Green law to restrict location of wind turbines

TORONTO, ONTARIO - There's virtually no health danger posed by wind turbines, although Ontario's new "green energy" law would set province-wide guidelines on how close they can be to populated areas, says Energy Minister George Smitherman.

The law, to be introduced in the Legislature, is aimed at bringing more renewable energy projects onto the grid as well as pushing conservation, including incentives to retrofit buildings to reduce electricity consumption, he told reporters.

Smitherman again took aim at opponents of a proposed Toronto Hydro project to put a string of wind turbines in Lake Ontario two to four kilometres off the Scarborough Bluffs, saying they are far enough away from homes not to be "impactful."

"People are raising questions," he said in a nod to area residents concerned about the impact turbines could have on human health, migratory birds and other natural concerns.

"We have done a lot of work looking at the evidence... we're always reviewing the literature," Smitherman added, suggesting polluted air from coal-fired electricity plants poses health dangers that outweigh concerns about wind turbines.

Bluffs resident Roger Bywater said he's not convinced the scientific literature on "wind turbine syndrome" is as clear as Smitherman portrays, because of concerns low-frequency sound can aggravate people sensitive to migraines, for example. Bywater previously accused the government of losing its ability to discuss the turbine plan in a "fair and rational" manner.

New Democrat energy critic Peter Tabuns (Toronto-Danforth) suggested the government's recent habit of releasing hints about the green law is designed to distract Ontarians from the fact the government is planning to build a new nuclear plant at the Darlington site.


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