All three levels of government in the City of Kawartha Lakes are opting for a cautionary yellow light when it comes to the 15 industrial wind turbines proposed for the former Manvers Township.
Since Health Canada announced it will study the impact of turbines on human health, MP Barry Devolin has called for a moratorium on wind energy project in Ontario until the results of the study are released to the public, a move endorsed by MPP Laurie Scott and Ward 16 Coun. Heather Stauble late last week.
Devolin’s call came on the heels of Health Canada’s decision to extend the submission period for public input to Sept. 7.
The research study will see Health Canada, in collaboration with Statistics Canada, explore the relationship between wind turbine noise and health effects reported by people living near wind power developments.The study will be focused on an initially targeted sample size of 2,000 dwellings selected from eight to 12 wind turbine installation facilities in Canada. In addition to taking physical measurements from participants, such as blood pressure, investigators will conduct face-to-face interviews and take noise measurements inside and outside of some homes to validate sound modelling.
ìI am pleased that Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq committed to putting the health of Canadians first,” Devolin said in a press release. “The residents of Manvers Township and Cavan-Monaghan deserve to know the potential impacts of industrial windmills in their communities. This federal study should provide reliable information in this regard.î
“This decision is of particular importance to me because of the number of proposed industrial wind developments in the southern portion of my riding. Over the past number of years, many of my constituents have raised concerns over the possible health implications for those living near turbines. As such, I encourage local residents to provide feedback on Health Canadaís website.”
“Due to increasing reports of health problems, a lack of consensus on this issue, and the need for properly designed clinical research, I join my colleagues calling on Premier McGuinty to place a moratorium on all further wind projects until conclusive evidence from Health Canada can definitively show that there are no adverse health risks associated with living in close proximity to industrial wind turbines,” Devolin said.
The results of the study are expected to be published by 2014.
Scott said she was pleased that Devolin and other MP’s are calling for a moratorium.
She said the call follows earlier efforts at Queenís Park by herself and other PC party MPP’s.
ìThe McGuinty Liberals need to wake up and stop forcing wind turbines on unwilling communitiesî, Scott said in a press release. ìThe constituents in my riding deserve better from the McGuinty Liberals. All further development of wind turbines should be put on hold until further research is done.î
Stauble said that earlier this year, the federal government was considering adopting the Ontario guidelines but the plan was abandoned and “they did acknowledge the importance of conducting the research.”
She added that “it is important that the research is designed properly; that independent experts are brought into this study to help design and conduct the research; that the research is done independently and at arms length from the wind industry and that the research is conducted by the Canadian Institute of Health Research, the research arm of the government.
“The Wind Energy Association have a vested interest and they need to stay out of the design … the tobacco companies should not have been the authority on research on cancer and cigarettes. This is research on health.It needs to be well designed and should be done by independent experts who are not paid by the wind industry.
“Until we have the results of this health study, the province needs to call a moratorium on industrial wind turbines. No more approvals, no more construction.”
Paul Reid of Manvers Wind Concerns also applauded Devolin.
“It certainly is welcome news that our federal MP is now coming to the aid of his constituents in calling for a moratorium in industrial wind turbine installations. Hopefully pressure will continue from all quarters on the McGuinty government to stand down while Health Canada investigates. It is clear now that the precautionary principal ought to apply. Stop approvals until the facts are in. If it is determined by Health Canada that deeper setbacks from homes and/or more stringent sound emissions are required, so be it.”
The Canadian Wind Energy Assocation said that calls for a moratorium pending results of studies are not warranted “because the balance of scientific and medical evidence to date clearly concludes that sound from wind turbines does not adversely impact human health.”
ìThe vast majority of Canadians choose wind energy as a top source for clean and safe new electricity. When discussing an issue as important as our energy future we must look at the facts. It is clear that the balance of research and experience to date ñ including hundreds of thousands of people living and working near wind turbines in 89 countries around the world concludes that wind energy does not adversely impact human health,î said Chris Forrest, vice-president of communications.
“These conclusions are backed by a growing body of work, including reports by Ontarioís Chief Medical Officer of Health, the National Public Health Institute in Quebec, and most recently by an expert panel report to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Department of the Environment. An Oracle Research poll conducted this year found that 78 per cent of Ontarians believe that wind energy is one of the safest forms of electricity generation. According to Dr. Robert Oliphant, President and CEO of the Asthma Society of Canada, “In all forms, renewable energy is a safe and healthy alternative to fossil fuels.”
But Stabule said the industry had failed to acknowledge the most recent 11 studies.
CanWEA, though, said ìWind energy is broadly understood to be one of the safest and most environmentally friendly forms of electricity generation around the world. The wind energy industry is working collaboratively with all levels of government and stakeholders to ensure jobs, investments and affordable clean energy continue flowing into communities across the country. A moratorium would prevent thousands of individuals, landowners and dozens of municipalities and First Nations groups from participating in the clean energy economy. CanWEA continues to work with all governments as well as scientific and medical experts to review all new credible information on the subject of wind energy and human health.”
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