As far as a local anti wind energy advocate is concerned Health Canada is just blowing hot air by announcing plans to revise the research design for a study on wind turbine noise and health.
“I have lost all confidence in our government to protect us,” Chatham-Kent Wind Action Group spokesperson Monica Elmes told The Chatham Daily News Monday.
“All levels of government have known about health hazards associated with industrial wind turbines for a long time – and yet they continue to allow turbines to be constructed,” she added. “This is criminal.”
Health Canada announced it has revised its research design for a wind turbine noise and health study, prompted by more than 950 comments received last summer during public consultation period. The study is being carried out in collaboration with Statistics Canada.
According to the Health Canada website, the submissions included more than 1,800 pages of feedback and 350 attachments.
Chatham-Kent Essex MP Dave Van Kesteren is not surprised public response has prompted a change in how the study will be conducted.
“When you have a lot of people writing in with concerns and speaking to politicians about those concerns . . . sometimes we have to go back to the drawing board and make sure we haven’t missed something,” he said.
The Health Canada website states the purpose of posting the summary research design was to obtain feedback on the design, but numerous non-design related comments were received. These included calls for moratoriums on wind turbine development, involvement of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), efficiency of wind turbine generated electricity and overall merit of the research.
As for the revised research design, the website states: “Some of the most apparent changes include an assessment of infrasound and consideration for non-noise related impacts in the questionnaire survey instrument.”
The questionnaire now includes items related to shadow flicker, warning lights and perceived impacts on property value, states the website.
Elmes said, “the health study is nothing but more stalling to allow big business to continue to scam all Ontario taxpayers and to harm those who are unfortunate enough to have turbines as neighbours.”
She added she deals daily with people who are experiencing negative health impacts due to turbines. She believes by the time any results of Health Canada’s study are released, the number of turbines in Chatham-Kent will have doubled.
“We are well past the point of a health study, we need immediate relief and compensation for those already suffering ill effects from turbines and a moratorium on any more,” Elmes said.
She added her lack of confidence in the government also stems from the fact documents obtained through Freedom of Information reveal Health Canada met with the Canadian Wind Energy Association about the study, but didn’t hold meetings with other stakeholders, such as wind victim groups.
Van Kesteren said Health Canada is carrying out its due diligence even though these studies have taken place across the globe.
The study results are anticipated in late 2014. An initial target sample size of 2,000 dwellings will be selected from eight to 12 wind turbine installation facilities in Canada.
Van Kesteren said wrote Health Canada asking that Chatham-Kent Essex be considered as a study area due to the high concentration of wind turbines in the region. He added a response was received that the area would be considered.
When asked what kind of authority Health Canada will have with respect to implementing any findings from the study, Van Kesteren said he wouldn’t want to speculate, noting wind energy falls under provincial jurisdiction, but the health and welfare of Canadians falls under Health Canada.
“I think we have to wait and see what comes out of the study,” the MP said.