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Local farmer speaks out against wind project

EFFINGHAM – Last month, the Effingham County Board heard from an advocate for a wind power transmission line that could pass through Effingham County.

Monday, the board’s Legislative Committee of the Whole heard from a local farmer who takes a dim view of the turbines that help generate wind power.

“The wind turbine industry is a joke in the United States,” said Phil Hartke, who farms east of Teutopolis.

Hartke said his son Ted Hartke and family have been adversely affected by a 495-foot-tall wind turbine about a quarter-mile from their rural Vermilion County home.

“They say the wind industry is free and clean,” Hartke said. “It’s definitely not free, and it’s not clean because of the noise.”

Hartke said his son has had to deal with a low-frequency noise that he describes as “very, very annoying.”

“It pulsates through the house,” he said.

Hartke said he doesn’t believe the wind industry has staying power because of the need for government subsidies to build wind power infrastructure.

“The wind industry is built on sand,” he said. “It’s not going to last.”

Hartke said rental homes near wind turbines are becoming increasingly hard to rent – with the value of the property dropping anywhere from 25 to 30 percent. And, in central Illinois, there are no places far enough away from the proposed route of the line that would not be affected, he said.

“No matter where they build them, they will be too close to houses,” he said.

Hartke said the Illinois Farm Bureau is likely to oppose a proposal from Grain Belt Energy to install transmission lines through central Illinois as part of a larger project between western Kansas and the eastern United States. A Grain Belt representative spoke to the full board last month about the virtues of the project.

In action taken Monday, the committee agreed to recommend the apppointment of Pat Dhom to the Teutopolis Fire Protection District board.