The Carlock farmland owned by Alice Ruegsegger and her family will get two wind turbines if Invenergy Wind LLC is allowed to build a 100-turbine wind farm in McLean and Woodford counties.
But Ruegsegger told the McLean County Zoning Board of Appeals on Wednesday night that she would support the project even if they weren’t getting any turbines.
“Global warming is a concern,” she said. “Wind energy is conscientious “¦ it’s a non-contributor to acid rain. “¦”
Ruegsegger said even the 2007 issue of her children’s Ranger Rick magazine said the country needs to cut way back on fossil fuels and look at using sun, wind and waves to generate electricity.
“It’s a tough but healthy choice,” she said.
She was one of several supporters of the proposed White Oak Wind Energy Center who testified during the ongoing hearing into Invenergy’s request for a special-use permit to allow the wind farm.
Testimony will continue at 6 p.m. today in Room 400 of the Government Center, 115 E. Washington St., Bloomington.
Gordon Ropp of Normal, a former director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture and state representative, said he visited the wind farm at Paw Paw to see the effects of the turbines. When he was in the car, he said he couldn’t hear anything except the wind blowing.
“When I lowered by window, it sounded like waters rushing on a seashore,” he said. “We (the Ropps) are to get some and I think they’re going to look pretty darn pretty if we get $6,000 a year.”
Joel Link of Invenergy previously testified landowners will get about $6,000 a year for each turbine on their property.
Mark Judd, who lives on a farm in Carlock, said the wind farm project is “good for farmers, the environment and trade balance.”
“It’s just plain good for the country,” he said.
Judd said farmers are having a difficult time making it financially these days. He noted corn prices have been nearly the same for 28 years – hovering around $2 a bushel.
“How many can continue without a pay increase, but that’s what a farmer is expected to do,” he said.
He said the people opposing the Invenergy project are many of the same people who moved to the country to escape urban sprawl. But, he said, if the wind farm is allowed to go forward, farmers may be faced with selling their land and the opponents would see “the same houses and concrete they tried to escape.”
“We’re committing land to farming by participating in the Invenergy project,” Judd said.
Judd’s sister-in-law, Barb Welch, said the opposition to the project has placed a strain on her elderly parents who find it “difficult to understand the rudeness of neighbors.”
Welch said she has tried to talk to neighbors who oppose the wind farm but they either refuse to talk to her or don’t return calls.
“I don’t want to lose friends over this,” she said. But Welch encouraged the board to support the special-use permit request.
By Mary Ann Ford
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