NA-PAW supports Ontario anti-wind groups calling for the resignation of Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Arlene King
“Reasonable people do not leave their homes to sleep elsewhere for frivolous reasons” (FOI document 2, Ministry of the Environment, Ontario)
NA-PAW (North American Platform Against Wind Power) repeats its call for an immediate full public inquiry and further supports groups calling for the resignation of Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Arlene King.
In light of Freedom of Information documents [click here and here] received today, requested 1.5 years ago, it is clear that the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) was deeply engaged in planning abatement measures due to numerous complaints of noise and adverse effects from wind turbine operations and associated transformer stations.
These FOI disclosures dating from over 3 years ago have resulted in shocking information that Ontario MOE officers were working on an abatement plan to help families affected by health effects from turbine and transformer station noise.
Although most of the 330 pages are missing, the 21 pages that were supplied are surprisingly damning. Why would the MOE appear to be discussing mitigation of the problems reported and yet this discussion was not shared with the public? If there was a sincere effort to mitigate problems associated with industrial wind and “numerous” affected persons, why did this initial effort not progress?
The abatement plan was completed prior to the implementation of the Green Energy Act, and prior to Dr. Arlene King’s “literature review” which concluded, incorrectly, that there are no health effects from the Ontario setbacks. But these obvious health effects, many very serious, were noted years ago in the documents. And where is the Abatement Plan that was clearly under construction? By whose authority did that disappear?
FROM THE DOCUMENTS
Noise emissions from Canadian Hydro Developers, (CHD), Dufferin County wind turbine operations, (Melancthon I and Melancthon II now collectively known as Melancthon EcoPower Center), are producing large numbers of complaints [emphases added], (dating back to March, 2006), alleging adverse health effects, (i.e. harm or material discomfort, allegations of adverse effect on health, rendering property unfit for human use, loss of enjoyment of normal use of property, and, interference with the normal conduct of business), due to noise emissions from the 133 wind turbines, and the associated step-up transformer station.
Area residents are continuing to complain of noise emissions causing adverse effects. At least two families have moved out of their homes due to noise impacts from the operation of the Melancthon EcoPower Center. MOE District Staff are aware of at least 6 cases where CHD has bought out resident’s homes to address and silence their ongoing noise complaints. ...
MOE Provincial Officers have attended at several of the complainant’s residences and have confirmed that despite the noise emissions apparently complying with the applicable standard\CofA [Certificate of Approval] (Air) limits, that the noise emissions are in fact causing material discomfort to the residents in and around their homes.
GDO [Guelph District Office] Provincial Officers have measured wind turbine noise levels at complainant’s homes that appear to indicate non-compliance with the CofA(Air).
Environmental Assessment and Approvals Branch, (EAAB), Staff have stated to District Staff that any field measurements of noise emissions from wind turbines will be inconclusive at best as there is currently no practical, reliable and defensible methodology to measure noise emissions from wind turbines. As such there is no way to measure compliance, (or lack thereof), with guideline\CofA limits in the field.
District Staff have recently met with Amaranth Township Council regarding this matter. Amaranth Council strongly expressed its concern as to the ongoing complaints and the apparent inability of MOE to address the various complaints\complainants except to state that the noise emissions from the facility are in compliance with the applicable limits. Staff from the other municipality that the Melancthon EcoPower Center is also located in, (Melancthon Township), have indicated that its municipal council is also deeply concerned with MOE’s apparent inability to address the various complaints.
Valid complaints continue to be received by MOE. MOE District Provincial Officers have verified that the complaints of adverse effect by area residents are for the most part justified. ...
The conventional approach to addressing noise complaints by requiring compliance with the applicable NPC guideline limits will not address this set of complaints. This would also appear to be the case for a number of other wind turbine facility complaints across the province. ...
MOE District Provincial Officers have attended at several of the complainants residences and have confirmed that the noise emissions from the Melancthon EcoPower Center are causing an adverse effect to the complainants.
At least two families have moved out of their homes, (i.e. do not sleep there any more), as a result of the noise emissions impacting on them during the night time hours. Reasonable people do not leave their homes to sleep elsewhere for frivolous reasons. ...
Based on [the] above, the intent of the GDO is to inform CHD that in its opinion the noise emissions from the Melancthon EcoPower Center are causing an adverse effect contrary to S.14(1) of the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency], and ask it to forthwith address the contravention of S.14(1) of the EPA via at l[e]ast the abatement measures identified above for [t]he time period of either 19:00 Hrs. or 23:00 Hrs. to 07:00 Hrs.
—Aug. 21, 2009, Gary Tomlinson, Provincial Officer, District Supervisor (Acting), Guelph District Office, West Central Region, Ontario Ministry of the Environment
HEALTH EFFECTS WERE CONFIRMED YEARS AGO
The documents reveal that the MOE officers were trying to get relief for affected homeowners.
These efforts and warnings were made and discussed before Chief Medical Officer of Health Arlene King had started working on her literature review which was released in May 2010.
NA-PAW’s Sherri Lange questions how the Chief Medical Officer of Health would not take the issue to the highest level of concern. Even as families who were being affected were reaching out to her for help, she chose not to investigate or speak with them. Why? An Abatement Plan was aborted. Why?
Additionally, it has come to the attention of NA-PAW that Dr. King engaged in a teleconference about wind turbine “noise” and health problems in 2009 that included Order of Canada Orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Robert McMurtry, researchers Michael Nissenbaum and Carmen Krogh, and others, so the questions around willful blindness now become highlighted.
The most obvious questions are of possible collusion with the wind industry, possible mutual quiet agreements, mitigation, and fairly obvious censorship of actual medical complaints going back to 2006. These “conversations” appear to have reached the federal health leadership as well.
A quote from a letter from a wind company to the Ontario MOE suggests that a “consistent position” be adopted by both parties: It might be easily inferred that health complaints needed to be “managed,” as part of the investment in the long goal of Green Energy Plans for Ontario.
An enormous investment has been made to build Canada’s largest and premier wind energy facility. ... To assist in bringing this discussion to closure we request a meeting in part to review the facts surrounding both the TS [transformer station] and the wind turbine generators, and, even more importantly, to explain policy and legal reasons why the maintenance of a consistent position by the MOE is extremely important, both to Canadian Hydro and to the cause of Green Energy in Ontario.
This feels like a pattern of industry pressure, gross negligence and possibly collusion. NA-PAW and other groups repeat the call for an independent public inquiry as well as the immediate removal of Dr. Arlene King from her services for the province and people of Ontario.
According to the Set of Minimum Competencies for Medical Officers of Health (MOHs) in Canada, Final Report, March 2009:
Investigating and Mitigating Immediate Risks to Human Health: MOHs are responsible for assessing potential risks to the health of the public and taking whatever steps are necessary to reduce or eliminate that risk.
It is time for a full public investigation into how the MOE has granted permits while in full and complete knowledge of ill health and in many instances acute distress. One officer notes that as early as 2006, many complaints were registered, and yet some people report they were being told, “You are the only one complaining.”
In a separate Federal Access to Information file obtained, documents show conversations between Health Canada officials and CanWEA arranging a meeting regarding the planned health study, notably under Dr. David Michaud’s guidance, the lead for the proposed study design team. This study, to be undertaken in the next two years on wind turbine health-related problems, was announced to the public only after CanWEA and some members of the Health Canada team apparently met.
Why would Health Canada reach out to discussions with the wind industry regarding a balanced and fair health assessment and wind turbines? CanWEA is a lobby group. The appearance is that CanWEA has been granted preferential access to Health officials while those officials have been ignoring or smothering the sincere health complaints of residents. The Federal Health Minister, Leona Aglukkaq, has been equally inundated with letters outlining health problems for years. “It is questionable at best,” says Lange, “suspicious and far from fair at the worst. If it walks like a wind developer, and then HC talks and acts like a wind developer, secretive and protectionist, well, you likely have two wind developers, most likely neither of whom wishes troubled waters on the aggressive wind deployment plans laid out.”
In the meantime, people and livestock continue to suffer. Some can not afford to leave or take a second residence, and some have lost literally everything. “This is a province that is in total neglect of protection of its citizenry. Something must be done,” Lange added. “The removal of Dr. King and appointment of a proven independent thinker, one whose expertise includes respect for peer-reviewed documents and a recent world respected study by Nissenbaum, Aramini and Hanning would be welcome. Surely, a Chief Medical Officer of Health for a major province would undertake study of the recent and most up-to-date studies in an area where people have been reporting ill health and malformed, dead livestock, as well as economic losses from reduced herds. If the MOH is not up to date with current and world studies and reports and consistently refuses to speak to the people and accurately reflect upon their experiences, it is certainly time to ask that officer to step aside for the betterment of the health of Ontarians. The Chief MOH for each province must be guided by the most recent and best information on health issues, not merely, as in the case of Ontario, a rather antique literature review.”
With apparent full knowledge of harm to human health, wind deployment continues across Ontario and Canada, while officers to protect public health get a failing grade. These officers have the moral and legal duty to protect human health, but have instead apparently covered the issues with “policy” that continues to degrade not only health, but also our ability to trust our highest public officers. To many of those suffering, having left homes, it must appear to be willful blindness, or even wilful malicious injury.
Sherri Lange, +1 416 567 5115 (Canada); CEO, NA-PAW www.na-paw.org, kodaisl/rogers.com
More from the documents
“I went out last night for about 5 hours (got home midnight) and got some real first hand experience with different types of noise that the turbines can create. The same turbine or groups of turbines could create 3-4 different types of noise and at different magnitudes at different times in the evening all depending on meteorological conditions, time of day, their orientation, and how they readjusted themselves (auto or by manual control – we don't know) to wind speed and direction. Also I was able to experience first hand wind shear conditions (no wind at ground but turbines still generating creating noise) and how that plays an important role in noise impacts.” —Oct. 29, 2009, Bill Bardswick, Director West Central Region, Ontario Ministry of Environment
“Ok, message received and understood. Cam [Cameron Hall] and I will stand down until directed otherwise.” —Mar. 8, 2010, Gary Tomlinson, Provincial Officer, Senior Environmental Officer, Guelph District Office, West Central Region, Ontario Ministry of the Environment
Click here for computer translation