Ontario couple going to court to halt wind farm pending health studies

September 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

TORONTO An Ontario couple is trying to put the brakes on a proposed wind farm project until the health effects of turbines can be studied, and they’re turning to the courts for help.

Shawn and Trisha Drennan’s farm north of Goderich sits in the proposed Kingsbridge II wind farm and one turbine will be about 600 metres from their house. Twelve more turbines would be within the surrounding two kilometres.

Their lawyer, Julian Falconer, says the province shouldn’t allow wind farms to be built near where people live and work before they fully know if any health issues might arise.

“This is not about being anti-wind or against the usage, the safe usage of wind turbines,” he said.

“No government … should ever feel entitled to subject its citizens to experiments, yet that is precisely what is going on with the proposal of 140 wind turbines around the Drennan family farm.”

Ontario’s panel that rules on turbine approvals has said there are uncertainties about the health effects, but noted there is a lack of peer-reviewed science on both sides.

The Drennans tried talking to people living near an earlier wind farm, but were told nondisclosure agreements prevented those people from discussing health issues.

They are fighting in court to have those gag orders lifted and are trying to get Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Arlene King, to testify. The court has ordered her to, but King is seeking leave to appeal that decision.

The Drennans say they feel like they are in a race against the approvals process for the wind farm and are now trying a different tack in the courts.

“Once the wind companies have … approval they move at rapid pace and there’s really no way of slowing them down,” Shawn Drennan said Tuesday.

Falconer says they’ll be asking the court for an injunction to halt the wind farm project until a federal health study can be conducted.

The province wouldn’t comment specifically on the Drennans’ case, but the Ministry of Energy issued a statement saying that health is a priority, which is why it’s replacing coal with renewable power.

The Canadian Press

Comments are closed.