Listowel Banner Editorial
January 11, 2012
The Listowel Banner has been carrying weekly editorial coverage recently on the local wind energy debate in the forms of interviews, photos, questions and answers and letters to the editor.
Wind turbines are coming to North Perth and many folks don’t want them here. It’s time large companies stopped assuming this opinion is due to ignorance and began realizing it’s because these folks have, in fact, done their homework.
They have to. Many feel they have no one to depend on but themselves when it comes to making the right decision about industrial wind turbines.
Wind power companies and green energy proponents will say one thing, the government will say another, and industrial wind turbine opponents will say something different still.
It comes down to this: many people want to err on the side of caution and say no to industrial wind turbines. It’s a good position to take in any arena where doubt lingers. One local farmer has come right out and said doubt has plagued him since he agreed to have a wind turbine, and now he regrets doing so.
This newspaper does not claim to have the answers when it comes to wind turbines in this community. We’re striving to provide both sides of the wind energy debate, talking to those for and against, and giving both parties space on the front pages of our paper. But we must insist those questioning the development of large turbines here in North Perth are not even slightly as uneducated or fearful of change as many companies would have us believe.
Look at a couple of common points discussed in the wind energy debate, such as the creation of low frequency noise (LFN).
Information provided by http://www.yes2wind.com explains LFN: “All noise travels through the air in ‘wave-like’ movements. LFN has long wavelengths that can travel further than high frequencies and often sounds like a deep rumble. HGV diesel engines create a certain amount of LFN. Although some wind farms create LFN in certain conditions, expert investigators have concluded that it is barely audible, is far less than road traffic, and is not a health issue.”
Yet, many would beg to differ.
It’s documented that at least 30 Ontario families claim to have been forced from their homes due to adverse side effects caused by nearby wind turbines and namely, LFN. These kinds of contradictions are rampant throughout the wind energy debate, leaving the public at a loss as to whom they can trust. Would that many families opt to uproot and leave their homes simply to prove a point? Would they go to those lengths to maintain their stories? Seems unlikely.
The Banner received a copy of a letter by Eric Gillespie, a Toronto lawyer, addressed to the minister of the environment, among others. In it, Gillespie claims the MOE’s media release, “Expert Report Confirms No Direct Health Effects from Wind Turbines,” fails to provide full and accurate disclosure of potential health effects. Gillespie illustrates his point by stating the release refers to an MOE backgrounder claiming, “The best available science shows there is no direct health risk from wind turbine noise.”
But expert testimony provided during a 2011 Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal led the ERT to decide: “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 provided to the tribunal demonstrates that they can, if facilities are placed too close to residents. The debate has now evolved to one of degree.”
Is the province being negligent in its report? Was it an error? Or does it simply wish to bring an end to this long-winded debate? Which, by the way, isn’t about to blow over anytime soon. Either way, again, the public feels they must take it upon themselves to become educated on the subject in order to make the best choices.
This may be a small community of regular folks, but they don’t hate change, progress or technology. They do love their land, families and good health. They are, rightly so, wary of anything that might compromise that.
With all the evidence out there supporting cause for their concerns, how anyone can blame them is well beyond us.
Invenergy Canada is hosting a come-and-go information session at Veky’s Jan. 11 and 18 in the morning. We’d be wise to attend.