REVOLT opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

REVOLT Newsletter 217

Revolt news 4/12/2006

1. Conflict of interest is a problem which afflicts many walks of life, not least in science. It is disappointing to learn that Dr Mike Repacholi, head of the WHO EMF (i.e. electric and magnetic fields) unit until this June, and chief architect of the draft WHO Framework for precaution on EMFs, has used the same WHO draft in legal testimony for the Connecticut Light and Power Company in USA in October. I and others had felt that the emerging draft Framework was too dismissive, especially of effects other than childhood leukaemia, and played into the hands of the power companies. See APPENDIX B.

2. Lennart Hardell, in a paper "Secret Ties to Industry and Conflicting Interests in Cancer Research" in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, accepted 17 May 2006, reveals other important cases of undisclosed or conflicting interests, including Richard Doll, late chairman of the NRPB Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation. Hardell's paper refers to many others in the literature of conflicts of interest in scientific advice and risk assessment.

3. Denis Henshaw and I are raising these concerns in the SAGE group, which is trying to finalise its report into precaution for EMFs. It is a struggle when so many automatically defer to established bodies like WHO without troubling to read the science for themselves, especially when the probity of those established bodies is so dubious. See also item 7 below.

4. Yet another Energy Minister! Now Alasdair Darling, demoted from Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, replaces Malcolm Wicks. An early statement favouring local generation appears in APPENDIX A.

5. Snips from news@all-energy 75 and 76 are at APPENDIX A.

6. Country Guardian, the UK umbrella group for objectors to wind farms has just issued its newsletter Open View number 49. Country Guardian maintains an excellent "red book" of all UK wind farm proposals and their states of application, approval or rejection. They also publish a comprehensive resource, The Case Against Windfarms, updated in 2006 by Dr John Etherington, which can be downloaded from http://www.countryguardian.net/case2006.pdf .

7. It now looks likely that the long-awaited SAGE report could be published by Christmas. The Review and Completion Task Group (RCTG) has been busy in October and November and has made some progress. The Main Group is to consider a final draft on 12th December. The draft (now Version 6) presents a wide range of agreement, at least in RCTG, with some unresolved key issues dealt with in parallel sections. This is probably as far as SAGE can get, so it would not be helpful to carry on trying to agree everything. I will be able to report more after 12th December.

***** *****

APPENDIX A Snips from news@all-energy 75 of mid-November 2006.

2.10.Government seeks boost for local energy

A radical shift away from large centralised power production to community based 'locally grown' energy could help cut carbon emissions and improve efficiency said Alistair Darling http://www.gnn.gov.uk/environment/ 4.3.Bid to overhaul Europe's grid

Italy's prime minister has said Europe needs a central power authority to prevent the kind of blackouts that recently left swathes of West Europe without energy http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/6117880.stm 

4.4.Ofgem's sustainable development report

Energy regulator Ofgem has kick-started a debate on its first annual report on sustainable development in the energy sector http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/ 

4.5.ENA gives evidence to HoC

Energy Networks Association gave evidence to the House of Commons Trade & Industry Select Committee inquiry into local generation with a clear message that the network operators know what needs to be done to accommodate a range of generation choices and that this mixture can be achieved technically given the necessary planning time and appropriate incentives  http://www.energynetworks.org/spring/mediacentre/ 

and from issue 76 of late November:

3.3.Support for super-grid scheme

SNP leader Alex Salmond won heavyweight backing for his vision of a giant North Sea grid feeding power from renewable sources round the Scottish and Norwegian coast to industrial centres in Europe  http://www.thisisnorthscotland.co.uk/ 

3.6.National Grid's plans

National Grid plans to spend 9bn on its British electricity and gas networks in the five years to March 2011, which will increase the company's UK assets by 40pc..... Much of the extra investment is needed to enable RE projects to be connected to the network. http://tinyurl.com/yxpvxr  

3.8.Impact of RE on power grids

With a $1.23m grant, researchers from the USA's Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will be creating a distributed power "test-bed" to study how the electricity distribution grid might be affected by the widespread adoption of clean, RE sources http://www.carbonfree.co.uk/cf/news/wk47-0002.htm 

***** *****

APPENDIX B Note on the WHO/Repacholi affair from Microwave News.

Dear Colleagues:

It's now official. Just months after leaving his post as the head of the EMF project at the World Health Organization (WHO), Mike Repacholi is in business as an industry consultant.

The Connecticut Light and Power Co. (CL&P), a subsidiary of Northeast Utilities, and the United Illuminating Co. (UI) have hired Repacholi to help steer the Connecticut Siting Council away from a strict EMF exposure standard. The two utilities commissioned Repacholi to prepare detailed comments to support a 100 mG level proposed by Peter Valberg of the Gradient Corp. and to rebut the state Department of Public Health (DPH), which is seeking a much tougher approach.

Repacholi's filing has been criticized for citing and at times, misrepresenting, as-yet unreleased WHO reports for the benefit of his corporate clients. Some see this as a continuation of his activities at the WHO, where Repacholi was often accused of favoring the mobile phone and electric utility industries at the expense of public health.

Others see Repacholi's consulting work as the closing of a circle. Industry provided financial support for the EMF project and Repacholi is now using the materials he prepared at the WHO with industry money to support their policy positions.

In addition, new information has emerged indicating that the WHO EMF project has been receiving much more industry support than previously acknowledged.

Read the complete Microwave News story at:  http://www.microwavenews.com/CT.html 

***** *****

-- Mike O'Carroll

 

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