Opponents of a wind energy development on Amherst Island are appealing two recent decisions about industrial developments near the island.
In late August the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change rejected a pair of requests from the Association to Protect Amherst Island.
The association had asked for a full environmental assessment of the TransCanada Napanee Generating Station.
TransCanada is in the early stages of developing a 900-megawatt natural gas-fuelled electricity generating station on the site of the Lennox Generating Station.
The group had also asked for an assessment of the cumulative impact of four planned or existing industrial projects near the island, including the existing Lennox generating station, the proposed TransCanada project, a planned upgrade of the Lafarge cement plant and the proposed Windlectric wind energy development on the island.
Instead, the MOE accepted a TransCanada study that showed noise from the new generating station would be acceptable.
APAI is appealing both decisions to Environment Minister Glen Murray.
John Harrison, a Queen’s University professor emeritus in physics and a member of APAI, said the TransCanada study did not account for fact that the sound would travel across water.
“In my view they pulled numbers out of the air to come up with a noise assessment for the north shore of the the island that just so happens to satisfy the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change guidelines on noise,” Harrison said.
Harrison’s own research showed that for part of the time, residents living along the north shore of the island would be exposed to noise levels above acceptable levels.
More of the island would be exposed to unacceptable levels of noise due to cumulative noise from the industry close to the island, he added.
Harrison rejected the TransCanada study, which he said was conducted in November 2013, the windiest month between September 2013 and August 2014 which saw high winds and waves.
Harrison also said that the Ontario government has refused to accept research conducted in European countries into how sound propagates over water.
“As a scientist it just appalls me that there is knowledge out there that the government doesn’t use because it doesn’t suit its purposes,” he said.
“In Europe at least, this is not only known but accepted and here we have our Ontario government asking for request for proposals to study this.”
Earlier this month, the Ontario Environment Ministry announced it would fund a study of noise impact from offshore wind farms.
Another study would look at requirements for decommissioning such projects.
Harrison said Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany have all studied the noise impact from offshore wind turbines.
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