Following is the third and final part of a letter adapted from one sent to the Office of Ombudsman of Ontario, on November 28, 2016, by Sherri Lange, CEO North American Platform Against Wind Power (NA-PAW). This part concerns the exploitative character of industrial wind. The first part of this letter was published on Wednesday, December 7, and the second part on Thursday, December 8.
The definition of “exploitation” is “to take advantage of (a person, situation, etc.) especially unethically or unjustly for one’s own ends.” In every sense, the wind industry in Ontario has taken advantage of the Green Energy Act’s pervasive powers to subvert, for its own ends, every protection of our citizens’ health and the environment
Having focused earlier on the health effects of industrial wind, we wish to impress upon you, more briefly, its impacts also on the environment, the economy, communities, property values, and water. As you will see, we are at a “tipping point.” There is no solution but to turn back the clock and reverse the notoriously bad decisions that have led Ontario to the brink of disaster. You will recall our notes to you on Poland and Bavaria, and their relatively recent legislation to protect people and the environment , as well as our communication with you about recent European contractions with subsidies for industrial wind. This remediation for Ontario cannot wait until the next election.
Article 16 of the UN Convention for Persons with Disabilities again refers to rights of freedom from exploitation. “The definition of ‘exploitation’ is ‘to take advantage of (a person, situation, etc) esp [sic] unethically or unjustly for one’s own ends.’” In every sense, the wind industry in Ontario has taken advantage of the Green Energy Act’s pervasive powers to subvert, for its own ends, every protection of citizens’ health and the environment, and has given us grossly inaccurate claims of supplying jobs and bumping up the economy. The only feature “bumped up” is profits, grotesque profits, on the back of energy poverty for the rest of us. Ontario now has 300,000 job losses in manufacturing in the last 8 years. Much of this is due to the high cost of power, advanced largely by the preferred access and lucrative subsidies to Green Energy, such as wind and solar. These economic disasters in Ontario are reported daily in the news.
Ross McKitrick and Kenneth Green’s article in the Financial Post, “Ontario’s Green Disaster,: indicates that
[The pursuit of] windpower was particularly ill-considered because provincial demand tends to be out of phase with wind patterns. In Ontario, 80% of wind-power generation occurs when demand is so low that the entire output is surplus and must be dumped on the export market at a substantial loss. The province’s Auditor General estimates that Ontario has already lost close to $2-billion on surplus wind exports: Figures from the electricity grid operator also show the ongoing losses are $200-million annually. The wind grid is also inherently inefficient due to seasonal variability. Seven megawatts of installed wind energy capacity are needed to provide a year-round replacement for one megawatt of conventional power.
These losses are borne by taxpayers, homeowners, and we are now, three years further on from the losses outlined by McKitrick and Green in 2013, and in the sorry state of watching Ontarians rely on food banks. These impacts are tantamount to a theft.
Additional theft takes place in the natural world.
Despite claims of “saving” the planet, cleaning the air, and making energy “free,” exactly the opposite has occurred. The devastating environmental impacts will be known for hundreds of years. Developers determine their own avian mortality and we know now that the process is truncated, hidden, and cruel. Birds that are injured are not counted as “dead”; they are left to die in rehabilitation centers, and “cleanups” regularly take place before formal mortality counts. Searches sporadic, cherry picked, and some 90 percent less than what they should be. Some opponents have had to revert to FOIA requests to gain access to industry numbers. In some instances, the developer sues to prevent that information from being obtained. What we do know is that the ring of turbines around the Great Lakes is a path of certain destruction for wildlife, birds, and bats. Banding stations are sometimes reporting shocking lack of activity. The USFWS reports about 575,000 birds killed per year, and about 880,000 bats. While neither of these numbers is acceptable, the real numbers in the US alone are between 13 and 39 million. This does not include numbers from inability to reproduce because of having lost a partner, because of damaged or removed nests, or because of outrageous losses of habitat. Again, an industry gets permits to kill, harm, and harass endangered species, when others would get fines and jail. There is something ridiculous and heinous about “permitting” what one is already forbidden, especially with the aim of sacrificing for literally nothing but more ignoble profits.
Appeals for Justice
Legal processes such as those of Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) have largely dismayed and failed appellants. Tribunal after Tribunal has shown preference to the developers and failed to protect people and wildlife, including endangered species. We have witnessed some of these hearings, and read most of the Tribunal’s illogical and fact-defying decisions. One is left with the impression that obstructionist methods to promote wind agendas are clearly entrenched in this system, which purports to give citizens a chance to delay or deny a project. There is nothing clean and fair about the Ontario ERT. It is sad to watch shills of the industry spout their lies and garbled misrepresentations. And then the humiliation of the result for the sincere and hopeful appellants: permit not to be revoked. There is only one way to describe the entire system: broken, corrupt, dysfunctional. (We would add that applications to even the higher courts also appear to be grossly favoring developers.) World and local criticism of the ERT has been swift and strong. Some call it: Ruining Ontario, One ERT at a Time.
We respectfully ask for as complete an intervention as your office can provide, and a full investigation on all the matters relayed to you by all affected and interested persons. We request that you investigate all closed Municipal meetings, as well as closed and open meetings of Boards of Health in Ontario where projects are in place, or planned.
Please investigate fully the firing or removal of Dr. Janice Owen. We understand that there are several FOIs in motion regarding all communications between members of the Board of Health, Dr. Hoskins, MOECC, and Ray Copes. Please access these as they arrive, and provide disclosure to the public. If there is evidence of corruption and collusion, please refer these matters to the OPP and/or RCMP.
We additionally request that you investigate all Municipal Council conflicts of interest, declared and otherwise, and advise in a pubic fashion. We hear that the councillor of Ward One at Amherst Island has continually voted in Council, despite his mother-in-law’s having agreed to hosting several turbines. It does not matter how he votes; he must recuse himself. There are extreme ethical hazards to the integrity of Councils of Ontario, where members host turbines, or close relatives of members do, or members otherwise receive benefit. These matters are well known to communities.
Please also demand that developers and MNR and MOECC provide open and transparent access to wildlife impacts in Ontario, especially bird and bat kills, as well as an assessment of habitat loss, and request that an independent body be assigned to this task. If these are not forthcoming, we again respectfully request that procedures be put in place to immediately review all projects, with independent experts in charge of informing the public of the reality of wildlife impacts in Ontario, and immediate mitigation for existing projects.
With respect, and thank you.
CEO North American Platform Against Wind Power (NA-PAW)
Founding Director, Toronto Wind Action
Member, Ontario Wind Action
Executive Director, Canada, Great Lakes Wind Truth
VP Canada, Save the Eagles International
416 567 5115 cell
Steven Cooper’s work
The health impact of wind turbines
The high costs and low benefits of Green Energy
Ontario’s political capitalism