A renewed demand for an immediate ban in Ontario of all future wind turbine construction was issued Tuesday by Chatham-Kent Essex MPP Rick Nicholls.
“Stop the madness,” the Tory MPP said in an interview with The Daily News Tuesday.
Nicholls said the need for a moratorium is especially important in light of Tuesday’s federal government’s announcement calling for a study to evaluate the relationship between wind turbine noise and potential health effects.
“No less than federal minister of health has said this issue deserves deeper consideration,” said Nicholls.
“The situation is getting very serious,” said Nicholls. “I’m receiving many calls from constituents complaining about noise and ill health effects from wind turbines near their homes.”
He said that in some cases, the conditions being reported by families living near turbines are terrible to hear.
“Every family in Chatham-Kent Essex deserves peace of mind on this issue, but Premier Dalton McGuinty and Energy Minister Chris Bentley have continually ignored families in this area.
Nicholls said it’s time for the McGuinty government to “get serious” about the situation and call a halt to all future wind turbine development.
“That includes the 125 new wind turbines in the pre-construction stage between Blenheim and Tilbury,” he said.
The Samsung-Pattern project has received tentative approval from the Ontario Energy Board to proceed with the proposed multi-million dollar project.
Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said Tuesday the federal government wants to look at health effects reported by people living near wind power developments because of growing concerns.
“This study is in response to questions from residents living near wind farms about possible health effects of low frequency noise generated by wind turbines,” she said, in a prepared statement.
Health Canada said it is “aware of health-related complaints” from individuals living in close proximity to wind turbines.
The study will focus, initially, on a sample size of 2,000 homes picked from eight to 12 wind turbines in Canada.
Part of the research will include obtaining medical information, such as blood pressure, from the residents, as well as face-to-face interviews and noise measurements from inside and outside homes.
The study results are expected in 2014.
“I fully support the study but we can’t wait until 2014 for the results,” said Nicholls. “Action is needed now to halt all further construction until many questions are answered.”
Nicholls said the province hasn’t listened to the Conservatives and NDP who have been calling for a moratorium, but should listen now to Ottawa’s concerns.
The MPP said his opposition to wind turbines goes far beyond health concerns.
“They are driving up the cost of electricity in Ontario, killing jobs and making the province less competitive,” he said.
Nicholls said there have been times in recent months when the province had to pay other jurisdictions, including Quebec, Michigan and New York State, to take the excess electricity being produced in Ontario.
“The money being used to subsidize the wind turbine companies isn’t government money – it’s taxpayer money,” he said. “It’s got to stop.”
Nicholls said his remarks won’t be appreciated by Chatham-Kent Mayor Randy Hope, who has led the green energy charge in Ontario.
“But that’s okay,” he said. “I was elected to speak on behalf of my constituents and to try and create jobs. The MPP said there are currently more than 300 wind turbines in operation in Chatham-Kent with close to 200 in the works.
“Again, I say lets stop the madness now,” he said.
Hope said he had no problem with the federal sturdy being conducted, but doesn’t want it to hold up wind turbine projects in the works.
The mayor said Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s acting medical officer of health, has told the municipality that, in his opinion, wind turbines present no serious health threat to nearby residents.
The province imposed a moratorium on all offshore wind farms in February claiming more scientific research on its impact was needed.
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