Chatham-Kent Essex MPP Rick Nicholls will have the full backing of the Ontario Progressive Conservative caucus when he introduces legislation Wednesday that targets wind farm developers.
Nicholls told The Chatham Daily News he will table a bill at Queen's Park to prohibit non-disclosure clauses as part of leases signed with landowners to have industrial wind turbines erected on their properties.
He said if a landowner chooses to have an industrial wind turbine on their property, and “you start to encounter any type of . . . health problems, due noise or vibration or suddenly your well goes bad, because of pile driving or so on, the non-disclosure agreement says to people, you can't complain to anybody other than you take it back to the wind turbine company.”
He said the non-disclosure agreements are done intentionally to prevent residents from talking to third-parties about health hazards and pollution connected with the building of these wind farms.
Nicholls said this can affect other people in the area, citing the concerns raised with pile driving into the Kettle Point black shale bedrock in the area, which is known to contain uranium, arsenic and lead, which are all known to be harmful to human health.
He said vibration from the pile driving breaks up this toxic shale below the groundwater and contaminates it.
“Water wells are being poisoned as the government continues to allow the pile driving,” he added.
The Daily News contacted the Canadian Wind Energy Association for comment on this proposed bill.
“When landowners host wind energy turbines on their land they sign long-term private legal agreements that allow the wind developer to use their land. In return, these agreements provide compensation to farmers and landowners which can help to provide stable income and a cushion against crop yield variations, commodity pricing fluctuations and weather-induced incidents,” said CanWEA regional director – Ontario, Brandy Giannetta, in a written statement.
“CanWEA and the wind energy industry are committed to working closely with landowners, communities and regulatory agencies to ensure wind energy developments are constructed and operated in a responsible and sustainable manner,” she added.
Nicholls acknowledges the bill won't likely become law before the upcoming provincial election.
However, he said it is important to prove the Ontario PCs are “the only party that will stop the further development of industrial wind turbines.”
Nicholls said the NDP propped up the Ontario Liberals with their support of the Green Energy Act, adding that wind and solar are at the centre of the NDP platform.