It has been my experience, over the past fourteen years, while dealing with people in opposition to projects that these people fit into a few select categories.
First, there are the “environmental zealots”. This group will oppose anything and everything that they feel has any impact on the environment. In many cases, this opposition represents a part-time or, in some cases, a full-time vocation. Reason is not normally part of their agenda.
Second, there are the “headline hunters”. This group includes environmentalists and politicians alike and they are usually individuals who want to gain notoriety and use their opposition to a project to revel in those thirty second sound bites on radio or television. On the Adams Mine project alone, at least five people who opposed the landfill near Kirkland Lake decided to run for political office. In my view this was a result of their becoming intoxicated with perceived fame.
Finally, there are the “reasonable environmentalists”. These Are Very Important People. They are the ones who take a rational approach, ask reasoned and rational questions and deserve reasoned and rational answers.
In my most recent blog I wrote that Bob McMurtry seems to fit that profile based on media reports I have read. Mr. McMurtry has been asking pointed questions regarding wind farms and their potential impact on people living in close proximity to the turbines.
Recent press reports in the Toronto Star state that Mr. McMurtry began as a strong advocate of wind power and its benefits, and supported the installation of turbines on his own property. However, during the ensuing process, based on his own research, he raised some questions.
Specifically, he asked about the impact of low-frequency noise resulting from the turbine operation, and asked if there were any scientific studies related to its impact. Seems there were none; at least none that have satisfied Mr. McMurtry. A reasonable man, he asked Queen’s Park for an independent study, and requested that greater set-backs for the turbines be considered until one was done. The government stalled, the industry objected, however, Mr. McMurtry persisted with his requests.
Like all environmental issues where communication breaks down, the fat has hit the fire. Mr. McMurtry has now provided a website www.windvigilance.com and there is also a government website with their information on the issue. Mr. McMurtry is not someone to be taken lightly. He is part of a body called the Society for Wind Vigilance with a membership that includes scientists and doctors concerned with the issue.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture, a strong lobby in Ontario, is now calling for a moratorium on wind projects until a study is done. And now, right in the middle, with an election coming in the fall of this year, you’ll find my cousin Dalton. If you will forgive the pun, I would say his Green Energy plans are hanging precariously on a windmill.
I don’t know Mr. McMurtry but, it would seem to me, he fits into the important category of a reasonable environmentalist and he should not be ignored.
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