Elizabeth May

I’ve had a recent exchange with the Federal Leader of the Green Party ,  Elizabeth May.  I was listening to her in Nov. 10 on the Dale Goldhawk show in Toronto claiming that we need to move forward with Industrial wind energy and the health problems were minimal in comparison to those who suffer from Electromagnetic fields and cell phone radiation and coal pollution.  I called her up on some of her claims regarding health effects from coal pollution.

Here is my e-mail to her:

Ms May
I listened to your talk with Dale Goldhawk yesterday on Zoomer radio.  I am resident presently living with wind turbines in southwest Ontario.  Your glib comments  about the appropriate setbacks and deaths attributable to coal pollution stems directly from the CanWEA handbook and completely discounts the 100’s people presently living with the stress of sleepless nights since the commissioning of these Industrial wind projects.   In other words the perceived few who are affected seem to be expendable in your mind and all it takes is appropriate sighting of turbines to forge on with Industrial Wind development, despite researchers indicating that people as far as 5 miles away are being affected. This of course, based on your thorough analysis of the info. available.
I am attaching a presentation from Dr. Ross McKitrick of the University of Guelph who clearly shows that pollution has been on the decline since the ’60’s and that the precursors needed for the production of ozone is largely coming from the U.S.  The connection that the Canadian Assoc. of Physicians for the Environment  and obviously the Green Party’s connection as well,  uses for illness/mortality is based on a statistical model,  not actual observed effects. Dr.McKitrick was also able to conclude that conventional energy from the retrofit units at Lambton & Nanticoke cost less than using the minuscule benefits renewable energy could provide towards the health effects  from pollution.
It is clear to me therefore that you are using a  scare tactic to endores “green” policies  since not one coal generating plant in Ontario has all of it’s proper scrubbers.   When I questioned Dr. McKitrick about the sourced of his conclusion he indicated the following:

I am looking at the 2005 report, (reports that were used by OMA and RNAO) Table A-6, which shows the contribution of coal-fired generating stations to ozone and fine particulate (PM10) levels at 57 locations across the province under the 4 scenarios described. In 56 of 57 regions, including Toronto and other major urban centers, eliminating coal-fired power and replacing it with nothing at all would reduce ozone levels by between zero and one-half of one part per billion (in Haldimand-Norfolk the change would be just under 2 ppb). In 55 of 57 regions PM10 would be reduced by between 0.1 and 2 micrograms per cubic meter (Hald-Norf and Niagara would be 4 and 2.2 mg/m3) respectively. For the most part these changes are below the limits of machine-detectability.

And of course the coal has to be replaced with something. If the coal-fired power plants are replaced with natural gas then the changes are smaller.

Either way these changes are trivial compared to historical pollution levels in Ontario.

In addition, Ms May by making such unfounded statements about death attributable to coal pollution, you are making the  mistake of not counting the health/mortality risks of the alternatives after the coal plants are shut down. We can’t just turn off 25% of our power supply. If the Green Party  is truly concerned about advocating on behalf of human health, as opposed to just jumping on the green bandwagon, they ought to have considered the impact on health from green energy policies that increase unemployment and triple the cost of electricity for families that are already having trouble making ends meet. Only now are we learning how expensive these green policies have become and to continue with this kind of mandate is putting Canada at risk for major unemployment as is the case in Spain were for every green job they invested into,  2.2 jobs in other sectors were lost.

In closing,  I hope you will consider my information seriously and take the needed action necessary to stop this kind of “green” folly.

This is her response

I will reply in detail as my schedule allows. I have a particularly hectic several days ahead, so just wanted you to know I have your correspondence.
It is certainly unfortunate you have accused me of “lies”…. I don’t think that helps your case.  I am a very diligent researcher.  As well as being leader of the Green Party, I am a published author.  getting the facts straight is important to me.  The fact the wind industry talks about “peer-reviewed research” and I talk about “peer-reviewed research” is because other so-called studies do not have the scientific rigor to be considered valid.  The figures I sent you about air pollution come from the Canadian Medical Association.  In any event, I will save details and citations for when I can get back to my files.
Meanwhile, since the Green Party of Canada is the only federal party to accept that wind power can cause health effects when sited inappropriately, I wonder what party you plan to vote for, if not us?
Elizabeth May, O.C.Leader

I will reply in detail as my schedule allows. I have a particularly hectic several days ahead, so just wanted you to know I have your correspondence.

It is certainly unfortunate you have accused me of “lies”…. I don’t think that helps your case.  I am a very diligent researcher.  As well as being leader of the Green Party, I am a published author.  getting the facts straight is important to me.  The fact the wind industry talks about “peer-reviewed research” and I talk about “peer-reviewed research” is because other so-called studies do not have the scientific rigour to be considered valid.  The figures I sent you about air pollution come from the Canadian Medical Association.  In any event, I will save details and citations for when I can get back to my files.

Meanwhile, since the Green Party of Canada is the only federal party to accept that wind power can cause health effects when sited inappropriately, I wonder what party you plan to vote for, if not us?

Elizabeth May, O.C.
Leader

Dear Ms. May
.
You state :  “Credible information comes from peer-reviewed studies in the medical literature.  There is very very little of that that sees any problem with wind turbines”
These are classical wind industry claims, which ignores the fact that over 100  people identified in a self administered health survey in Ontario are indicating real problems with living with wind turbines.
http://windvigilance.com/down.aspx While perusing this site you should take the time to review Dr. Alec Salts’ information showing the mechanism by which ILFN are perceived and Dr. Nissenbaum’s study of Maine and Vinalhaven showing clear correlation that sleep disturbances and depression is higher with residents living within 2 miles of wind turbines.
Instead of investigating the issue with real people, the industry claims there is no health effects based on the Dutch “Wind farm-Perception” survey conducted by Eja Pedersen and Persson Waye as support of “no adverse health effects”. I believe this is the information  which you refer to as “peer reviewed”.   One often sees the following statement in wind proponent literature and now by you as noted by your statement above: “In our study (Pederson, Waye) no adverse health effects other than annoyance could be directly connected to wind turbine noise”. There are several points that the industry often overlooks when relaying the results of this survey: 

  1. Annoyance represented a series of symptoms such as depression, anxiety, distraction, agitation, or exhaustion. Annoyance is an adverse heath effect according to the Berglund WHO Guideline for Community Noise .
  1. This survey reviewed a dose response using strictly the dBA scale. Nothing was done to ascertain if ILFN could be linked to the problems as was done in research related to “Sick Building Syndrome” which identified workers in office buildings suffering headaches, and reduced worker productivity due to ILFN’s resulting from heating and cooling systems.
  1. Only 26% of the nearby turbines were 1.5 MW or above, and 66% of them were smaller than 1 MW — whereas the turbines being built now are typically 2-2.5 MW. Future wind technology suggest units up to 8 MW.
  1. Only 9% of the respondents lived with an estimated noise level from the turbines of more than 45 dB outside of their homes, which is the maximum level recommended by the World Health Organization to ensure that the inside level is 30 dB as required for sleeping.  In fact the majority of setbacks in Europe are well over 1 km instead of the 800 metres you seem to think is adequate.
  1. 15% of the people being highly annoyed by the noise occurred at 38 dBA for wind turbines, 57 dBA for aircraft, 63 dBA for road traffic, and 70 dBA for railways. This suggests that there is an element about wind turbine noise that is more annoying at lower levels than from other  sources.  In fact @ 41 dBA, 35% of people were highly annoyed .


  1. 16% of respondents with sound levels outside of their homes over 35 dBA, reported that their sleep was disturbed by wind turbine noise.


  1. Pedersen found that some people had moved out of their homes, rebuilt their homes in an attempt to exclude turbine noise, or begun legal proceedings because of problems associated with turbine exposure .


  1. Pedersen and Persson Waye also found informants who were sensitive to both noise and blade motion, felt violated or invaded by turbine noise, and found their houses to be places where they could no longer find restoration .

Like the wind industry you continue to hold up the example of Denmark and Germany. Denmark who has the largest penetration of wind in their electrical  system (20%) is only able to use at best 9% of this generation because so often wind is only available at night.  Denmark must dump their surplus wind generation to Finland and Sweden at Danish taxpayers expense who BTW have the highest electrical rates in Europe. To top things off, all this effort hasn’t even translated into a reduction in C02.  Please see attached document concerning Germany who is also experiencing the same high cost and low return scenario with all renewables.  This 2009 document indicates the following:

We argue that German renewable energy policy, and in particular the adopted feed-in tariff scheme, has failed to harness the market incentives needed to ensure a viable and cost-effective introduction of renewable energies into the country’s energy portfolio. To the contrary, the government’s support mechanisms have in many respects subverted these incentives, resulting in massive expenditures that show little long-term promise for stimulating the economy, protecting the environment, or increasing energy security.

If you are inclined you may also to want to watch the following reviews of Spain and Denmarks push for green energy.  Spain showing that for every green job,  2.2 jobs were lost in other sectors.

http://windconcernsontario.wordpress.com/2010/11/23/mcguinty-is-following-spains-green-job-model/

http://windconcernsontario.wordpress.com/2010/11/23/denmarks-wind-power-experience-costs-and-consequences/

Your ideas about storage would require a massive reservoir with the capacity  to hold all of Niagara falls, which in turn requires us to pay twice for electricity.  Once to pump up to these reservoirs and again when these are used to allow traditional turbines to work. All literature relating to the feasibility of storage of electricity explicitly say how this is an enormous added expense.  Besides don’t you think if storage was feasible,  even conventional electrical generation would have used this already?

You also state:  ” Meanwhile, the data is extensive about deaths from coal-fired power plants ”  Can you  share the “peer” reviewed data which shows this?

In conclusion, if you don’t want to be accused of being a mouthpiece for wind industry propaganda then maybe you should start paying attention to the facts. People listen to experts like Ross McKitrick because he bases his findings in real data. Why don’t you ever tell people that air pollution in Ontario has been falling for decades and is very low in most locations? When is the last time you even looked at the data, instead of just repeating lobbyist slogans?  Your suggestion that he is blocking  action needed to respond to the climate crisis ignores the need  to avoid costly and wasteful policies. How many more people will have to abandon their homes and suffer from the effects of wind turbines until politicians admit the obvious reality that the wind industry cannot prove that it can  lower  harmful emissions,   reduce the mining and burning of coal, lower  or stabilize electricity rates, wean us from foreign oil, nor provide a  timely and reliable product needed in a modern society.

Just so that you know,  I will never vote Green Party.

Resident/farmer Essex County living with the incessant movement and swooshing of  24 Industrial Wind turbines and who has monitored noise levels reaching over 54 dBA but is told that the wind developer  has submitted a report to MOE and no further action/mitigation is required at this time.

P.S.  According to http://www.airqualityontario.com here are the current “killer” PM2.5 levels. Anything under 11 is rated “very good.”, and anything under 22 is “good.” You tell me where the air is so bad we should put up with wind turbines and skyrocketing electricity rates.


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5 responses to “Elizabeth May

  1. “It is certainly unfortunate you have accused me of “lies”…. I don’t think that helps your case. I am a very diligent researcher. As well as being leader of the Green Party, I am a published author.”

    Chuckle!

    Classic Appeal to authority — but she herself is the authority. I thought she had a law degree and some debating experience.

    Circular reasoning and an appeal to authority — which is Herself — all in a few short sentences!

    I just love the appeal for sympathy as well. ” you have accused me of “lies””

    I don’t think you accused her of lies — simply unfounded statements — and that appears to be supported by your cites.

    If she is smart — she will turn and run!!!

  2. Great letter and rebuttal. You are going to confuse her with facts.

  3. To be fair David, I did entitle my original email in the subject line as Wind turbines, Coal pollution and Green Party Lies. I did not accuse her personally of lies but I don’t know what you call it when coal pollution is decreasing and she insists on promoting the fact that coal pollution is killing people at the rate of thousands per year. I personally don’t like the self boasting as though her credentials cannot make her subject to misunderstanding or capable of perpetuating CanWEA slogans. Thanks for your comments. There is another response from her that I cannot seem to find that will make this info. more complete.

  4. “I have a particularly hectic several days ahead…”

    This suggests that Ms. May has much more important matters to which she must attend, but will spare you a moment of her time which is, of course, much more valuable than yours.

    In my experience, people with “hectic” lives are spread too thin. They are generally moving on to something more important than what presents in the moment – not a “green” use of personal power.

    To her potential credit, Ms. May has said she will get back to you in more detail. I would hold her to this. I have been waiting for two months to hear back from the Green Party of Canada’s energy critic regarding the need for an immediate call for a moratorium.

  5. Here is a link to the Juan de Mariana site…
    http://www.juandemariana.org/repercusion/3455/green/stimulus/money/costs/more/

    Ms. May is a lawyer I gather and should know how to research, But the mathematics in scientific research often leaves people behind. I suspect she might make a good social invitee for an evening of acrimonious debate over matters green. If the debate required and significant skill at assessing the basis of electrical generation claims and so on I would expect that she simply could not cope.

    Should she become PM — ever — there will be a line-up at the border exits of biblical exodus proportions.

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