Friday, October 2, 2009

Toronto EMF workshop - October 23-25 / Anti-wind-farm speakers attract huge crowd / Heartland Transmission Project

Toronto EMF workshop - October 23-25

From: Andrew Michrowski

Sent: Thursday, October 01, 2009 5:11 PM

Subject: FWD: Toronto EMF workshop - October 23-25

Please take note of this learning opportunity.


Anti-wind-farm speakers attract huge crowd

Posted By Valerie MacDonald
Posted 6 days ago

CENTRETON — Just like the July public information session held by Energy Farm Ontario Inc. about its study to develop a wind turbine farm near Grafton, the public meeting held Thursday night by those in opposition, drew a huge gathering of concerned people.

It was far beyond standing room only for those squeezed around the edges of the seated audience packed into the Centreton Community Centre. Some were unable to get into the building, forced to stand on the steps and sidewalks outside. Inside, two petitions against wind farms and a third, a list for people to sign if they wanted information, were laid out on tables at the back together with blow-up pictures detailing the size of wind turbines that would dot the Oak Ridges Moraine if Energy Farm Ontario Inc. goes forward with its industrial wind installation.

Organized by RR2 Grafton resident Gwyer Moore and a working group of about 10 people (in the process of obtaining charity status for the Alliance for the Protection of the Northumberland Hills), the rural community meeting featured two very passionate speakers warning about the ill-health affects of wind turbines. The meeting was billed as an "information forum on the potential impact of industrial wind turbines" but focused solely on the adverse affects.

Ironically, the meeting coincided with Premier Dalton McGuinty's announcement earlier in the day about increased minimum distances between wind turbines and residences (550 meters) but the first speaker, Carmen Krogh said this was not enough.

"They're going to be too close," said the woman who suffers a series of symptoms she says are caused by proximity to wind turbines. These include severe migraines, ringing in the ears, inability to sleep and other significant side effects.

An organization, called VOW (Victims of Wind) is a support group for people who are living near wind farms and are sick, she said. There are two kinds of problems, that of infrasound (low frequency sound that can't be heard by people) and the decibel levels that can be heard, she said.

The first is the worst, Krogh suggested and include sleep disorders, migraines, vertigo, mental health changes and a strobe-like affect that results in "bouncing eyeballs." Fatigue, difficulty breathing and tremendous ear pain, are other effects but not everyone reacts the same way or within the same time frame of exposure, she said. Some people suffer from heart palpitations that "make you think you're going to have a heart attack."

Many families living near wind turbine farms have been forced to move, some abandoning their rural properties, said Krogh, a former Health Canada employee and editor of the CPS (Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialtie. It's an annually-updated book consulted by doctors issuing prescriptions. She warned that proper studies, peer reviewed, need to be undertaken before wind turbines "are introduced into our environment."

Once there, wind turbines are not easily removed, she cautioned.

She also talked about Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO) , of which the new Alliance for the Protection of Northumberland Hills is listed as a member. WCO is made up of organizations with similar concerns about the impact of wind farms. In a story posted Sept. 24 on its web site


it describes the newest provincial government setback regulations of 550 meters for homes next to wind turbines as a "betrayal of the people of rural Ontario."

Everyone, even healthy people, are "at risk" of the impacts from wind turbine farms. The opposition is growing world-wide yet people complaining of illness are ridiculed and discounted, she added.

Currently there are about 600 wind turbines in Ontario, Krogh told the crowd.

David Colling, a dairy farmer and electrical pollution consultant from Ripley, who has been doing voltage testings near wind turbines provided charts and antidotal information about what he has found.

Colling warned farmers that signing up with wind farm developers to lease their land for wind turbines can lead to many problems. Originally, he did that because he supported green energy but the outcome in many cases is electrical pollution that is making people ill, he said.

Instead of producing "clean" electricity, the wind turbine process can create "dirty" electricity with electromagnetic waves and harmonic distortions, he said. This can occur where the wind energy is converted into electrical energy and around substations where it is connected to the electrical grid, he explained.

This electro hypo-sensitivity "affects people differently" but he listed the same types of symptoms as the previous speaker, agreeing that it is so severe in some cases it is actually driving people who live near wind farms, out of their homes.

Today, there are all types of sources of "dirty electricity" sources including computers, variable speed motors (like those used on wind turbines), television sets, and compact florescent light bulbs like the kinds used in homes today, Collin said.

While neither Kogh or Colling talked about this, Queen's University is in the midst of a study looking at the health of residents near the recent Wolfe Island, Ontario wind farm installation. It is comparing survey results before, during construction and after the wind turbines have been up and running.

"To our knowledge, this is the first time that people have acquired a snapshot of community health prior to wind turbines," lead research scientists Neal Michelutti said in a published interview. "It gives us (a sense of) community health that we can use in a before-and-after comparison."

Across Ontario there are people on both sides of the wind turbine green energy questions. The government is providing incentives to create jobs in the industry and recently Premier McGuinty described complainers as having a "not in my back yard mentality."

He said the new guidelines strike a balance between opponents and wind farm developers.

The wind farm proposal for the Grafton area is still in its study-phase, says company officials. They said they were not invited to the public meeting in Centreton but at the same time were busy at the wind turbine conference held in Toronto last week.


Week of September 30, 2009, Issue #728

Well, Well, Well


Well, Well, Well

Heartland Transmission Project: Drawing a line over power lines

Connie Howard /

Tumbling around in my brain this warm September afternoon are thoughts of children sleeping and playing beneath massive 500 kV power lines, and the voices of the over 1400 disillusioned and no-longer-unsuspecting Edmontonians trying to get politicians and industry representatives to hear their objections and to care enough to change course and bury the monstrous lines planned by the Heartland Transmission Project.

Many of those present at the meeting were angry and scared, and rightly so. The intensity of emotion expressed wasn't, contrary to what some have suggested, unjustified, nor was the information presented deserving of the label fear-mongering.

Industry representatives present at the meeting pointed to guidelines issued by Health Canada and the World Health Organization (WHO) as the basis for their decisions, but they're little comfort to most—these regulatory bodies have a long history of negotiating in favour of industry, and all too often of firing scientists who draw attention to the problematic science. Those free to look at the evidence and draw their own conclusions draw some very different ones from those arrived at by Health Canada and the WHO.

As I wrote earlier this summer, the conclusion of the BioInitiative Working Group, which did a large and comprehensive assessment of the science on health impacts of electromagnetic radiation (EMR), was that "existing public safety standards limiting these radiation levels in nearly every country of the world look to be thousands of times too lenient. Changes are needed."

It's simply not true that there is no compelling evidence of significant health hazards associated with the level of electromagnetic radiation. There's plenty, some links as strong as 300 percent increases in cancer risks. That's why the Canadian Cancer Society doesn't recommend parents let children play under power lines.

Disagreements such as this between industry and the people adversely impacted sometimes go on long after industry has moved forward with its plans, and it is those in whose backyards industry has landed who have to live with the cost of the endless debate. The effects of nuclear power plants, for example, or oil industry pollution such as that impacting the residents of Fort Chipewyan are still being debated, even though very disturbing cancer clusters have been documented.

The suggestion that those who bought property along the Transportation Utility Corridor (TUC) should have known a power line like this might come along someday is, to be blunt, insensitive. We make decisions based on current information, not on every conceivable future development, and the proposed 500 kV line would be the first of its size in Alberta. There's no way any of those living nearby could have imagined anything like it. Not even city councillors were aware of the plans being made behind closed doors until February of this year.

And besides, life happens—an unplanned child, an economic crash, a job loss, a partner defection, an unforeseen property devaluation—any of these have the power to back us into a corner we would not have chosen. Those next to the TUC, now faced with the very real possibility that they may have no choice but to allow their children to sleep and play and grow up beneath 20-storey power lines, have every right to be angry.

We're talking about power lines not only twice the size of the existing ones, but, according to the West TUC website, also lines to go up in addition to and between the existing lines and the homes along the TUC—in many cases, literally in the backyards our children play in. Once they're up, they're up, and once property values have gone down, and once we confirm again what other research has confirmed—that they're a health hazard—it'll be too late.

Progressive societies put precaution ahead of industry interests. City council gets it, and has passed a motion to oppose the use of overhead lines for the Heartland Transmission Project. But will organized opposition be enough to force industry to bury them? V