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WORKING WITH THE MEDIA
A good relationship with the media is key to getting our message out, i.e., that industrial wind development is not a good thing for the people of Ontario, and specifically, for the people in your area. Remember: the media is under NO obligation to tell your story. It’s up to you to present your message in a way that is factual, interesting and newsworthy. It’s important to: • ALWAYS be polite (even if you have had a bad experience with a media contact…just be careful next time). ALWAYS offer to provide information and background, even other people for them to talk to, if they need it. ALWAYS appeal to the broader interests of the community with your information‐‐‐this isn’t about you or a small group of people, it’s important to everyone. Keep your comments SHORT and uncomplicated—stick to your message and don’t be led astray. Have pertinent local details on hand: distance from the majority of homes, number of people affected, etc.
Corporate wind developers Industrial wind turbines (NOT wind “mills”) Industrial wind turbine installations or projects, NEVER “farms” or “parks”
1. KEY MESSAGES
Decide which issues you are going to focus on. It is IMPOSSIBLE to help a media contact understand the whole picture in one interview, especially for radio or TV where they have SECONDS to let you tell your story. Focus on one or at most two of the messages below, then use the background info to add detail. Here are the main messages: Industrial wind turbines and industrial wind development is not about saving the environment or promoting health: this is an alliance between huge, often foreign corporations for profit. Industrial wind turbines are an inharmonious use of the land when sited near people’s homes. The Green Energy Act has removed the democratic right of Ontario’s municipalities to plan for such developments, and protect the property rights and health of their residents.
There ARE health effects from industrial wind turbines due to the noise and vibration they produce. Sleep disturbance produces sleep deprivation which in turn can cause headaches, high blood pressure and other symptoms. Industrial level wind energy is expensive and unreliable; other means such as conservation and using technology to improve existing power generating facilities and transmission would help meet Ontario’s power needs better.
2. BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Now, with those messages in mind, use the details provided in the background section, to form your comments.
“We are concerned because … “
…Wind turbines don’t do what the developers say they do. ‐Coal‐fired power generation can’t be replaced by wind power. In fact, the wind turbines need fossil fuel backup because they are intermittent. …Many experts do not support industrial wind turbines ‐consultants for the David Suzuki Foundation identified the most important ways for Canadians to meet their power needs: conservation, hydro, small scale wind developments, and small scale solar projects. Industrial‐ scale wind developments (that need hydro or fossil fuel back‐up) do not rate high on the list of energy sources with beneficial impacts. ‐industrial wind is a poor way to generate energy. Industrial wind power developments are expensive and the wind is unreliable. On average, the wind developments already operating in Ontario achieve less than 20% of their capacity. (If possible, check the IESO website for the current output of a development near you before your interview) ‐industrial wind turbines cause environmental impacts such as disruption of the water table, the addition of noise and vibration to the environment, and they have effects on people and wildlife ‐most analysts favour LOW IMPACT renewable energy sources‐‐‐industrial wind turbines are NOT low impact. …Industrial wind turbines are an inappropriate land use. ‐the presence of industrial wind turbines near communities is a factor now like being located near a dump or a quarry‐‐‐property values have been shown to decline by 30%, as much as 50%, and some properties are made uninhabitable and worthless.
‐this is expropriation without compensation ‐the resulting loss in property value will affect the tax base in Ontario, and will affect the ability of thousands of property owners to live or retire. ‐industrial wind turbines are an industrial use of the land, and not consistent with land planning near homes and farms in Ontario …There has not been proper consultation ‐With the introduction of the Green Energy Act in 2009, the provincial government has removed the ability of local communities to control planning for wind turbine projects. ‐[If you have any details about the corporate wind developer(s) in your area and how they have conducted consultations, use it…provided you can back up your statements as fact) … There are health effects from industrial wind turbines ‐documented reports of adverse health effects are increasing ‐people in Ontario are experiencing sleep deprivation and health problems they didn’t have before turbines near them started operation. ‐public health officials in Ontario have spoken out about the need for proper studies such as sleep studies ‐Ontario has yet to do a study that includes physical examination and interviews with people who live near the giant turbines. ‐the health reports or selective literature reviews done by so far in Ontario have been flawed and incomplete. One of the “studies” was actually funded by the multi‐billion‐dollar wind development industry; one of its authors was cautioned by the physicians’ regulatory body NOT to present himself as an authority in this area. ‐ Measurement protocols for audible noise and low frequency sound around wind turbines are not clear. Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment is not even able to determine at this time if noise is out of compliance for those suffering from invasive noise. ‐the corporate wind developers claim “coal is killing people”; in fact, Ontario’s air pollution comes from the U.S., and from car/truck use …the corporate wind developers are focused only on profit ‐these are mostly huge foreign‐owned companies who are in Ontario only to take advantage of the very high government subsidies for the creation of power. The industry would not exist if
not for these generous hand‐outs. In Ontario, estimates are that $20 to 30 billion of taxpayer dollars will be used to support intermittent, inefficient and unreliable sources of electricity. ‐the promises of jobs and “green” energy are unfounded. Some local jobs may be created during the construction process, but others will be in southern Ontario for as long as the government‐ supported false “boom” lasts. ‐the Green Energy Act has created unsustainable financial advantages for the corporate wind developers to profit at the expense of Ontario property owners, electricity ratepayers, and Ontario taxpayers. ‐the developers aren’t being honest/are hiding the truth about the experience in other countries. Denmark, Spain, France and Germany are all making changes to industrial wind development because of the effects on the economy (jobs were not created as forecast) and on people’s. In Spain, experience indicates that for every “green” job into which its government invested, 2.2 jobs in other sectors were lost.
We are not alone…
‐our group is one of more than 40 citizens’ groups throughout Ontario ‐more than 70 municipalities in Ontario have challenged the Green Energy Act and are asking for a halt to industrial wind turbine developments ‐citizens’ groups around the world are opposed to industrial wind turbine developments
DON’T let the media lead you astray by talking about what the turbines LOOK LIKE. We don’t care: it’s what they DO that matters. Again, always be polite, calm, informative. Offer to provide documentation, maps, whatever the media person needs. Keep it short: they do NOT have time to pore over 50+ pages of scientific reports. Offer to keep in touch; ask if they would like to join your group’s email list. Hand out a business card with your website and WCO's website listed. (Easy to make your own, see your office supply store.) Special note re: TV‐‐‐if you are invited to appear on camera, choose your background wisely…the developers like to place themselves in empty landscapes, but YOU can choose a realistic background.
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