Ontario Proposes Rules for Offshore Wind Turbines

In May, the province's Chief Medical Officer of Health issued a report finding no adverse health effects or hearing damage associated with wind turbines. The proposed rules would keep them at least 5 kilometers from the shoreline.

The provincial government of Ontario, Canada, has proposed rules for siting offshore wind turbines that would keep them at least 5 kilometers from the shoreline of lakes Superior, Huron, Erie, and Ontario. These lakes are a vital source of drinking water, hydro power, and commerce for the province's residents. The public and industry have 60 days to comment on the proposal on the province's environmental registry (Registry number 011-0089, http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/), and there will be public and industry consultation sessions starting in the fall. Dates and locations will be available soon at www.ontario.ca/environment.

The provincial government unveiled the proposal June 25 and says its shoreline exclusion zone is comparable to proposals by many U.S. states that border the Great Lakes. Ontario has proposed that wind turbine developers be required to complete a comprehensive application addressing potential impacts to endangered and threatened species and their habitats, flooding, and erosion.

On May 20, Dr. Arlene King, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, issued a report in partnership with the Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and the Council of Ontario Medical Officers of Health. The report found no scientific evidence of adverse health impacts from wind turbines and concluded the sound produced by turbine blades at common residential setbacks could not cause hearing impairment or other direct adverse health effects, although it may annoy some people.

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