Ken and Sharon Kroeplin are appealing the approved Armow Wind project on grounds it poses a serious threat to their health.
If the project goes ahead, one of the Samsung-Pattern turbines will be built within 600 metres of the Kroeplin’s home.
“I am concerned with my health,” said Ken Kroeplin, in an interview Sunday. “There is too much propaganda out there that [industrial wind turbines] don’t cause any health problems.
“That is not true.”
He is worried he will be forced to leave his home like people in the Ripley and Underwood area have, Kroeplin said.
“People are moving out of theIr houses because they can’t live with it,” he said.
The Ministry of the Environment (MOE) approved the 92-turbine, 180 MW project on Oct. 16. The project area covers the northeastern portion of the Municipality of Kincardine from Highway 9 north towards Tiverton.
The Environmental Protection Act allows opponents to appeal approved renewable energy projects to an environmental review tribunal (ERT). Successful appeals must show a project will cause “serious harm to human health,” or “serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment.”
The Kroeplins are working on the appeal with HALT, a local anti-wind group, and Falconers LLP law firm.
HALT and Falconers are also involved in two other ERTs: Shawn and Tricia Drennan’s appeal of the K2 Power project south of Lucknow, and Scotty and Jennifer Dixon’s appeal of the St. Columban project near Seaforth.
“We saw [the appeals] as the only way to help people and stop it from happening to anyone else,” said HALT’s Kevin McKee in an interview Friday.
According to McKee, the Kroeplins will make their case on the same grounds as the K2 appeal, which argues the wind project violates the right to “security of the person” under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and has the potential to cause them serious health effects.
“There should be a moratorium until they know how far the setbacks should be,” said McKee. “We are not saying they shouldn’t build any turbines but they should be far enough from homes and families that nobody is affected, and we are seeing far too many health-affected people.”
Residents living near wind turbines have reported suffering from insomnia, ringing in the ears, headaches, and heart palpitations.
In response to the outcry, Health Canada started a study in May investigating the impact of low-frequency noise and vibrations from wind turbines, expected to be published in 2014.
In approving wind projects, the MOE cites the lack of a clear scientific explanation for turbine-related illness.
Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Arlene King, published a report in 2011, which found “the scientific evidence available to date does not demonstrate a direct causal link between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects.”
Many other studies conducted around the world have also failed to explain the reported illnesses.
But Grey-Bruce’s medical officer of health, Dr. Hazel Lynn, in a study released earlier this year, found that of 18 peer-reviewed studies, all revealed a correlation between wind turbines and distress among some people who live near them.
While the study didn’t conclude there was direct causation, Lynn called for increased setbacks and further study to better understand the correlation.
Ant-wind activists have offered numerous theories for the cause including infrasound, low-frequency noise, vibrations, the “flicker” effect, electromagnetic fields, stray voltage and “dirty electricity.”
None have satisfied an ERT appeal. All decisions have held that effects of wind turbines do not meet the legal test of harm.
In the first appeal, mounted to stop the Kent Breeze Wind Farm in 2011, the ERT found “legitimate concerns and uncertainties about the effects of wind turbines on human health” but – because of a lack of peer-reviewed research – could not conclude that turbines would significantly harm human health or the environment.
The Municipality of Kincardine council passed a wind power development policy in 2011, establishing setbacks of 800 metres from residences and three kilometres from primary settlements.
But the province’s Green Energy Act (GEA) removed local planning authority related to renewable energy projects, so Samsung-Pattern is not obligated to follow Kincardine’s setback policy.
At a meeting of Kincardine council in December 2011, a representative of Pattern-Samsung said the Armow project would be reduced to only five turbines if they followed the policy.
At least 76 other municipalities in Ontario have passed resolutions, motions and bylaws aimed at restricting wind turbine developments.
The Armow Wind project is a partnership between Samsung Renewable Energy Inc. and Pattern Renewable Holdings Canada ULC.
The project is expected to pay out $10 million in property taxes over a 20-year period, and create up to 200 construction jobs and 15 permanent jobs during its operation. Construction is expected to take 12 to 18 months. If the appeal fails, the project could be operational by 2015.
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