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Huron East supports new push for wind moratorium  

A letter from Arran-Elderslie points out that nearly 80 municipalities have now requested that the Ontario government impose a moratorium on industrial wind turbines.

Credit:  By Susan Hundertmark, The Huron Expositor, www.seaforthhuronexpositor.com 22 February 2012 ~~

Huron East is supporting a resolution from Arran-Elderslie again asking the premier of Ontario to declare a moratorium on the construction of industrial wind turbines until the concerns of rural communities are addressed.

But, Huron East councillors have not agreed to walk out on the premier at the ROMA/OGRA conference on Feb. 26 if the moratorium is not announced before the conference begins.

Citing health concerns, devaluation of property, decimation of rural landscape, lack of municipal authority over planning and the rising costs of electricity as concerns related to industrial wind turbines, the Arran-Elderslie resolution states that municipalities “in opposition to the autocratic and dictatorial processes utilized by the government in establishing the Green Energy Act shall leave the room immediately” when the premier speaks “in a show of solidarity to once again demonstrate to our provincial government our frustration, anger and disappointment over their complete and total mishandling of the Green Energy Act and industrial wind turbines in particular.”

“I don’t support the walking out. How do we know he (Premier Dalton McGuinty) won’t announce the moratorium at the conference?” said Deputy-Mayor Joe Steffler at Huron East’s Feb. 7 meeting.

Steffler added that the rural municipalities leaving the room will not have much of an effect with the large number of urban municipal representatives at the conference.

“It will be like spitting into the ocean with the amount of people there from rural Ontario,” he said.

Tuckersmith Coun. Les Falconer said he thought Huron East should walk out with Arran-Elderslie.

A letter from Arran-Elderslie points out that nearly 80 municipalities have now requested that the Ontario government impose a moratorium on industrial wind turbines.

Gerry Ryan, a member of Huron East Against Turbines (HEAT) who attended the last meeting of the Inter-Municipal Wind Turbine Working Group in Chesley as a representative of the municipality, also spoke about the Arran-Elderslie resolution.

“The group is trying to encourage more municipalities to join to act as one body to save rural Ontario from what’s happening,” he said. “Others are in exactly the same place as you are and you can work together as a group.”

Grey ratepayer Dennis Mueller, who attended the Feb. 7 meeting to protest the interconnection lines planned to go past his McNabb Line home as they travel between the proposed St. Columban wind project and a transmission station in Wroxeter, also asked Huron East to support the resolution asking for a moratorium and an independent health study.

“I would like to see this council have a meaningful discussion towards voting for this motion and McNabb Line would like to see council endorse this motion,” said Mueller.

Mueller told councillors that he is worried about the possibility of stray voltage and high electromagnetic field levels affecting the health of his three children when a 34.5 kV line is buried as close as 31 feet from his home. Pointing out that there are no setback regulations regarding the infrastructure of industrial wind turbines, he said he has discovered “disturbing findings with regard to power lines being too close to dwellings.”

Presenting a petition with 43 names, Mueller said he could get no answers from Veresen about why the wind company is choosing a route where 72 families are affected when another route affecting 27 residences is possible.

“You do have the ability to make Veresen go a less populated route which is just as close geographically,” he told council.

“This interconnection line invites future turbine development, could pose health risks (as proven in the Ripley project) and will devalue my property (as MSL nor requires property sellers to indicate proximity to wind projects) and the municipality stands to gain from all of this? This is certainly opening our municipality up for possible legal action (especially if it is allowed to go past three times the amount of residences),” he said in a letter he also presented to council.

Tuckersmith Coun. Les Falconer asked if anyone from Veresen or St. Columban Energy LP has come out to the Mueller residence to “see your situation” and Mueller responded they had not.

“Try to get them up to your property and see what’s going on there. You’re doing good work,” said Falconer.

Tuckersmith Coun. Larry McGrath said he thought the interconnection lines should be going a different route but recommended that Mueller do a reading of his home for stray voltage before the lines are installed so that those levels can be compared after the lines are in place.

Mueller responded that he has already made arrangements to do so, along with an up-to-date property assessment and a medical check-up of all his family members.

“That’s the reality of the Ontario we’re living in these days. It’s scary,” he said.

McKillop Coun. Bill Siemon told Mueller that Huron East council is going to try to get St. Columban Energy LP to pay the municipality so that if any of the residents end up with health problems, the municipality will have a fund to help them.

“There are a number of things we can do with cost recovery that is going to look out for your interests,” he said.

Siemon added later in the meeting that while he had a discussion with Jose Menendez, of St. Columban Energy LP, and learned that the wind company doesn’t want to pay the municipality anything in the form of a community vibrancy fund, Siemon wants to hold the company to $5,000 per kilometre of interconnection line.

“They should put up a bond so that if people are sick and having to move out of their homes, we have something to deal with it. We have to tie these people down as tight as we can,” he said.

Steffler told Mueller that the municipality’s hands are tied by the Green Energy Act.

“We can’t forbid them from going down your road. We can do what we can but we can’t go beyond that,” he said.

But, Falconer later suggested that Huron East needs to get working on its opposition to the interconnection line going through Cranbrook.

“If we don’t want the lines to go through Cranbrook, we should be working on that as soon as possible,” he said.

Clerk-Administrator Brad Knight said Huron East has begun its 90-day municipal consultation period when it can focus on its concerns with the wind project and its infrastructure.

He added that St. Columban Energy LP has indicated to him that there are reasons why they have chosen the route they have.

“The answer we got is they don’t want it going up like a snake and you can see some of the logic of that,” he said.

Source:  By Susan Hundertmark, The Huron Expositor, www.seaforthhuronexpositor.com 22 February 2012

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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