Tuesday, 18 October 2011

WCO twists CanWEA response to WCO

We seem to be watching a tennis match of words between WCO and CanWEA about annoyance and health effects.

October 12.  It all started with a report from Global Television on October 12 regarding wind turbines in Ontario.  The report, that ran for 3 minutes, included interviews with three Clear Creek residents plus Magda Havas and Dr. McMurtry, both known opponents of wind.  Robert Hornung, President of CanWEA, was given 8 seconds.

Robert Hornung's quote was:

It's true that [there] the science does show that there is a small percentage of people who can be annoyed by wind turbine sound and that can have potentially indirect health impacts.

October 14. Following the Global report, WCO posted an entry on its web site, written by MA (Maureen Anderson, I believe).

In the web entry, MA excerpted the quote as follows:

In an October 12 interview on Global Television, the president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA), Robert Hornung stated that  “wind turbine sound…can have potentially indirect health impacts”.

MA then attempted to create a linkage between wind turbine annoyance and serious adverse health effects but fails to make any mention of the intensity of noise annoyance.  Both sources that she cites were talking about noise sources that are found near airports, freeways, etc.

CanWEA has consistently claimed that there is no direct link to health effects from wind turbines. That official position statement is now different. Mr. Hornung has admitted many times that people living near wind developments may be annoyed by wind turbine sound. Noise annoyance is recognized by the World Health Organization and Health Canada as an adverse health effect that can lead to stress, cardiac events and morbidity.

October 14. In response to the WCO statements, CanWEA clarified their position in a Press Release.  

The Canadian Wind Energy Association has not in any way changed its position on wind energy and human health.

The balance of scientific and medical evidence clearly concludes that sound from wind turbines is not unique and that wind turbines do not have a direct impact on human health. There are well over 100,000 turbines operating worldwide and hundreds of thousands of people are living and working near and around them, the overwhelming majority of whom have productive and positive experiences.

The association has always acknowledged that a small percentage of people can be annoyed by wind turbines in their vicinity. Annoyance is a personal experience that can be caused by many things and be influenced by many different factors and stressors in a person's life. When annoyance has a significant impact on an individual's quality of life, it is important that they consult their doctor.

As a responsible industry, we are interested in the responsible and sustainable development of wind for the benefit of all Canadians. We will continue to receive and review new and credible information pertaining to wind energy and human health as it is made available.

Please find below a link to a number of reviews of the scientific and medical literature on wind turbines and human health.

October 17: WCO returned the volley with a news release of its own:

October 17/2011-In a dramatic reversal of its long-held position on the risks to human health of industrial wind turbines, the Canadian Wind Energy Association affirmed late last week through a public statement on their website that some number of people will become sick due to industrial wind developments.

CanWEA stated that "a small percentage" of those living next to industrial wind developments will become sick.

“The majority of Walkerton residents did not become sick due to tainted water. The majority of Ontario school children are not allergic to peanuts. However, in both cases the Ontario Government has taken swift action to protect human health” commented Wind Concerns Ontario Chair, Ian Hanna.

CanWEA's recent statements suggest that some level of harm to human health, or collateral damage, resulting from industrial wind developments is acceptable.

“Given this sudden change acknowledging harm to human health caused by industrial wind turbines, CanWEA owes the people of Ontario a straight answer”, added Hanna. He then asked, “How many sick people are too many? How many Ontario families need to suffer before it's time to support full independent studies into the impacts of utility scale wind turbines on human health?”
Significantly, WCO clearly stated that CanWEA had said "that "a small percentage" of those living next to industrial wind developments will become sick."  Take a look at the record and make up your own mind.

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