Wind power blows in more opponents
The Glencoe Transcript & Free Press – Hayter-Walden Publications Inc.
By Marie Williams-Gagnon
17 September 2009
The guest speakers described the effects wind turbines have had on their own health and that of their neighbours, some ashamed that they had actually allowed one on their own property and had not investigated further.
The standing-room-only crowd packed into the Adelaide-W.G. MacDonald elementary school gymnasium on Wednesday evening, September 9 to learn more in a session hosted by the Middlesex Wind Action Group.
Forty turbines are in the works for the former Adelaide township, including 16 within a 3 km radius of the school itself. A group of the opponents had approached the Thames Valley District School Board the previous evening.
Moderator Rose Keunan explained that there are 128 turbines presently planned for Middlesex County, the majority in the Adelaide and greater Parkhill areas with land still being signed.
Nikki Horton spoke about her experiences living on a wind farm in Port Alma. She presented what she referred to as a “Victim Impact Statement” from experiences of living with 15 turbines close to her family’s home. Admitting that they were not concerned about the erection of the turbines until her husband began to complain about sleeplessness, she also began to experience the same symptom, accompanied with the vibration in her heart and joints. They are also noticing changes in their young sons.
Horton said that the family is now borrowing money to soundproof their home and warned parents that the children in the school will be affected. “Would you put you child in harm’s way?”
Joan Morris, who holds several degrees in biology and biomedical science, presented a detailed look at wind turbine syndrome. Listing other examples of technologies that were accepted without study, Morris stressed that people cannot count on the government and industry to protect them.
CanWEA, she explained, says that there is no evidence that wind turbines have effects on human health. The provincial government, in turn, has not responded to the concerns. According to the Green energy Act, people can appeal if there are circumstances that cause serious and irreversible harm to human and plant life. They have only 15 days to appeal.
Morris stressed that it is not just members of the community who are asking for study but also various medical Officers of Health. She delved into the studies of Dr. Pierpont, who studied 10 families in an area and found that eight moved due to adverse effects, and Dr. Robert McMurtry, who himself was interested in hosting a turbine on his property but changed his mind after he researched it and found too many questions relating to sleep deprivation, headaches, dizziness, nausea, cognitive functions and internal vibration/pulsation. The cause of these problems, Morris said, is noise pollution, dBA and low frequency noise. The dBA noise travels up to three km.
With proposed setbacks ranging from 550 to 1,500m and noise level limit of 40dBA, Morris stressed that medical researchers are recommending 1.5km to 3km setbacks. “These proposed regulations are not based on health studies. The government of Ontario let turbines in and set policy without doing their homework.”
David Colling, a former dairy farmer from Ripley, explained how he has applied his electrical engineering knowledge to assess electrical pollution in homes, farms and businesses located near several different industrial wind turbine installations in the province.
Embarrassed to admit that he has an option to lease on his home farm, something he regrets, Colling said that the “This issue splits communities.” He stressed to those being approached that the marketers know no details of construction and side effects.
With 38 turbines in the area of his home, Colling says that there are “a whole lot of questions but not a lot of answers.” Having had his won farms tested, he was told he needed to worry about people, not just the livestock.
Colling described dirty electricity (electrical hypersensitivity) as being like an allergy to peanuts. “Until two years ago, I would not have believed it could make people sick so fast.”
Admitting that burying the electrical lines helps somewhat, he explained that there are a number of families living in hotels paid for by the companies that are erecting these towers. “Homes across from substations are affected as well. You need to protect yourself and your children.”
Because wind turbines make waves, Colling said that people are becoming sick due to the sound waves and the electromagnetic waves. With so many of the companies changing hands, he warned that decommissioning of the turbines may just land the structures back in the farmer’s hands.
The final speaker was Colette McLean, a farmer from Essex County, who admitted that the turbines are perceived initially by most as “safe, silent, healthy servants.”
McLean described the method for initially deciding upon the setback regulations which is the blade length plus 10 m or 51 m. “The setbacks were based on the original smaller turbines.” The MOE has proposed the height for the turbine and the blade length from roads, railways or property lines at 125m. She laughed that Hydro One wants a 500 m setback to protect transmission corridors. “Obviously they are more important than people.”
She stressed the need to increase the setback due to the potential for tower collapse, blade failures, fires and ice throw. Showing images of such incidents, she added that “none of our fire departments have the ability to handle a fire 400 m in the air.”
“They are not silent. Their noise is of a cyclical nature…Woosh, Wooosh,” McLean stated, adding that a real estate agent disclosed to her that property within a three mile radius of a tower lost an average $48, 000 per property and it took owners twice as long to sell their homes.
She attempted to dispel the reasoning behind the large wind energy project, stating that the wind is not there when it is needed on hot, sticky days.”
As speakers made their presentations, a petition was circulated among the crowd.