As published in the Owen Sounds Sun Times September 2, 2011
On August 24, you published a letter from Lorrie Gillis of Grey Highlands. She wants your readers to believe two things.
She wants them to believe that wind turbines harm people’s health and there is new evidence, published in a peer reviewed scientific journal that proves this is so.
Ms. Gillis is wrong about both these things.
There is absolutely no evidence that properly sited wind turbines directly harm people’s health.
This is what an Environmental Review Tribunal found as part of its review of Suncor’s Kent Breeze Wind Farm Project. The Tribunal’s purpose was to determine if turbines in Ontario could cause serious harm to human health.
Ms. Gillis claims that the Tribunal actually found that they do.
It did no such thing.
Specifically, the Tribunal said the following:
“The evidence presented by the Appellants, in totality, establishes that there may be an association between exposure to noise from wind turbines and certain indirect health effects, but the evidence is not sufficient to establish a causal connection at the distances and/or noise levels for this Project.” (page 192-193)
“In this proceeding, the Tribunal finds that there is insufficient evidence to establish that noise predicted to be produced at the Kent Breeze Project will cause indirect harm to such a serious degree that will cause serious harm to human health.” (page 197)
In summary, the Tribunal found no evidence that turbines directly harm people’s health or will indirectly cause serious harm to human health.
Ms. Gillis claims that a survey, WindVOiCe, produced by wind opponents, Wind Concerns Ontario, is a “valid health survey.” This document was part of the evidence the Tribunal considered but it did not convince them there were any health problems caused by wind turbines in Ontario.
The problem with the survey is that it isn’t a survey at all. There is no control group. It is a summary of reports from people who say they suffer non-specific symptoms they think are caused by wind turbines.
There is no “new” evidence in the special edition of the Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society that Ms. Gillis suggests show that turbines harm human health. It’s effectively the same material that the Tribunal discounted in making their findings.
You won’t find references to the “Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society” in places where you should find them such as Thomson-Reuters, the firm used by universities to assess their researchers. In other words, it’s not a recognized scientific journal.
Even the peer-review process appears suspicious because the Bulletin’s editor stated his anti-wind bias in the preface and the special wind edition of the Bulletin was rushed into print in a fraction of the time most journals require.
All journals require a Conflict of Interest statement. The authors fail to declare that they are members of anti-wind advocacy groups
The fact is that there is no evidence that wind turbines that meet Ontario’s regulatory requirements either directly or indirectly harm people’s health.
You have to wonder why Ms. Gillis and other wind opponents continue to say things about wind turbines that are not true.