PEKIN – A dozen people voiced objections to a proposed wind farm Wednesday, including a Delavan man who says his house will be surrounded by 15 wind towers if the project is approved.
“I can look out of every window in my home and see a wind tower,” said Rod Egli of the Rail Splitter Wind Farm proposed by Houston-based Horizon Wind Energy LLC.
“This will definitely light my back yard up with flashing red lights,” he said, adding that three of the towers would be placed about 2,500 feet away from his house.
Egli was one of 12 people, mostly from Delavan, who spoke out against the wind farm during a Tazewell County Zoning Board of Appeals meeting Wednesday night.
The board is accepting public input before it makes a decision on the project.
No one spoke in favor of the project during the meeting, but objections ranged from noise pollution, decreased property values, damaged farmland and problems for crop dusters who would have to fly near the towers.
“I’m not going to be a guinea pig for a project that’s going to affect my life,” said Delavan resident Edward Hodges.
Luke Taylor of Delavan had an attorney file a motion for continuance Wednesday that extended the hearing process and will allow more cross-examination of Horizon representatives.
“The noise was horrendous,” Taylor said of a recent visit to Horizon’s Twin Groves wind farm just east of Bloomington.
Others, including Emden resident Glen Fogler, said they were concerned about the life of the towers and who will be responsible for them if Horizon goes out of business.
“What is left is a junkyard in the sky,” Fogler said.
The project would cover more than 11,000 acres of farmland straddling Tazewell and Logan counties just east of Interstate 155.
The towers would be 389 feet tall and the 67-tower project would bring 38 of them to Tazewell County.
The next public hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, while Taylor and his attorney will question Horizon representatives May 1.
The board will hear expert testimony from Horizon on May 15 and will then begin deliberations on whether or not the project will be approved.
Bill Whitlock, project development manager for the proposed farm, says the county will see numerous benefits, including increased tax revenue, paved roads, jobs and a renewable source of energy.
Once estimated at $120 million, the total cost of the project is now expected to be between $175 million and $200 million.
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.
By Kevin Sampier
Gatehouse News Service
10 April 2008
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