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Greenwashing confuses issue of industrial wind turbines  

Credit:  The Manitoulin Expositor, www.manitoulin.ca 17 November 2010 ~~

It amazes me the amount of green-washing the wind industry continues to unleash on the public to cloud the adverse effects of industrial wind turbines (IWTs).

If wind farms are good for the environment, then why do they have to destroy so much land and be placed in key habitat areas impacting entire ecosystems? Little regard is taken for adjacent landowners, vacant land, and non-participants. Ontario has the shortest setbacks of IWTs to fence lines in the world. Companies such as Northland Power say they follow process, but wind companies keep influencing government policy to change the rules in their favour.

On the health issue, the chief medical officer of health for Ontario, Dr. Arlene King, is continually misquoted as stating there are no health effects from IWTs. When her report was released she, in fact, admitted that people living near IWTs experience annoyance and sleep disturbance, although she found “there is no evidence available to date of a direct causal relationship between wind turbines and adverse health effects.” Furthermore, hers is an old report by today’s standard and is not a peer-reviewed scientific study. The latest study from Maine is being independently analyzed for validity and will be submitted in the next few weeks to a peer-reviewed journal. This will show a strong relationship between the proximity of IWTs and ill health.

Wind companies also state that 550 people a year in Ontario die from coal-generated pollution. There is no evidence that directly relates Ontario coal emissions to respiratory-caused fatality. The air quality is, in fact, better now than it was 40 years ago.

The majority of coal-related emissions come to Ontario from the Ohio Valley. Ontario has two coal plants where one half of the units are outfitted with up-to-date scrubber technology. This further use of scrubbers was stopped to push the “green agenda” with excessive higher costs of electricity to everyone.

Another example of greenwash is the Renewable Energy Matters Campaign outline of October 18. The Sussex Strategy is a leaked document from a Liberal-connected PR firm subsidized by energy interest groups, whose admitted goal is to “confuse” the issue on renewable energy. This Sussex group targets specific communities to promote their greenwash product to mislead the public. They admit that, “No significant job increases have been realized due to renewables, and electricity rates have increased 36 percent over the 2009 hydro bill.”

The Green Energy Act is all about corporate profit where the Feed In Tariff is hidden in the delivery charge on our hydro bills. IWTs produce when power is not necessarily needed and do not necessarily produce when it is required. However, wind companies continue to be paid when power produced is not utilized.

American journalist Robert Bryce states, “Since there is no technology for mass storage of electricity, the power produced from wind cannot contribute substantially to electricity supply let alone replace base load.”

I would like to comment on the greenwash our MPP, Mike Brown. At the recent Save Our Algoma Region meeting in Sault St. Marie, he said he was “not aware of any objections raised in his community with regard to wind projects.” Let me assure you, Mike Brown has been in receipt of all our mailings and has even responded to our members through regular mail. The countless letters of opposition to IWTs on Manitoulin outlined in articles in this paper, and the First Nations opposition to the Northland Power McLean’s Mountain Wind Project, shows just how out of touch he is with this issue—or in complete denial.

Communities across Ontario are now considering declaring themselves a wind farm-free area, recognizing that there will be few places left in this province to enjoy peaceful, natural places. I am confident that Manitoulin residents will not be swayed by industry and government greenwash.

Raymond Beaudry

Manitoulin Coalition for Safe Energy Alternatives

McLean’s Mountain

Source:  The Manitoulin Expositor, www.manitoulin.ca 17 November 2010

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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