I urge the zoning board of appeals in Bureau County to not grant a variance for any wind turbine to be closer to a public road – especially a state highway. Even the 1.1 distance is not enough, but it should never be reduced further. This is an industrial machine that has moving blades! It can fall over, and it has the potential for the blades to shatter, and it has the potential to throw ice from a moving blade a long distance beyond the 1.1 distance you have in the ordinance.
As I travel Illinois, I am amazed at what counties are allowing, as to how close even cell phone towers are getting to the road right of way. As I drive by, I pray that something doesn’t happen. Has the county engineer and the county board members ever talked to someone who has lived near a tower? I did a short while ago, and she told me her mother used to worry when there was ice on the tower, as she was concerned that a chunk of ice might fall and hurt her, as she walked home from school.
I lost a good friend, a civil engineer, who was crushed in the prime of his life because a coal retaining wall was allowed to be built in the Chicago area, too close to the road. His wife sued, and she was compensated for her loss. But how do you compensate for the loss of a person’s life, who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?
I hope Bureau County has good insurance as they will most likely be sued, along with the wind company, if a person or persons are ever injured or killed. The worst part of it, will be to explain to the grief stricken relatives how this variance was allowed. If I were a member of the zoning board or county board, I’d have a tough time looking them in the eyes and saying the risk was justified.
Please put responsibility back into the equation when dealing with industrial wind turbine placement, before it is too late and somebody gets injured or killed.
John Gebhardt, spokesperson for Advocates for Responsible Energy Development
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