Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Editorial: Wind Opponents should denounce violence

This is an editorial from Friends of Wind Ontario

Wind Opponent Supports Criminal Behaviour, Threats To Workers
Friends of Wind Ontario says group has lost all credibility

The anti-wind movement in Ontario has hit an all-time low as a leaked email from a wind opponent says that “no one should be surprised with this sort of reaction”. It would be one thing if she were referring to an open house meeting that got a little loud. But she is referring to a police investigation into a death threat made to a wind energy worker in West Grey. The worker allegedly had a shotgun pointed at him and his life was threatened. And we should expect this in Ontario???

The email, which is in reference to the above news article, and was shared with us via a wind opponent who likely feels the issue has gotten out of hand, reads verbatim:

When the Ontario Provincial Government leaves no legitimate process in place to give people a meaningful say in what happens to their family, no one should be surprised with this sort of reaction.” (name deleted)

This incident is an unfortunate and criminal escalation in the bullying and intimidation tactics that developers have frequently faced for several years now as they lawfully construct wind energy projects that have been contracted by the province.

While wind energy developers have tried to have an engaging and genuine dialogue with citizens, a vocal – and increasingly abusive – minority, has set about to shut down public meetings, drown out speakers, and in some cases physically abuse proponents. I have witnessed this first-hand.

It is a sad day indeed when grown adults can’t express themselves through words and the democratic process. And unlike claims made by the small but loud wind opposition, there is significant opportunity for citizens and local governments to ask questions and offer feedback on projects. But when genuinely interested citizens show up at open house meetings they often find a few loud and aggressive anti-wind representatives doing everything in their power to ensure questions can’t be answered, let alone heard.

Developers have worked diligently to respond to questions with facts, to listen to concerns and ensure they are addressed in a timely fashion. The industry association has developed a series of Best Practices to guide the work of their members in local communities – best practices that were informed by dozens of municipal leaders and stakeholders.

Meanwhile the anti-wind groups have resorted to bullying, distortion of fact, and now this: the condoning of criminal action and threats to bodily harm.

Any credibility this group had is long gone. Let’s hope the police investigation results in charges and conviction.

Friends of Wind Ontario (FoWO) is a network of independent people from a variety of backgrounds who firmly believe in the numerous economic, environmental and social benefits of responsible wind energy for the people of Ontario. We have formed to fill the critical participatory void that exists among community engagement, municipal consultation and achievable wind power development. Through science-based, peer-reviewed research, we are committed to delivering a balanced message to all who would like to learn more on the benefits of wind energy. We are a non-profit volunteer-run organization, not affiliated with any political party, under our own direction and have not received funding from wind developers, landowners, industry/government associations, foundations or environmental groups.
Please follow us on Twitter: @FriendsofWind


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