The Ontario government is using its residents as subjects in an experiment with wind turbines, says the lawyer for a Huron County farm couple.
That’s wrong, says Julian Falconer; and he gave notice Tuesday that his clients intend to file a lawsuit in 60 days that would block a proposed wind farm until a federal study into the health effects of wind turbines is completed.
His clients, Shawn and Tricia Drennan, raise crops and feed hogs on a 300-acre operation started by Shawn’s grandfather in 1922.
The proposed wind farm would, they say, place a dozen turbines and a big transformer station within two kilometres of their farm.
It would also surround their property with high voltage electric lines.
Falconer told reporters Tuesday that the development, which is in the late stages of getting provincial approval, should be halted pending completion of a federal health study.
That study, announced in July, won’t be completed until 2014.
“No government – Conservative, NDP or Liberal – should ever feel entitled to subject its citizens to experiments,” Falconer said.
Yet that, in effect, is what will happen if the wind farm is built before the results of the health study are known.
“We generally know first and act second,” said Falconer. “Here, we act first and know second.”
Falconer said the law requires the Drennans to give the province 60 days notice before formally filing a legal action.
His legal notice, sent to the province Monday, argues that the Drennans’ right to security of the person under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is being violated.
The wind farm also interferes with their freedom of expression – farming – under the Charter, he argues.
The notice to the province says the installation of turbines close to the Drennans’ home “has the potential to cause serious health effects,” including sleep disturbance, cardiovascular disease, headaches, dizziness and psychological illness.
Falconer said the wind development is likely to severely devalue the Drennan farm. Since the farm needs credit to operate, and the credit is based on the value of the farm, the wind turbines threaten its financial viability, he said.
A spokesperson for energy minister Chris Bentley wouldn’t comment directly on the action, but noted that Ontario’s medical officer of health Dr. Arlene King has found no link between health problems and wind turbines.
The Drennans have been trying to get King to testify about her findings in a separate proceeding, but she has declined. A court has ordered her to appear, but she is seeking leave to appeal.
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