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Critics want moratorium on wind power projects pending Health Canada study

OTTAWA – Progressive Conservative energy critic Vic Fedeli is demanding that Ontario’s Liberal government implement a moratorium on all wind-energy development until the results of a Health Canada study exploring wind turbine health effects is completed.

Speaking alongside Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod in North Gower on Tuesday, Fedeli said the government needs to listen to the hundreds of people across Ontario complaining of negative health effects due to wind turbines.

“We want to see the science of the ill effects of wind on people’s health before the government keeps continuing these projects,” said Fedeli.

With a moratorium, the wind projects would be put on hold until 2014, when the Health Canada study is expected to be published.

Health Canada announced on July 10 that it will conduct a peer-reviewed study exploring the health effects reported by people living in proximity to wind power developments.

The study was welcomed by wind power opponents, including Jane Wilson, the president of the anti-wind group Wind Concerns Ontario.

Wilson said she constantly hears complaints from people suffering from negative health effects, including severe migraines and lack of sleep, due to the proximity of the wind turbines.

One resident she spoke with, a nursing teacher at a local college whose home is surrounded by 30 turbines, was forced to quit her job because the effects of the wind turbines were making her sick.

“She was awake all night, had constant migraine headaches, and couldn’t cope with it any more,” said Wilson.

Wilson refers to North Gower, an area home to a wind development project that includes dozens of wind turbines, as “the sacrificial zone.”

“There was a giant recall on Jeep cars that was only based on a few complaints,” said Wilson. “Here in Ontario, you have hundreds and hundreds of people that are sick and yet they continue to build these turbines.”

Fedeli has also called for the abolishment of the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program, which subsidizes the development of renewable energy projects.

“The government overpays on the FIT program,” said Fedeli. “One of the highest payments for developers anywhere in the world is made here in Ontario.”

But Fedeli insists the Conservative party is not opposed to renewable energy.

“No one in the PC party is against green energy,” said Fedeli. “In fact, we know that green energy is what has made Ontario strong over the last hundred years. That energy has been water power.”

Fedeli said the Conservatives are interested in maintaining nuclear as the primary source of power for the province, but also looking into investing more in water power.

“There are 2,200 potential water power sites in Ontario,” said Fedeli. “It’s the cleanest, greenest, most reliable but, primarily, it’s the most affordable source of renewable energy.”