News a government study investigating the health effects of wind turbines has been revised is “too little, too late,” says a local group opposed to these kinds of developments.
“We know people are suffering. There are scientists that have done peer-review research into why that is happening, but that is being completely ignored,” Joan Morris, a director of the East Oxford Community Alliance, said during a phone call Thursday. “They are studying what exposures might be safe, but at the moment we have people suffering,”
The East Oxford Community Alliance was formed by a group of neighbours and community members opposed to the wind turbine development proposed for Gunn’s Hill in Norwich Township. The project, being developed by ProWind Canada Inc., was awarded a Feed-in Tariff contract by the provincial government and is currently finishing reports required before construction can begin.
The study being conducted by Health Canada and Statistics Canada was revised after close to 1,000 comments were received during a 60-day public consultation period ending in September 2012, a government press release issued Tuesday stated
The changes to the study include an assessment of infrasound and modifications to the questionnaire to be administered by Statistics Canada. The expert committee includes specialists in noise, health assessment, clinical medicine and epidemiology.
A sample size of 2,000 homes will be selected from eight to 12 wind farm sites 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 modeling.
The results of the study are not anticipated until late 2014.
Morris questioned why wind turbine development, construction and operation aren’t ceasing while the study is ongoing.
“If there’s something wrong with our water, we stop using it. If there’s something wrong with the meat, we pull it from the shelves,” she said. “We want a moratorium because we have personally met and been in communication with people that can no longer live in their homes. They have to sleep or live in the basements of their home because that’s the only place they can get some sort of restorative sleep.”
If timelines are adhered to, the 10-turbine project slated for Gunn’s Hill, near Morris’ home, will most likely be operational before the government’s study is complete.
“It’s one step in the right direction but it’s like putting a band aid on a hemorrhage at this point,” she said. “When they are continuing to build when they know some people are suffering adverse health affects, they need to acknowledge that thousands more are going to be effected. It’s very concerning from an ethical and moral standpoint that our government would go forward with this.”
Morris said legal action is something she contemplates.
Recently, a group of residents in Port Ryerse in Norfolk County filed a lawsuit against UDI Renewables of Nanticoke and neighbours who leased land for the wind development.
According to a filing in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the plaintiffs are seeking a “permanent injunction restraining the construction and operation” of the UDI project, and “compensatory damages” from UDI in the amount of $3.25 million “for negligence, nuisance and trespass.” The plaintiffs are also seeking $3.25 million from the defendants who have leased land to UDI. On top of this, the plaintiffs are seeking “punitive, exemplary and aggravated and mental distress damages in the amount of $1 million” from UDI and its clients in Port Ryerse. The action is a response to UDI’s plan to construct four wind turbines in the Port Ryerse area.
“We are looking at all options. We have been speaking to legal counsel. We are certainly considering all our options. Everyday new information is coming to light helping us understand what options might be available to us,” she said. “It seems the way the governments have approached this and the way they aren’t responding to concerns. It seems the only issue that might get traction is legal at this point.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding