Illinois law ineffectively protects sensitive environment from wind farms, so I tried to preserve the rare ecotype and threatened animal species present at the Garman Prairie in Hahnaman Township.
I had never attended a public hearing and was quite surprised at the advantage a sophisticated applicant like Mainstream has over the general public and our local zoning commission.
However, I objected, based only on environmental issues. When I realized I had little chance, I hired an attorney to assure my case was heard. I asked for minimal half-mile setback from my property, while the Illinois Department of Natural Resources recommends 2 miles for less environmentally sensitive areas legally classified as “Illinois Nature Preserves.”
Some felt I cared more about the environment than people and property adversely affected by wind farms. That is not true. My farmland in Hahnaman Township would sustain property value reduction. People are more important than the environment.
I originally didn’t feel knowledgeable enough to take a public position on human health concerns. Now, I am learning about more issues surrounding wind farms and what’s going on in other parts of the country.
Nuclear power scared people, so conservative safety provisions were established by unbiased experts. We later (including me) welcomed wind farms as environmentally responsible energy. I considered turbines for Wahl Clipper.
Now, as environmentalist and responsible business leader of this county’s largest private employer, I am telling you the Whiteside County Board should deny the special use permit for wind turbines at its meeting today (Aug. 21).
We are not ready for them because more study is needed on human health effects.
The only time urgency is people can’t seem to wait to get deals done. Take your time, and get completely educated without biased pressure.
If these things are so great, wind developers will still put them in after human health issues are thoroughly studied, definitively answered with clear consensus by the scientific community, and legislated by the federal government – not pressured onto our county.
It is the duty of the County Board, representing the best overall interests of its citizens, to consider the complexity of the issues and make the best overall decision.
The board simply does not know enough (nor do I individually) to make an affirmative decision.
Follow your head, heart and gut and make the right choice for now, which is to say NO for the time being. We are not ready to allow wind turbines here at this time.
Note to readers – Greg Wahl is CEO of Wahl Clipper Corp. of Sterling.
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