APPEC Appeal Shows Probability of Harm to Human health
Milford, ON June 24, 2013. The Environmental Review Tribunal hearings on the Ostrander Point wind project concluded in Toronto on June 21. The Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) has presented evidence that indicates the probability of harm to human health from wind turbines.
Summations by counsel for APPEC, Gilead Power, and the Ministry of Environment (MOE) focused on three important issues: the relevance of the Erickson appeal (2011), the medical evidence presented, and the standard of proof required.
APPEC lawyer Eric Gillespie argued that reliance on the Erickson decision avoids an onerous and unmanageable process of re-litigation on matters already addressed by 25 expert witnesses. The present ERT has to consider the principal findings in Erickson because they relate to a wind project, like Ostrander Point, approved to operate with 40 dBA noise limits and 550-m setbacks.
Mr. Gillespie urged the ERT panel to accept the testimony of 11 witnesses who reported adverse health effects from living near currently-operating wind projects. All of them have suffered a range of symptoms known to result from exposure to audible noise and low-frequency sound. Expert opinion has related these to the proximity of wind turbines as far as 2 km away.
Gilead’s and the MOE’s own witnesses, said Mr. Gillespie, have testified that there are always “some people,” or a “non-trivial percentage of the population,” affected by wind turbines. APPEC’s case has shown the probability, not just biological plausibility, of serious harm to human health. There is enough evidence on the “balance of probabilities” for the ERT to make a decision.
“People are obviously suffering despite the MOE’s regulations,” said APPEC President Gord Gibbins. “There will be more victims if Ostrander Point and other wind projects go ahead.”
The ERT panel also questioned the location of the wind project on Crown land. The public will have access to the site via 5.4 km of maintenance road and would be exposed to the risks of ice throw, blade breakage, nacelle fire, and tower collapse.
“These concerns are another sign,” said Gord Gibbins, “that public health and safety appear to be secondary to wind power development.”
The ERT’s decision is due by July 10.