They’re in a fight that could shape wind power in Ontario, billions of dollars of investment and the green reputation of Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals.
Two UWO academics are clashing over wind farms, each accusing the other’s followers of demonizing their cause and bastardizing science.
A champion for those who believe wind turbines are making them sick, Dr. Bob McMurtry was dean of the medical school at the University of Western Ontario from 1992 to 1999.
His wind adversary is Dr. David Colby, an associate professor and medical officer of health in Chatham-Kent who believes the health link is more science fiction than science.
Their clash is more than academic: McMurtry expects both will end up as witnesses on opposing sides in what he hopes will be a landmark case out of Prince Edward County in Eastern Ontario challenging Ontario’s Green Energy Act, which threw open the door for wind farms as part of a plan to ween Ontario off coal-fired power plants.
* Green Energy Act: Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario government passed the Act in 2009 with the goal of eliminating coal plants and creating 50,000 “green energy” jobs over three years. The act made it much easier for green energy companies to build facilities and takes away the ability of cities and towns to block wind, solar and biofuel generation.
* Legal challenge: A Prince Edward County man has challenged the Act, asking the courts to not allow wind turbines within two kilometres of a dwelling, nearly four times as far as the current buffer of 550 metres.
* Local opposition: Wind farms in the London region have drawn some opposition in rural communities and that circle of concern is growing in the face of proposals for wind turbines in offshore in Lake Huron, something that would affect city dwellers with lakefront cottages.
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