By Tom Collins and Patrick Meagher
NORTH FRONTENAC — The Ontario Liberal government must stop the “exploitation” of rural Ontario by the wind power industry, said a new group formed to speak on behalf of 115 of the province’s 444 municipalities.
Industrial-scale wind turbines and large solar power projects have developed to the point that they have “caused hydro costs to increase, caused a division between rural and urban municipalities, and caused the citizens of Ontario to lose faith in democracy,” said North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins, who is leading the charge of the newly formed Ontario Multi Municipal Group, representing municipalities that declared themselves unwilling hosts of wind turbines. He added that people exposed to industrial wind turbines “have been deprived of their constitutionally guaranteed right to have a say in the matter of the shaping of the environment in which they live.”
The group demands that rural municipalities have the final say on approval of renewable power projects in their areas.
In a prepared statement, Higgins blasted the province for a green energy policy that he said has not shown any environmental benefits. “There is no evidence that wind turbines reduce greenhouse gases as they require back-up from fossil-fuel derived power sources when the wind doesn’t blow,” he said. He added that the Ministry of Energy has stated that Ontario is in a surplus power situation for the next 10 years and doesn’t need more wind turbines. There are more than 2,000 operating wind turbines in Ontario and possibly another almost 5,600 on the way.
Higgins also argued that the negative effects of wind turbines are being suppressed and expert knowledge is being ignored. He listed numerous negative effects that included acoustic and optical effects, states of anxiety caused by low audible frequencies and the disruption of bird and bat migration.
In an interview with Farmers Forum, Higgins said that he does not want green energy projects to be approved “until we’ve gone through due diligence in the municipalities affected.”