Eleven witnesses have explained how wind turbines have affected their lives while delivering testimony at the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT). The hearings continue this week in Toronto and Demorestville.
The ERT is examining the decision to approve an industrial wind turbine project at Ostrander Point, Prince Edward County.
During March and April, ERT members Heather Gibbs and Robert Wright heard many hours of expert testimony from dozens of Prince Edward County Field Naturalists’ (PECFN) case witnesses on how nine 500-foot turbines planted in concrete bases and with wing spans of a football field will impact plants and animals and the Important Bird Area on the shoreline of South Marysburgh.
The wind development company experts countered that there will be harm but not so great as to be irreversible.
This month, the hearing changed its focus to how turbines risk human health in a case brought forward by the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC). Their appeal must prove serious harm to human health, though not necessarily irreversible harm.
The witnesses are current or former residents of the operating wind projects at Clear Creek, Kent-Breeze, Melancthon, Talbot, and Wolfe Island.
Most either were in favor of renewable energy, or were indifferent until wind turbines changed their lives.
The witnesses reported a variety of similar adverse symptoms – principally sleep disturbance, nausea, migraine, vertigo, cognitive impairment, high blood pressure, and cardiac events. They also report suffering from profound stress brought on by deteriorating health, community and even family divisions, severe financial loss, and abandoned, unsalable homes.
“These victims are the coincidental casualties of wind power development,” says Henri Garand, APPEC Chairman. “Despite numerous complaints to developers, municipal governments, the Ministry of Environment and two Ontario premiers, nothing has been done to relieve their situations or even acknowledge the real problems. The MOE not only has failed to enforce compliance with noise standards but has continued to approve wind power projects based on the same inadequate setback regulations.”
“The ongoing ERT appeal has now given legal recognition to the many abuses that have already occurred. Starting May 27 in Toronto, expert medical witnesses Dr. Robert McMurtry and Dr. Sarah Laurie will confirm and explain adverse health effects caused by wind turbines.
“This proof of serious harm to human health meets the requirements of the ERT in order to cancel the MOE’s approval of the Ostrander Point project,” said Garand. “It will also discredit the MOE’s regulatory process and standards for Renewable Energy Approvals. Then rural Ontarians will be protected from the consequences of unsafe wind power development.”