Freeport, Ill. – Development will continue on the proposed tri-county wind farm in this region, despite the fact that a lawsuit seeking to halt the project remains unresolved, said Ryan Ammermann, project manager for Gamesa USA, the wind farm company.
“We are continuing forward in spite of the lawsuit,” Ammermann said. “We’re continuing with development and we’re hoping to get something done in short order. … I’d really like to see it get built soon.”
The wind farm in question, known as Whispering Prairie, would stretch across Stephenson, Ogle, and Winnebago counties on property southeast of German Valley. The proposed farm may include between 12 to 16 turbines in Stephenson County, and the entire facility would likely have close to 100 turbines.
Ammermann stressed that his company has not yet applied for permits for the tri-county project. Even so, organizers expect to conduct environmental studies on the wind farm site this fall.
“We can’t continue waiting,” Ammermann said. “We haven’t applied for permits yet, but hopefully we will soon.”
Because the farm would straddle three counties, Gamesa USA would have to obtain permits from each county. Gamesa is the parent company of the Minnesota-based Navitas Energy.
The lawsuit in question was initially filed in Rockford federal court by Patricia Muscarello, who owns property near the proposed farm site. Among other things, the lawsuit seeks an injunction against the project. The suit was filed on Jan. 21, 2010.
John Rearden, an attorney for Muscarello, explained that his client actually had two lawsuits against the tri-county project, one filed in Winnebago County and the other filed in Ogle County.
The Ogle County suit was dismissed and that case has been resolved. The Winnebago County case, however, is still pending, Rearden said.
“There has been no final resolution,” Rearden said.
A judge dismissed the suit in Winnebago County, but Rearden filed a motion asking the judge to reconsider his ruling. That motion has not yet been ruled upon. Also, Rearden has filed an appeal in that case, and he and his client have filed a similar lawsuit against the tri-county farm in state court.
Ammermann said Gamesa USA remains committed to developing the tri-county wind farm in this region.
“It’s going through development and we continue to push forward with the project,” Ammermann said.
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