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OFA calls on government to suspend new wind turbine development

Escalating concerns about industrial wind turbines have prompted the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) to urge the province of Ontario to suspend further development until farm families and rural residents are assured their interests are adequately protected. The OFA unveiled its stance in a new position statement on industrial wind turbines, that will be presented to government later this month.

“The Board has made a very political decision without first discussing the issue with the regional policy advisory councils and must not have sought the advice of their field staff either,” said John Thompson, of the Prince Edward County Federation of Agriculture. “It would be a huge stretch to say that a vote of a director or two is representing the interests of the 37,000 members. Further more, very few of our County members have indicated opposition to the proposed wind developments in the County.”
Thompson said narrow decision of the board of directors was “to call for a suspension of new contracts being awarded to allow more time for examination of issues which are being perceived in Western Ontario. There is no intention of trying to interfere with projects currently in the pipleline.”

OFA President Mark Wales said the OFA isn’t against wind energy, but “it’s time to put a pause on the process, don’t issue any new projects until concerns are dealt with. The projects that are in the works are going to go ahead.”

Since 2007, when the development of industrial wind turbines began in Ontario, the OFA has worked with government on regulations, cautioned farmer members on the pitfalls of wind leases and expressed concerns about pricing. The OFA says many of these issues have not been addressed, causing tremendous tension among rural residents and community neighbours.

“We are hearing very clearly from our members that the wind turbine situation is coming to a head – seriously dividing rural communities and even jeopardizing farm succession planning,” says Wales. “The onus is on our provincial government to ensure the interests of rural Ontarians are protected. OFA is speaking up to clearly outline the issues that must be addressed right now.”

The OFA’s new position statement on industrial wind turbine development addresses a number of concerns of rural Ontarians, including:
– Price paid for wind power
– Inefficiency of wind power – it can’t be stored for use during peak demand periods
– Setback issues and induced currents
– Health and nuisance issues
– Removal of municipal input from industrial wind turbine projects

Wales said the OFA has always supported Ontario’s need for a reliable, affordable source of renewable energy for our future. “We must all work together to ensure green energy projects respect concerns for noise, community involvement and price, balanced with the effective provision of energy,” says Wales.

The position states the OFA supports the intentions of the Green Energy Act “however, the situation regarding Industrial Wind Turbines has become untenable… and the poliferation of wind turbines across rural Ontario has seriously polarized our rural communities, pitting neighbour against neighbour.”
Read the full OFA position statement on industrial wind turbines here.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is the largest general farm organization in Ontario, representing 37,000 farm families across the province. As a dynamic farmer-led organization based in Guelph, the OFA works to represent and champion the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recommendations, lobby efforts, community representation, media relations and more. OFA is the leading advocate for Ontario’s farmers and is Ontario’s voice of the farmer.

For more on windmills – pro and con – click here to visit countylive.ca’s PEC Wind Watch.

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  1. Doris Lane says:

    The FIT program is a diaster for Ontario at a time when the province can ill afford to pay out such exorbant fees for power it does not need and have to pay the US to take our excess power from us GREED is the name of the game for land owners who are in favour of GEA

  2. John Thompson says:

    I was able to get clarification from the OFA today. They are asking for a suspension of the awarding of any NEW FIT contracts for wind. The OFA does NOT want to halt the development of any approved FIT contracts. Not sure why the press release was worded so that no one came to that conclusion but am looking forward to a proper clarification of a poorly worded statement.

    Protocol was not good either as this position was made without any warning or consultation with local Federations or the Regional Policy Advisory Councils.

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