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One last (?) blast at County Wind

The clock is ticking on the fate of Wind Farms in Prince Edward County. I always figure that this is the last column I write on the subject, but it’s never the case.
Sure, the discussion has evolved. But we’re no further ahead than we were two years ago. The factions have formed their lines, and they continue to go at each other with baseball bats, as if the ‘last man standing’ will win.
Former MPP Leona Dombrowsky is among the combat victims, standing by Dalton’s Glorious Legacy Dream until the bitter end. Newbie Todd Smith won the day in the last election and, because he apparently does not know how politics works, decided to represent the people who voted for him.
The crazy guy actually followed through on election promises, placing a bill before the Legislature to return decision-making power to the municipalities – the people who are ultimately affected by the project.
Clearly, he did not read the ‘How To Be A Successful Politician’ handouts. Item #1 is: “Do not make an attempt to serve your people.” There is only heartache and disappointment in that, plus the emotional grief of actually caring for the people you represent.
Instead, go to Item 2: “Hey, pretty soon you’ll get a nifty pension, so just stay quiet, vote the way the Leader tells you, and keep a low profile.”
Item 3: “Try to figure out how you can wangle yourself a private jet, or at least some free helicopter rides. Make sure you foster trade agreements in the Mayan Riviera, so you can visit Mexico regularly, and charge everything to your expense account, including that stupid-looking giant sombrero.”
I have no idea why MPP Smith would ignore this sage advice, which has been tried and true since 1867, except for the jets and helicopters. But you can bet Sir John would have used them, if they had been invented then.
So this poor fool decides to have a meeting with ‘The People’, to get a handle on the feelings about Ostrander Point.
The pro-wind people wrote this off as an ‘anti-wind’ meeting, so mostly boycotted it. This neatly allowed them to cry foul, since they weren’t properly represented, since they decided not to attend.
This is what is called a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’.
Note that our not-yet-corrupted MPP pointed out that many offers were made to government officials to attend, but were declined.
(This is Item 4: “If you are asked to a venue in which the people are demanding specific answers to probing questions, go to Cancun.”)
Countylive.ca (if you haven’t visited it, do it! It’s a blast!) did a poll which indicated that people do not want Wind Farms, particularly at Ostrander Point.
An attempt was made to wipe it away by a recent Letter to the Editor, claiming that the vote was not tightly controlled. Still, it’s about the only statistical info we have, so it needs to carry some weight. Pro-wind people had an equal opportunity to ‘fudge the results’.
So we might assume the numbers weren’t skewed by one guy who stayed up 48 hours, propped up on Red Bull and Jack Daniels, firing endless votes into the system, under different e-mail addresses.
I sent in a submission to the Ministry of Environment, after a long and painstaking effort to find the link in the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ websites that governments love.
In the end, I found the source. Every submission on Gilead Power’s plan for Ostrander Point had to go through ‘Shannon’, and nobody but ‘Shannon’.
When I tapped the ‘send’ key, I felt I had done my civic duty. And the reply?
Shannon is on maternity leave until January 2013!
There was a note to send material to ‘Sandra’ but, being somewhat paranoid about government activity (I’m sure you figured that out by now!), I had to ask myself: “Knowing you’re about to receive 100, or several hundreds, of submissions – why would you assign this job to someone who is leaving for a year, come January 2012?”
I know a set-up when I see one, and this one screams!
Meanwhile, back in the County trenches, the battle continues, waiting for the Ministry of the Environment to vote for killing birds, bats and turtles, and destroying their habitat, in the interest of protecting our environment, which once contained birds, bats and turtles.
I wrote in one of my columns that the pro-wind people had their hearts in the right place – trying to build a better world. I was wrong.
After watching the argument play out in the papers, I would like to amend that comment. Pro-wind people have their Brains in the right place, but not their Hearts.
The people with ‘heart’ are trying to prevent a devastating blow to our County ecosystem. The people with brains and statistics and logical arguments can explain it all, and tell us it will pay off in the Greater Health of our planet.
I used to be an Engineering student at Queen’s, because I was raised in the world of math and science, and everything could be explained logically.
I left that world because there was no room for my soul, in a profession that had no soul.
Instead, I became a writer, whose income can be determined by taking the $150,000 a year I could have made as an engineer, and subtracting $250,000. (For you logic people, that’s $150K – 250K, integrated with n and possibly b and extrapolated to eternity or when I die, whichever comes first.)
I’ve learned to trust more in my heart, and my experience, than in my brain. And, when you throw politics into the mix, it takes all the heart, experience and brains you can muster.
And, oddly enough, politics always wins.

Filed Under: Local NewsSteve Campbell

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  1. Steve says:

    I’m reluctant to check back in on this topic, but I’m cursed with never being able to shut up.

    To David – My son is an engineer, and a very fine person. My experience in 1970 was somewhat different, when I wanted to become a biochemical engineer, hoping to design ways to curb pollution. I was told by my faculty advisor that no-one was hiring people to solve pollution problems, but that I could get a good job with Exxon. No Kidding. It broke my heart.

    To Rob – Yes, I know your heart is in the right place, but you are a victim of politics, not of science.
    Global warming is a given, and we’re all on board. At least in Canada. But McGuinty’s solution is wrong. Dead wrong, and it will destroy what we have here.
    That’s not selfish, that’s just true. The technology is wrong, and it’s in the wrong place.
    I would dearly love McG to have put his billions of $ on the table into research and development, to develop microsystems, and bring down the costs of small-scale wind and solar, which I would literally put in My BackYard.
    Then, I think, we could become world leaders in energy production, not just followers of old technology and corporate greed.
    In the course of my own research, Canada actually fares well against other countries in relation to industrial toxic emissions, except for road vehicles. Despite this, Leona D. during her United Church meeting used the words ‘dirty coal’ no less than a dozen times. (I was counting) And yet the pie chart of power production shows that only 2.5% of our power comes from ‘dirty coal’. This is politics at its best, and it cost her the election. She tried to make a monster out of a mouse.
    Do we need to change? Yes. I’m with you.
    But I’m not willing to take the only other possibility lying on the table. Especially at the price we’ll have to pay.
    This I’m sure you’ll understand: New technologies are burgeoning. Are they being funded? Who knows?
    The brainpower is out there but, thanks to a political agenda that ignores everything else – scientific studies, health, lifestyle, property values and even its own Endangered Species Act – technology will not be allowed to find the answers we so desperately need.
    I admire and respect all of the opinions presented here.
    If you removed politics from the equation, I think we could all find the solution, together.
    But that choice has also been taken away.
    Steve

  2. Mark says:

    Paul MacRae is highly respected. What we do know is he is not being fed from the pockets of multi national corporations like many pro global warming scientists who have a personal interest in striking fear into the population in order to sell $$$$$$ the subsidized products that will do more harm than good.

  3. David Norman says:

    My comment bellow is directed at Rob Williams’ comment re “keeping up to date on Global Warming” further below.

  4. David Norman says:

    Despite my antagonistic predisposition towards your commentary regarding Industrial Wind Turbines, I am pleased to see your references to climate change and the degree of theoretical support that they offer to what I consider as a common sense realization. I did notice however that you conveniently left out other contributors to global warming such as Industrial Wind Turbines. A study entitled, “MIT analysis suggests generating electricity from large-scale wind farms could influence climate — and not necessarily in the desired way”, published by the Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, states that “using (land based) wind turbines to meet 10 percent of global energy demand in 2100 could actually have a warming effect, causing temperatures to rise by 1 °C”. And further that “whilst turbines installed in water would have a cooling effect, the net impact on global surface temperatures would be an increase of 0.15 °C”. http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2010/climate-wind-0312.html
    Incidentally, I’ve also heard that a continued proliferation of large solar panel array installations, because of the light refractory increase, has the potential to alert aliens on distant planets to our presence and technological sophistication.
    I do take exception to your attempt to answer to my challenge regarding Paul MacRae’s work http://www.paulmacrae.com. Paul MacRae’s inherent bias noted, he is after all trying to peddle his book in a competitive market, what possible difference does it make whether we take your suggestion to “look at the five year average temp deviation centered on 1998”. Five years, ten years, these are mere undetectable flickers of time in Climatic Science. However, take heart, I’m sure that the Climate Change ideological zealots (Knights Carbonic) will find a way to control the natural climatic phenomena of El Nino so as not to continue to place doubt on the Global Warming hypothesis.

  5. Mark says:

    Just took a look at the Notice of Draft Site Plan for the White Pines Wind Project. 29 industrial wind turbines slated to be built. I just can’t imagine living or owning land in the Milford, South Bay and South Shore area.

    To view this go to http://www.wpd-canada.ca

    Public meeting is on March 22, 5:30-8:00p.m. at Prince Edward Collegiate Institute.

  6. Rob Williams says:

    For those who are attempting to keep up to date on the science of global warming, you may find the following helpful:

    1) “However, what is absolutely clear is that we have continued to see a trend of warming, with the decade of 2000-2009 being clearly the warmest in the instrumental record going back to 1850. Depending on which temperature records you use, 2010 was the warmest year on record for NOAA NCDC and NASA GISS, and the second warmest on record in HadCRUT3.”
    http://metofficenews.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/met-office-in-the-media-29-january-2012/

    2) “Using moving averages to discern the long-term trend
    Figure 2 displays the 11-year moving average – an average calculated over the year itself and five years either side. They’ve used three different data-sets – NCDC, NASA GISS and the British HadCRUT3. In all three data-sets, the moving average shows no sign that the warming trend has reversed.”
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-stopped-in-1998-intermediate.htm

    3) Paul MacRae cherry picks the year 1998 as the start year for his analysis of recent global temperatures in order to show a cooling trend. 1998 was an exceptional year in which El Nino effects elevated average global temperatures way above the trend line. This is obvious when comparing the temperatures for 1998 (+0.62) against 1997 (+0.5) or 1999 (+0.43) (all temps. quoted as deviations in deg C above the 20th century average).

    (See http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/temp-and-precip/global-temps/global/land_ocean/ann, select “annual” in the Month box and click on Plot)

    If instead of picking the single year 1998 we look at the five year average temp deviation centered on 1998 we find that the average for 1996-2000 is +0.45 deg C. For the most recent five year period, 2007-2011 the average is +0.56 deg C.

    Unfortunately we can expect there will continue to be those who deny and attempt to discredit the scientific reality of global warming.

  7. David Norman says:

    @ Rob Williams
    As I have attempted to demonstrate with my commentary, it is all too easy to distort language in a manipulative manner to support suppositions like those you are making. For example, in this article, Steve Campbell attempts to somehow justify his “career” choice with the statement “I used to be an Engineering student at Queen’s, because I was raised in the world of math and science, and everything could be explained logically. I left that world because there was no room for my soul, in a profession that had no soul.” I have two friends, both engineers and both sincere and passionate environmental activists whose engineering endeavors clearly reflect their “soul”. Rob, you “talk the talk” but are you willing to “walk the walk”. I challenge you to answer, with some level of critical pragmatism, to the discourse of Paul MacRae regarding “climate science’s decade of deception” pointed to in the link provided by Mark in this commentary;http://www.paulmacrae.com/ .

  8. Rob Williams says:

    Before someone else picks me up on it, I should point out that I am not suggesting that no humans have experienced changes in climate. What I am saying is that no human before us has experienced such climate changes on a scale which threatens to bring about a mass extinction of living species comparable to the five events found in the fossil record over the last 500 million years. The present Climate Change is well on the way to causing such an event.

  9. Rob Williams says:

    Steve,

    Picking up on your last point, for most of the problems we face every day you are right, our hearts and experience serve us well when we have to decide and it’s only natural that we expect that should continue. Unfortunately this time we are faced with problems (Climate change and Peak oil) which no human living or dead has ever come close to experiencing.

    We have no relevant experience base and hence no alternative but to try to understand these problems and figure out what to do about them mostly based on our scientific analysis of the past (fossil record), our understanding of geology (where and how easily we can extract oil) and our understanding of climatology (how our climate works).

    It’s far from perfect, but till someone comes up with a more accurate approach that contradicts our current understanding, we’d do well to listen to and act on what the vast majority of experts in the above fields are telling us: Our future is in jeopardy and depends on us drastically cutting back on burning fossil fuels.

  10. Peter Wheeler says:

    What an enjoyable read … I am still smiling … now to pack our Mississauga bags and dogs and head out to Milford for the Family day holiday … a stat in February is the “only” thing McGuinty got right.

  11. Richard Allen says:

    The one thing I hope doesn’t happen as a result of this is that if the IWTs go up, Todd gets discouraged about taking a serious stand in the future. Agree or disagree with him on this issue, and there are folks on both sides, you gotta admit, the guy looked at the situation, thought we weren’t being represented (which we weren’t) and took a stand. If this one beats him, I hope he doesn’t lose that.

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