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Wind turbine study timing curious

The Ontario government’s December 16 press release relates to a report commissioned by the Ministry of the Environment and written by HGC, an engineering firm. The timing of this press release is curious, as it appears the same report was in draft form in August 2010 then submitted as a Final Draft December 2010 by the MOE as evidence during the Environmental Review Tribunal and finally to the public in August 2011. Why would it suddenly warrant a press release in December 2011? Could it be an attempt to divert attention from the upcoming appeal hearing in the Watford area for the Zephyr wind project?

Statements about ‘no direct health effects’ are a red herring, because it is acknowledged by international experts (including experts called upon by the MOE and wind energy proponents) that wind turbines cause adverse health effects via the ‘indirect’ pathway. Even Mr. Howe (of HGC) acknowledged under oath at the 2011 Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) that indirect effects are still ‘something that can occur’.

The press release raises a number of questions:

– When it comes to health, why is the government commissioning reports and relying on information generated by an engineering firm, who is a member of the Canadian Wind Energy Association?

– Why are desk top literature reviews still the government’s method of choice to address concerns rather than properly designed independent field epidemiology studies performed by qualified epidemiology experts?

– Why was the press release issued now, when the referenced report was compiled in 2010?

The press release and report unfortunately do no justice to the families who have already been impacted and displace from their homes at projects throughout the province due to adverse health effects.

It is important to reiterate that, after weeks of testimony from experts around the world in 2011, the Environmental Review Tribunal for the Kent Breezes project concluded:

“This case has successfully shown that the debate should not be simplified to one about whether wind turbines can cause harm to humans. The evidence presented to the tribunal demonstrated that they can, if facilities are placed too close to residents. The debate has now evolved to one of degree.”

J. Morris, Woodstock