Chatham, ON – Fourteen Chatham area well owners have now filed water well interference complaints against the developers of a 34 turbine wind power project near their farms. The Council of Canadians is demanding work stop immediately on the North Kent One Wind project (owned by Samsung Energy and Pattern Energy) before more families lose their well water.
Dave Lusk filed the fourteenth well interference complaint after his water stopped running while he was showering on Wednesday. “Four generations of my family have had pure, beautiful drinking water from that well for 52 years” said Lusk. “A week after the pile drivers started next door, we are choked out with black silt. How the hell are they allowed to keep doing this to people? This has to stop.”
Several of the 14 wells affected to date have become so silted up that water no longer flows through the household plumbing.
Last September, Kevin Jakubec, the spokesperson for Water Wells First – a group formed out of concern that the proposed North Kent Wind One project would harm local wells – challenged the provincial approval of the project at an Environmental Review Tribunal hearing. Experts testified that vibrations from both pile driving and wind turbine operation would cause pollution problems in local wells, but the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change continues to rely on a vibration study paid for by the developers which predicted no adverse affects.
“Despite all our work to warn the Ontario government and Samsung, despite 14 pristine wells suddenly becoming polluted when pile driving started, they continue to pretend that nothing is wrong” said Kevin Jakubec. “This isn’t about whether wind power is good or bad. This is about a poorly designed project wrecking our water. This is about a government that is so deeply beholden to the interests of billion-dollar corporations that it refuses to protect its own citizens.”
North Kent One Wind recently won a court injunction against protestors who had blocked access to one of the 34 turbine construction sites for 11 days in August.
The Council of Canadians provided non-violent civil disobedience training to dozens of local residents last May and Council of Canadians chapter volunteers from Windsor and London visited the blockade site in August. On September 24, Maude Barlow, Honorary Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, spoke at a Dover Centre event in support of the community and water as a human right.
“It is outrageous that the Ontario government is refusing to halt construction in the face of such overwhelming evidence,” said Barlow. “The Wynne government must order the construction to stop now. If Samsung can’t do this project without damaging people’s water then they should not do it at all.”