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Study group outlines wind energy concerns

URBANA – A group with varied opinions on wind energy development in Champaign County expressed their interests and concerns about wind turbines during the first Wind Turbine Study Group meeting Tuesday.

The five-member group was created by the Champaign County Prosecutor’s Office, with Prosecutor Nick Selvaggio serving as a mediator.

Group member Julie Johnson, of Union Neighbors United, read a list of concerns she has with wind turbines being built in Union Twp.

The list included noise, decreased property value, the need for a county land use plan and economic benefits for the county.

“It’s not an opposition to wind. It’s an opposition to wind in the wrong place and support of a land use plan, and wind in the right place with the least disruption to people and the habitat,” Johnson said, speaking to the general feeling of Union Neighbors United.

Group member Mike Speerschneider, a project developer for wind energy development company Everpower Renewables, said he’s concerned that Johnson has an agenda to prevent wind turbines rather than to have an open dialogue the group was created to advance.

Champaign County Engineer Fereidoun Shokouhi said he thought the group’s main focus should be broader and investigate impacts wind development could have on the county economy, environment and how personal property rights would be affected.

Jim Virts, who represented the county township trustee association, said trustees’ main concern in road conditions, and county farm bureau representative Jon Berry said he hoped to learn from other communities that already have “wind farms.”

The group will meet at 7 a.m. Tuesdays on the first floor of the Champaign County Courthouse, 200 N. Main St., and plans to begin discussing personal property rights at next weeks’ meeting.

Contact this reporter at (937) 328-0226 or nmorales@coxohio.com

By Natalie Morales

Staff Writer

October 09, 2007