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Stop wind farms from polluting wells

How would you react if one day you turned on your tap and murky, black water came out?

Would you keep using the water, hoping that it would clear up?

Would you call the city and complain?

What if the city did nothing to help you?

Well, this is happening in many parts of rural Ontario, and especially in Chatham-Kent. The only difference is that it’s not tap water, but well water – many people’s only source for drinking, bathing and washing clothes.

In and around my riding, water wells surrounding the North Kent wind farm project have become clogged with sediment.

Citizens are worried.

Installing industrial wind turbines means pile driving massive steel beams into the bedrock.

The problem is that the bedrock is made of Kettle Point black shale which is known to contain lead, uranium, and arsenic.

Vibration from the pile driving breaks up this toxic shale below the groundwater and contaminates it. Rural water wells are being poisoned as the government continues to allow the pile driving.

Having visited farms and spoken with affected residents where the water is bad, I have seen the effects first hand. A jar of well water sits on my desk at Queen’s Park right now. A thick layer of black particles is clearly visible.

Families who have been affected are determined to find out what was going on. They were granted a hearing before the Environmental Review Tribunal, but the government has taken little action. In fact, officials keep saying there’s nothing wrong with the water. Construction of wind turbines continues even though scientific tests at several farms show that well water has been contaminated.

Now, I understand that wind turbines are supposed to help the environment. I have my doubts about wind energy, but in principle I agree that we should avoid harming the environment.

This is why contaminating our groundwater is so upsetting.

Ordinarily, citizens would go public, and complain loudly. But not in this case.

Wind farm companies have put non-disclosure agreements into their contracts. They do this in order to prevent residents from talking about health hazards and pollution connected with building wind farms.

I think this is wrong.

In order to solve this problem, and restore accountability, I’ve brought forward a private member’s bill, which is designed to prevent companies from putting non-disclosure agreements into wind farm contracts.

But we can’t stop there.

A PC government will be determined to ensure environmental safety, and I will keep pushing for a thorough investigation into the North Kent wind farm.

We need to get to the bottom of what is happening and solve the problem once and for all.

 – Nicholls is PC MPP for Chatham-Kent-Essex