Articles filed under Impact on People from Illinois
"It just seems like this is a perfect place for a wind farm, in big, open spaces," Town of Chilton resident Sandy Popp said. "In this project, there aren't many nonparticipating land owners, and I think that makes a huge difference. In our county, there will be hundreds of people who will not be participating who will be relatively close."
There is no mistaking where Bill Welty stands - the signs at the end of his driveway say it all - "No Wind Farms." The placards at the edge of Welty's Chana Road property, just south of state Route 64 in rural Ogle County, also feature a turbine circled in red, a line slashing through the middle. When he and his wife, Judy, moved from suburban Chicago three years ago to retire on Judy's parents' family farm, they came to enjoy their 230 acres of unspoiled prairie landscape. Now, with two separate wind-energy companies eyeing the county's rolling ridge lines, they face the prospect of 50 to 100 wind towers sprouting up all around them - ugly, noisy, bad-for-your health wind towers, Welty says.
Drive east of Bloomington at night and park for 20 minutes. Like the endless flashing lights? Each turbine is 450 feet tall and 50 of them flash 45,000 times every hour. Oh, I forgot, if you live in town, you don't have to look at them. For tens of thousands of us in rural areas, it is all night - everynight - for the rest of our lives.
Mayor Herb Arbuckle and other members of the council expressed concern that land taken up by wind turbines could have detrimental effects on economic growth and development, property values because of obstructed views, noise or light pollution and possible electronic and radio interference that could affect emergency radio signals. "We've got to look 20 to 30 years down the road when we consider this," Arbuckle said. Council member Dick Jones said looking down the road, he can see the turbines harming residential property development west of town.
As the debate over "Wind Farms" continues, and is now into court, I cannot help but wonder why it has progressed this far dividing neighbors, friends and families. I also reflect on how the whole ordeal, which has put much undue stress on all parties involved, could have been avoided had our County Board followed normal protocol regarding the granting of Special Use Permits. Last fall, when the hearing for Special Use Application was in front of the County Zoning Board of Appeals, there were several long nights of testimony from both sides. After all testimony was heard, the Zoning Board of Appeals voted 3-1 to deny the application. At that point, in normal county procedure, the issue is over and the applicants must wait a year to apply again. However, in this case, our County Board leadership decided to be above the norm and overturn the Zoning Board of Appeal's recommendation forcing themselves and the county into imminent litigation.
Now for the disturbing bits. The renewable energy field experts on the panel that evening were present to offer their views on the future of "green energy." Mr. Slaymaker, a representative of a wind turbine project builder/operator, claimed that those who object to wind turbines need only to be "educated" to turn them to the wind side. I, my wife, and dozens of other Stephenson County citizens who oppose the wind turbine project proposed for Lancaster Township have spent the past six months "educating" ourselves and the only thing that's turning is our stomachs.
Denise Preller is sensitive to motion sickness. She told the McLean County Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday that for her, the proposed 100-turbine wind farm will make her ill. “I’m disturbed that I’ll get motion sickness in my own back yard,” she said. Her husband, Bill Preller, doesn’t relish the thought of sitting in his recliner in his family room and looking out his bay window only to see a wind turbine instead of a sunset. While the couple’s Hudson property will not have a turbine on it, Denise Preller said there will be one within 1,500 feet and eight in the section where they live. And she thinks a similar project in eastern McLean County looks like “a bad science fiction movie.”
An energy and environmental consultant hired by opponents of the proposed White Oak Wind Energy Center maintains Invenergy Wind LLC fails to meet several requirements for a special-use permit for the wind farm. Tom Hewson of Energy Ventures Analysis Inc., Arlington, Va., spoke to the McLean County Zoning Board of Appeals during a hearing Wednesday night. He said the proposed 100-turbine wind farm in McLean and Woodford counties would be a detriment to the public because of noise levels and visibility. Hewson said he did a “simple approach” simulation of one turbine to see how far a person had to be away from the turbine before it complied with Illinois’ noise regulations. “At 750 feet away, it exceeded the range,” he said, noting that three property owners have asked for waivers to allow a turbine in about that range. Hewson said it wasn’t until a person was 1,200 feet away from the turbine that the noise met Illinois’ requirements.
McLean County officials have filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit over a Wind Farm outside Ellsworth. Rene Taylor has filed a civil lawsuit to stop construction on parts of the $700 million project saying she has health and safety concerns about the Twin Groves Wind Farm.
The large wind farm going up in Eastern McLean County is coming too close for comfort for one family. That’s why the Taylor family outside Ellsworth has filed a civil lawsuit to stop construction on parts of the $700-million project. Rene Taylor says she has health and safety concerns regarding the Twin Groves Wind Farm. Taylor says a high-voltage substation and three turbines are too close to her home.
Industrial Wind Action Group, a nationally based grass-roots effort, claims companies are exaggerating the amount of megawatts wind farm projects can produce by giving maximum output figures instead of more concise estimates.
In a lawsuit filed last week, attorney Jack Vieley accuses the McLean County Board and Horizon Wind Energy of ignoring or downplaying the potential dangers of the facility, including high voltage, cancer risk and noise and shadow pollution, among other complaints.
Challenging incorrect “popular wisdom” is difficult but, in this case, well worth the effort!