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Residents oppose wind farm; Logan County puts 30-day halt on discussions after citizens group complains  

A group of concerned residents put a 30-day stop to wind farm talks in Logan County, but the Tazewell County half of the project continues to move forward.

Rockford attorney Rick Porter represents a group of Logan County residents who are opposed to the Rail Splitter Wind Farm by Houston-based Horizon Wind Energy LLC.

The proposed project would cover more than 11,000 acres of farmland straddling Tazewell and Logan counties just east of Interstate 155.

“Essentially, what we’re doing is fighting wind mills,” said Porter, whose clients are opposed to the wind towers for several reasons, including decreased property values. “They’ll never replace coal. They’ll never replace oil.”

Porter said Logan County failed to give proper notice to a resident whose home is close to the proposed wind farm, violating the county’s rules.

The county has put a temporary halt to discussing the wind farm.

“We’ve postponed our meetings until next month,” said Logan County Board Chairman Richard Logan. “It’s just off by about 30 days.”

That will give the county time to re-send notices to all those who own homes and land in the area.

“We just want to make sure it’s all legal,” he said.

Kristal Deininger, Tazewell County’s community development administrator, said the delay in Logan County won’t change anything for Tazewell County.

The first public hearing on the wind farm was held Tuesday in Tazewell County, and several residents opposed the development, saying the towers are inadequately lit, aren’t painted so pilots can see them and are dangerous for crop dusters.

Bill Whitlock, project development manager for the wind farm, said the lag in Logan County will push the construction time frame of the project back.

Whitlock also said he didn’t expect so much resistance from Logan County.

“We were a little surprised by it,” he said.

The snag also has brought up a question of whether or not both counties need to approve the project before it can move forward.

Deininger said she believed both counties would have to be in agreement, but Whitlock said that isn’t necessarily the case.

“That’s the subject of an internal debate right now and I’m not sure we’ve come to an agreement,” Whitlock said.

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 counties give their approval.

Construction costs are expected to be between $175 million and $200 million.

Kevin Sampier

Peoria Journal Star

3 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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