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Suit alleges wind turbine harming family’s health

TORONTO – A rural Ontario family has launched a $1.5-million lawsuit against a major energy corporation, claiming severe health effects from an industrial wind turbine farm located a kilometre from their home.

“It’s just been a horrific four months,” said Lisa Michaud at her lawyer’s office in downtown Toronto.

She says she and her husband, Michel, and their two adult children have experienced nausea, dizziness, extreme vertigo and sleeping problems since the eight-turbine Suncor Kent Breeze wind farm was built in Thamesville, about 270 kilometres west of Toronto.

The family reports hearing a constant rattling from the closest turbine to their home and, at times, feeling the vibrations it makes through their bodies.

According to Michaud, the health effects have forced the family to go on medication and visit the emergency room.

She said the turbines have created a “tunnel effect” on the family’s home, although she admits that not all of their neighbours experience similar symptoms.

The lawsuit, filed earlier this week with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, names Kent Breeze Corp., MacLeod Windmill Project Inc. and Suncor Energy Services as defendants. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

This project is the first industrial wind energy project approved under Ontario’s controversial Green Energy Act.

The Suncor Kent Breeze wind farm was also the subject of a legal challenge by a group of farmers in July. In a 223-page ruling striking down the motion, Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal called for further study into the health effects of wind farms, admitting there was little evidence out there.

The Michaud family said it will drop the lawsuit if the turbines are removed.

“It’s our home,” said Michel Michaud. “We don’t want to move from there.”

Last year, Ontario’s chief medical officer released a report examining 42 studies from Canada, Britain, Ireland, Italy and the U.S. and found that there was no evidence of adverse health effects associated with wind energy turbines being built near homes.

Despite this, opponents of the projects claim that turbines emit a low frequency noise which can result in hypertension, leading to heart disease.