July 25, 2011

Wind turbines: “Try living with one”

Here’s a letter to the Editor of Ontario Farmer, responding to a recent article that was pro-industrial wind turbines.

Dear editor:

I must respond to the letter by the members of S.A.C. Unlike them, I live directly 550 m from the proposed site of a 2.3 megawatt, 419-foot high wind turbine (w of 3 planned towers). I also live right next door to the neighbours who have had to wait many long months to sell their home,carried two mortgages at the same time and took $100,000 lLESS than an accurate value. Their home was situated on one acre of land, beautifully constructed, completely finished, about 15 years old with a shop most guys would die for, clean as a whip inside and out with very nice landscaping. The only reason they lost $100 K was because of the proposed wind turbine directly in front of their home. They also lost two prospective buyers prior to this deal because as soon as those buyers were informed of the wind project, they pulled out.

The wind project I speak of is the Whittington Wind Farm. They want to locate these towers at the bottom end of the optimum wind area; 264 homes are affected by these towers within a four-mile diameter of the central location. ‘Why’ is my question. Why do these large turbines need to be located in such a populous area? … There is a lot right with the green energy program in theory but there is a lot wrong with it in reality.

Diane Griffith

Mono Township, Ontario

March 5, 2011

Views from farm country

Not everyone gets to see the newspapers  that serve the agricultural community, and they rarely post their entire editions online, so, with thanks to a local farm-owner, we offer excerpts from some letters to the Editor of Ontario Farmer, which appeared recently.

Peak soil as imminent as peak oil

The provincial government has made a first right step by halting any off-shore wind projects until “further research is conducted.” While the government’s motivation is more likely political than science-based [blog editor: like this WHOLE THING!!!] the very admission that more study is needed refutes their own staunchly defended position throughout the life of the Green Energy Plan.

If the science is lacking to back off-shore industrial installations, it is entirely foolish to allow any more land-based installations as well. Dr. Robert McMurtry has eloquently outlined human health concerns and has reasonably called for a halt to more turbine installations until proper scientific studies are done. Yet Dr. McMurtry’s calls have been ignored by the government, even though our minister of environment claims to put human health and the natural environment as his top priority.

Furthermore, there is a fundamental insanity about a policy that would allow the vast diminishment of such a fragile and finte treasure as our prime, class-one farmland. Less than one-half of one percent of Canada is class one farmland (roughly 12 million acres). Of that total, 4.9 million acres is in souther Ontario (Science Council of Canada).

Food prices around the world are skyrocketing and food shortages combined with high prices are causing riots and misery, and dstabilizing national governments. … nergy analysts often refer to the impending tipping point of “peak oil.” e are already roughly at our point of “peak soil” on a global basis. The amount of land currently in production comprises almost all of the capable land without cutting more forests, taking over conservation set-asides, or entering into dubious irrigation schemes. To paraphrase David Suzuki, our land, our water, our air, are sacred. They are not merely there to create profits for global corporations.

…Prime farmland should grow food, not industrial towers. A policy that decimates our foodlands cannot legitimately be termed “green energy.”

It is time for the government to stand down, and do proper research into the health, environmental, economic and social impacts of these industrial schemes.

John Drummond, Greenbelt Farm, Mitchell, Ontario

Have an open mind on energy, yes, but have wind, solar been studied enough?

…Since the green energy proponents have been installing windmills and solar panels as quickly as they possibly can and have truned a deaf ear toward any dissenting views, it is time for common sense to prevail. At the very least, further installation of these devices should be halted immediately pending an objective view of their effects on human and animal health, the economy and the environment by a credible and impartial source. We should not accept anything less.

George W. Arnold, Bobcaygeon

August 13, 2010

A farmer’s view on the Ontario power situation

One of the writers we admire is Ian Cumming, a Glengarry County farmer who writes a column called “Practical Farming” for the Ontario Farmer. In a recent edition he wrote about all the government subsidies for renewable energy production under the title “Sham economics”.

Referring to Ontario’s recent move to cut back on agreements for solar power from the egregious 80 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) to the only slightly less egregious 58.8 cents, Cumming remarks, “It’s a bitch when you run out of money and when it becomes apparent the project you’re involved with is smoke and mirrors at best. At worst it could be called an outright lie that there would not be a dramatic increase in energy costs to the consumer to pay for all this.

“In February 2009 then Energy Minister George Smitherman estimated electricity rates, with alternative energy, would increase by one per cent.

“These assurances were from a government which has granted our energy needs to a monopoly, which needs smart meters and HST to meet its never-ending need for increased revenues, to cover increasing costs. As of now, without alternative energy factored in, it costs three times as much per month to milk 60 cows than it does to milk 150, 10 miles to the south [in the U.S.].”

As for farmers’ input to the Green Energy Act, Cumming says “…Bette Jean Crews, the OFA president, proudly noted to me in an interview when this was enacted last September the OFA ‘was on the ground floor on this one.’ We know, and therein lies the problem. No one had the gumption to kick the table over on these card sharks.

“There are some simple economic lessons here. This alternative energy, like ethanol plants, is not a viable industry without government invention, intervention and funding. That’s the first clue to leave it all alone. But since farm organizations have painted themselves into the same corner, and now possess the same mindset, simple economic principles are ignored.

“The media ignoed their principles as well. Factual reporting would have included at least asking how an increase for power paid from five cents per kw to 85 cents resulted in only an estimated one per cent increase to consumers. A simpleton would have caught those numbers as false…

“All this sham economics has deeply divided communities and has become a joke. When the same agriculture organization that was, by its own words, “on the ground floor” when this was invented, organizes protests where farmers gather to shake their fists at a farming couple who by their own choice legally sold land for such projects, whose rules the OFA helped to invent, what else can you call it.”


To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group, email and visit the group’s website at

January 8, 2010

More spinning in the wind: we must be getting on their nerves

In the December 29th edition of Ontario Farmer (sorry, it’s not available online) columnist Tom Van Dusen writes that opponents of wind turbines are close-minded when it comes to wind developments and especially the recent industry-sponsored health study. That’s the one that has been widely derided as not being a health study at all, but a very biased and limited literature review.

It also ended with preposterous assertion that not only are there no health effects from the noise and vibration produced by industrial wind turbines, any complaints about them are so rare that it’s not worth spending any money on any studies!!! Very unusual and unprofessional recommendation, indeed.

Anyway, Mr Van Dusen harks back to the days of old when wind mills were spinning pleasantly on the family farm. “I had my first experience of standing close to one [last summer] and hearing the faint soothing sound which critics have condemned.”

He goes on to attack North Gower Wind Action Group in particular for its criticism of the so-called research report and then, guess what, he says North Gower opponents are just NIMBYs. How inventive.

He quotes Prowind’s Bart Geleynse (the comments are identical to a news story in the Ottawa Sun, where Van Dusen is employed, as well) as saying “We’ll never change their mind.”

On this one thing you’re absolutely right, Mr Geleynse and you know why? Because around the world, including in Prowind’s home country of Germany, there are reports of noise and health effects when industrial wind turbines are located too close to homes.

And THAT CanWEA/AWEA paper was not a health study.

Put the turbines where the wind is, not where the people are.

To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group executive directly, email

To sign the petition asking government to sponsor a third-party, independent health study, go to our documents page and download the petition.

See also our post, How did that conversation go?

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