No Wynne on wind

Premier Kathleen Wynne last week promised to give municipal governments a greater say in the location of industrial wind turbines (IWTs) in their communities, short of being able to veto them.

In other words, she’s promising residents across Ontario battling the imposition of industrial wind factories on their communities any and all assistance, short of help.

Given the Liberals’ appalling history on this issue, skepticism is justified about anything they say.

Indeed, the determination of Wynne’s predecessor, Dalton McGuinty, to ram IWTs down the throats of communities across Ontario is one of the most shameful episodes in the Liberals’ 10-year record of government.

People who objected to IWTs were mocked as suffering from NIMBYism (not-in-my-backyard syndrome) by McGuinty.

His Green Energy Act took away the rights of local municipalities to any say in the location of these giant, industrial wind factories.

When people started complaining about adverse health effects from wind turbines, environment ministry officials lied to them.

They told them they were the only ones complaining — implying it was all in their heads — when in fact the ministry was receiving hundreds of complaints from across Ontario.

A 2011 CBC news investigation, which obtained 1,000 pages of internal government documents through a Freedom of Information request, revealed that even as the environment ministry was publicly downplaying the growing controversy, it was internally warning the government its noise limits and setbacks for wind turbines were flawed, inadequate, hard to monitor and difficult to enforce.

Meanwhile the Liberals publicly mouthed the same platitudes as the wind industry they were enriching by paying outrageous prices for unreliable electricity.

That fiasco was fully documented by then auditor general Jim McCarter in his devastating 2011 assessment of the Liberals’ renewable energy program. He concluded poor Liberal decision-making will cost Ontarians billions of dollars on their hydro bills for generations to come.

Meanwhile, back on the health front, the Liberals and the wind industry insisted scientific studies, often funded by the wind industry, showed turbines were safe.

They also cited a 2010 literature review by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health which found no “direct causal link between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects.” At the same time, wind companies were buying out families driven from their homes by turbine noise, vibration and flickering, while making them sign confidentiality agreements, so they couldn’t talk about it.

More recently, however, there has been a growing pushback against the Liberals’ scurrilous suggestion anyone complaining about adverse health effects from wind turbines must be a NIMBY or nuts.

An article in the May issue of Canadian Family Physician — official journal of The College of Family Physicians of Canada — warns doctors to brace for increasing numbers of medical complaints from people living close to industrial wind turbines.

“Adverse health affects of industrial wind turbines”, by Dr. Roy D. Jeffery, Carmen Krough and Brett Horner notes, “people who live or work in close proximity to IWTs have experienced symptoms that include decreased quality of life, annoyance, stress, sleep disturbance, headache, anxiety, depression and cognitive dysfunction. Some have also felt anger, grief or a sense of injustice. Suggested causes of symptoms include a combination of wind turbine noise, infrasound, dirty electricity, ground current and shadow flicker.”

The article cited a 2011 Ontario environmental review tribunal which concluded: “This case has successfully shown that the debate should not be simplified to one about whether wind turbines can cause harm to humans. The evidence presented to the Tribunal demonstrates that they can, if facilities are placed too close to residents. The debate has now evolved to one of degree.”

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