LETTER: Liberals should acknowledge green energy strategy is collapsing

Jan. 9, 2013

The Honourable James Bradley

Minister of the Environment

Ferguson Block, 11th Floor
77 Wellesley St W
Toronto ON M7A 2T5


Dear Minister Bradley:

I am writing to you today to express my growing apprehension over the revelations arising from recent Freedom of Information releases. In November 2012, emails from your Ministry, released through the FOI process, reveal that MOE provincial field officers had confirmed adverse health effects from wind turbine noise as far back as 2009, and were working on an abatement plan to assist affected residents. The released documents indicate that, in response to a redacted email from government staff, the MOE officers agreed to stand down.

Minister, this information raises several serious questions and concerns. Why was the abatement plan put on hold and why did the Liberal government proceed with the implementation of The Green Energy and Economy Act when it was aware that existing projects were causing adverse impacts? Was this information relayed to the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Arlene King, and why did she not contact the affected residents to investigate their complaints? How is it possible that this evidence from your own Ministry was not included in The Potential Health Impact of Wind Turbines literature review Dr. King released in May of 2010? A draft version of the Chief Medical Officer of Health’s question and answer document, which was not distributed to the public, has been obtained through a Freedom of Information request. Comments indicate a causal link between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects. The term ‘direct’ was added to a later version of the document. Minister, I find it troubling that your government continued to use Dr. King’s report as a basis for approving subsequent wind projects without further investigation of this conflicting information.

It is essential that the Ministry of the Environment consider the newly released Cooperative Measurement Survey and Analysis of Low-Frequency and Infrasound at the Shirley Wind Farm study by Bruce Walker, George Hessler, David Hessler, Robert Rand and Paul Schomer, which concluded that measurable amounts of low-frequency noise and infrasound were present inside homes within 1-2.1 km of industrial wind turbines. Four consulting companies found that wind turbines do emit infra- and low-frequency sound and that this new information will have a significant impact on the future of the wind industry. Given the results of this report, Ontario cannot continue to approve the siting of wind projects using the current standards, which do not take infrasound and low-frequency noise into account.

I would also like to take this opportunity to share my concern about your ministry’s approval of the Ostrander Point wind project on Dec. 20, 2012. How can the Ministry of the Environment ignore the concerns of naturalists and citizens in situating these wind turbines within the Prince Edward County South Shore Important Bird Area? What is the justification of allowing a wind proponent to harm two endangered species when the province has excess generation capacity?

Respectfully, the government and your Ministry should acknowledge the mounting evidence that the Liberal green energy strategy is collapsing. Prorogued government notwithstanding, you cannot disregard the World Trade Organization ruling against Ontario’s Feed-In Tariff local content rules, municipal officials facing lawsuits for insisting on greater setbacks, cancelled gas plants, export loss, increasing electricity prices, families abandoning their homes, reports of property devaluation and growing social unrest.

Minister, it is critical that you stop the approval of any new wind projects and address these existing problems before more damage is done.


Lisa Thompson, MPP Huron-Bruce

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