Plans to build a massive wind farm in Bureau County, Ill., fail to address environmental effects, a federal complaint by rural landowners claims.
Steven Hamrick and 25 others who own land in Bureau County and Lee County, Ill., filed the action on Jan. 16 against the General Services Administration, MG2 Tribal Energy, Geronimo Wind Energy and Walnut Ridge Wind.
It has been a year since Walnut Ridge Wind filed for permits to build a 123-turbine wind farm on 14,500 acres in Bureau County.
The General Services Administration’s 10-year agreement to purchase 140 megawatts of power from the wind farm marks the “largest wind energy purchase from a single source in federal contracting history,” according to the complaint.
“By issuing a PPA [Power Purchase Agreement] for the project, defendant GSA [General Services Administration] has effectively enabled the project and its 123 nearly 500-foot tall industrial wind turbines to be built in Bureau County, defacing and degrading the agricultural environment and otherwise causing significant adverse effects on the human and natural environment,” the complaint states.
Before taking this “major federal action,” GSA should have published an environmental impact statement, evaluating the impacts of the farm on the surrounding area, the landowners claim.
The proposed wind farm is allegedly close the habitats of various endangered species, and landowners fear that the project will interfere with their enjoyment of their property by creating incessant noise, unsightly views and wildlife reduction.
“Upon information and belief, due to the planned and imminent development, construction, and operation of the Walnut Ridge ‘wind farm’ by defendants Geronimo and WRW [Walnut Ridge Wind], the value of the properties owned by the plaintiffs have decreased significantly and will continue to decrease significantly in value,” the complaint states.
In addition to an injunction, the landowners seek a declaration that the GSA erred by failing to consider the environmental impacts of the planned wind farm.
They are represented by Richard Porter with Hinshaw & Culbertson in Rockford, Ill.
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