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Feelings mixed on wind farm  

Some for Tazewell project, while crop dusters object

PEKIN – Residents got a chance Tuesday to express frustrations with a proposed wind farm slated for Tazewell and Logan counties, with the aviation community taking the biggest stance against it.

Tuesday’s hearing before the Tazewell County Zoning Board of Appeals was the first of three that will allow residents to give their opinions, either for or against the Rail Splitter Wind Farm proposed by Houston-based Horizon Wind Energy LLC.

“I think we need this and I think we need it bad,” said Delavan resident Keith Haning, who kicked off the public comments in support of the project that would cover more than 11,000 acres of farmland straddling Tazewell and Logan counties just east of Interstate 155.

Haning has seen wind farms in other counties and said, “I have yet to find one person who has been derogatory toward these wind towers.”

But Haning didn’t have to look far Tuesday night.

Seven people, including crop dusters and people in the aviation field, objected to the 67-tower project that would bring 38 of them to Tazewell County.

“It’s not fun to work around (wind towers),” said Pekin resident Brandon Flexsenhar, a crop duster who has had a close call with a tower in another county.

Bill Whitlock, project development manager for the farm, said the towers would be 389 feet tall.

Others who signed up to voice their opinions said the towers are inadequately lit, aren’t painted so pilots can see them and cause crop dusters to charge farmers more for the work, if they accept the job at all.

Once estimated at $120 million, the total cost of the project is now expected to be between $175 million and $200 million.

The project would be the second central Illinois wind farm development for Horizon, which operates the Twin Groves wind farm just east of Bloomington.

Construction of the actual towers could begin by June and the project is expected to be finished by the end of the year, if the zoning board gives its approval.

The wind farm will sell energy to AmerenCILCO and will power about 30,000 homes in Illinois.

The next two meetings are scheduled for 6 p.m. April 9 and April 15 in the Tazewell County Justice Center.

By Kevin Sampier

Peoria Journal Star

2 April 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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