The Stratford Beacon Herald
John Wilkinson’s political rhetoric about industrial wind turbines is disturbingly inaccurate in light of his own ministry’s regulations.
For example, last week a memo written by a senior Ministry of Environment (MOE) field officer was released stating that wind turbines create a cyclical “swish swish swish” sound, and that a five-decibel penalty should be applied in order to prevent adverse effects to neighbours (i. e. reducing the allowable noise emissions by five decibels which would increase setback distances to homes). Other industries that produce cyclic noise receive a five-decibel penalty, however the Liberals have exempted industrial wind farms from cyclic noise penalties, apparently even after warnings from their own senior field officers.
The constant cyclic noise from wind turbines degrades people’s quality of life at home and, ultimately, their health, particularly when they can’t sleep. In a response interview in the Wellington Advertiser, John Wilkinson dismissed the senior field officer’s memo by stating: “We use that five decibel penalty” and it “equally applies to wind turbines.”
John Wilkinson’s statement is absolutely incorrect. According to the MOE’s own 2008 Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms, John Wilkinson’s ministry explicitly forbids cyclic noise penalties for wind turbines (currently the only five-decibel penalty applied is for tonal noise which is completely different than the swishing cyclic noise that is so problematic for wind turbines as described in the MOE field officer’s memo). Wind turbine noise is a complex scientific issue, and John Wilkinson’s confusion between tonal noise penalties and cyclic noise penalties demonstrates that he does not actually understand the issue or his own MOE noise regulations.
John Wilkinson says that this is an election issue, yet he has proven to be ill equipped to lead on this issue — disregarding the concerns of municipal councils, disregarding the advice of his senior MOE environmental officers and confusing the applicable science and regulations. Ontario should roll out green energy in a way that protects birds, bats and all the families living in the vicinity of energy production facilities. To do it, we need leaders who understand the complexities of the energy system, the environment and human health.
LAURA HUMPHREY BELWOOD (WELLINGTON COUNTY)