How come OWR posters didn’t know about questions being asked of residents about IWTs at Clear Creek? Any information on this matter?

  12. Information on the matter…………I spy with my little eye!

    Focal point!
    Bringing – ‘bags of joy’ – into the community.
    How much [your choice word here] – ‘bags of joy’ – do you need?
    ……or more appropriately – want?

    Themes?

    Calculating ‘bags of joy’:
    “[excerpt] These themes include the need to eliminate rhetoric, better understand the effects of proximity and density of turbines around homes and to better share the financial benefits of turbines with those who live with them daily.’

    Clue:
    Financial benefits; and, each according to –
    [proximity and density of turbines around homes] – his need.

    @ ease Ontario!

    p.s. Premier Social Justice approves of – ‘corporate extortion’;
    buying jobs, or buying silence – is there a difference?

    Vote Conservative!

  13. Differences!

    And how they tampered with the evidence:

    ‘[excerpt] Feelings towards ‘the other’ and rhetorical conflict

    Rhetorical conflict, which we define as disrespect/contempt without direct confrontation, is one of the strongest interview themes. This theme developed initially in Port Burwell interviews where supporters would often make light of the problems of those opposed to wind turbines.

    Christine suggests that it is the type of person who “lives to be annoyed” who complains about wind turbines—a view shared by twelve Port Burwell interviewees:

    Christine (PB, support): “I mean that’s part of our society. A lot of people live to be annoyed. [laughter]. The older you get you realize that more. Like I myself am shocked at what people like to complain about. You know, we’re so blessed in this country and yet people continue to … complain about ridiculous things.”

    However, such residents may not always reflect critically on the impact of being so dismissive.

    For example, one written response we received from an interview participant through the member-checking process was about not having the right to “shrug off” opponents’ feelings:

    Anonymous (PB, support): “Upon reading the quotes (negative attitudes toward others) I realized how disrespectful I may have sounded (and probably was) in regard to the opponents. Although I cannot see or hear anything extremely terrible about the wind towers it does not give me the right to shrug off or criticize the thoughts and feeling of those who differ.”

    In contrast to Clear Creek residents, those in Port Burwell tended to attribute any changes in health to other causes like the “aging process”, but 14/16 we interviewed in Port Burwell also tended to ridicule the very idea that turbines cause health problems:

    Kelly (PB, support): “Like it is kind of a joke … . I think it was after we got your letter about doing this survey and we were standing there, and [husband] says “Well, you know I guess if you stood here long enough you’d get dizzy [laughter] looking up at them! Watching those blades go around”. And I go, ‘Ya I guess’ [laughter].”

    The environment of majority support seems to make it relatively easy to get caught up in the rhetoric of discrediting opposition. This is further corroborated by the survey results which show strong and significant differences in concern about conflict across the communities, with 45% of Clear Creek versus 16% of Port Burwell respondents agreeing community conflict is at “unacceptable levels”.’

    Reproduced the permission of Jamie Baxter.

    • Labels make it easier:

      ‘[excerpts]
      While there is a “plethora of negative media stories” about turbines (Warren and McFadyen, 2010), the academic literature does not contain much on the nuances of resistance in the words of the people living with turbines (Burningham, 2000). Instead, those who oppose turbine developments are tacitly or overtly cast in the role of barriers to sustainable energy development (Aitken, 2010a).

      In terms of rhetoric, objections to turbines are framed antagonistically as the provincial premier explained: “NIMBYism will no longer prevail” and “municipalities will no longer be able to reject wind turbines because they don’t like them” (Ferguson and Ferenc, 2009, page 1).

      Henry’s comments are representative of Clear Creek turbine opponents we interviewed and their anger, disappointment, and frustration contrast starkly with the tone of supporters:

      Henry (CC, oppose): “And they’ve [provincial Liberals] sort of ignored us. So … I don’t like that because that’s basically an insult to us. To call us to say that there’s no problem; because there is a problem. There’s a big problem and it’s affecting people and it’s affecting their health and who knows how it’s going to affect them in the long run.”

      That Health Canada is only now studying health impacts (Michaud, 2012) conjures both vindication and outrage for those opposed to turbines since those experiencing health problems claim to feel like guinea-pigs in an unethical experiment. The three of the eight people interviewed in Clear Creek who attributed experienced health effects to the turbines spoke of a range of negative experiences from “heart attack”-like symptoms (pain) to dizziness, sleep deprivation, and loss of balance:…
      The latter two felt we grossly underrepresented the impacts of turbines (particularly health)…

      One of the most unusual findings in our study is the central role played by health, mainly in Clear Creek. Though health is certainly raised as an issue in recent academic writing about the Ontario situation (Hill and Knott, 2010; Krogh et al, 2011; McMurtry, 2011) our study shows it can be a pivotal predictor of opposition. While some of those interviewed in Clear Creek spoke of dismayingly turbine-attributed health effects, others tended to dismiss or mock such claims. The latter phenomenon contributes to the asymmetry of impacts as such processes have served to reinforce the sense of despair felt by those already attributing their ill health to turbines. Thus, if noise and vibration are impacting sleep and health (Nissenbaum et al, 2012), the rhetoric of dismissing health claims as merely psychosomatic adds to the problem for these people. Indeed, dismissive rhetoric was spurred in recent media coverage of a manuscript by Chapman et al (2013) claiming health impacts from turbines are merely “psychogenic, communicated disease” (Smith, 2013). That this study was posted prior to peer review highlights both the high stakes in this domain and why nonsupporters feel besieged by stakeholders with access to more knowledge resources (Aitken et al, 2008).

      … we are suggesting a compounding effect, a vicious cycle of claims and counterclaims that serve to spiral downward the mental and physical well-being of residents, particularly those who—in this context—dare to oppose turbines. Further, we want to discourage distilling the health issue into an ‘either/or’ debate—one which suggests turbines do cause health effects or they do not, with no middle ground (Barry et al, 2008; Sher, 2012). We are suggesting that the psychosocial environment of conflict, rhetoric, and denigration simply makes things worse for concerned locals (Baxter, 2006; Murphy and Smith, 2013; Pedersen et al, 2007).

      Another quote from the provincial premier reinforces how this asymmetry is reproduced; by dismissing health impacts as ‘unreal’: “We’re going to say to Ontarians that it’s okay to object on the basis of safety issues and environmental standards; if you have real concerns there, put those forward and we must find a way to address those” (Ferguson and Ferenc, 2009, page 1)’

  14. Socio-economizing.
    Calculating your life’s worth: “less affluent”
    Grossly underrepresented!

    ‘[excerpts] The study area is mainly rural with two main centers: the village of Port Burwell and the hamlet of Clear Creek. The main industry has been agriculture (formerly tobacco) with about 15% of residents aged 15+ employed in agriculture or resource-based industries. The area is less affluent than the province with median incomes of $54 800 in the Municipality of Bayham (Port Burwell) and $62 100 in the County of Norfolk (Clear Creek/Frogmore/Cultus) compared with that of Ontario ($69 200). Likewise they differ from each other and the province in terms of education, with 46.5% and 31.6% not holding a diploma, certificate, or degree (Ontario average: 22.2%) (Statistics Canada, 2007).

    In the summer/fall of 2011 and the fall of 2012 we conducted face-to-face semistructured interviews with twenty-six adult residents (ten women and sixteen men): sixteen(1) in Port Burwell and eight in Clear Creek along with two policy experts.

    (1) Three of these people had turbines on their property with lease agreements that paid for the use of their land.

    The first set of interview participants were recruited with letters dropped off at randomly selected households from the 210 that were located within a 1 km radius of a turbine in Port Burwell—this being the distance beyond which audible-range turbine noise is supposedly difficult to differentiate (Ontario Ministry of the Environment, 2008). Consistent with grounded theory we also snowball sampled from existing interviewees. After member-checking,(3) which involves sending preliminary findings to interview participants (Baxter and Eyles, 1997), five more interviews were conducted in Clear Creek to further investigate the socialdynamics of opposition/support.

    (3) Of twelve member-check responses eight agreed with our preliminary findings; two people neither agreed nor disagreed; and two disagreed. The latter two felt we grossly underrepresented the impacts of turbines (particularly health), so we reengaged them in person and by e-mail to work through these issues.

    For the survey we selected randomly within a 2 km radius of turbines for a larger pool of potential participants and because concerned residents suggested 1 km was too limited. In February 2012 questionnaires were distributed to 178 households in Clear Creek and 306 households in Port Burwell. From these, seventy were returned from Clear Creek (39% response) and eighty-two from Port Burwell (27% response). We did not conduct follow-up drop-offs as we had contacted many of these households twice already.’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *