PANA – Landowners are learning the specifics of a proposed high-energy power line through southern Christian and Shelby counties as the Illinois Commerce Commission prepares to make a decision.
Clean Line Energy has asked the commission to approve a power line across Illinois to carry wind-turbine generated electricity from southwestern Kansas to the Indiana border.
The plan has faced resistance from a group called Block Clean Line that says the power line towers would cause problems for farmers.
Clean Line Energy held an open house for landowners in Pana late Tuesday afternoon.
“This is a chance for the property owners to really take a close look at our final proposal,” said Amy Kurt, Clean Line manager. “We sent them letters inviting them to the meetings, and we’re providing real images on the computer of where the lines would be on their land.”
Kurt said that, wherever possible, the power lines would parallel property lines.
“We hope that after they have a chance to look at the maps, see the real view of the property and learn more about the project they can make an informed decision,” she said.
Kurt said the commission is expected to rule on the project by December.
In the meantime, proponents and opponents of the project can file written testimony.
Opponents have said the power line would be an inconvenience for farmers and set a dangerous precedent if Clean Line was allowed to use eminent domain to obtain the property easements for the towers.
“Block Clean Line” also had a presence outside the meeting Tuesday.
Phillip Hartke of Effingham said the power lines could cost farmers production yields.
“We’re doing more and more aerial crop spraying,” Hartke said. “You can’t do that when the towers are there. If it costs 10 bushels an acre in yield, that can really add up.”
Hartke is also asking landowners to reject wind turbine energy in general.
His son, Ted Hartke of Vermilion County and his family were forced to move from their home because of noise from a 495-foot tall turbine built 1,700 feet from their home.
Hartke, a former Effingham County Farm Bureau president, is asking for legislation that would prohibit the turbines within a mile and a half of homes.
“The entire wind turbine energy is political boondoggle that needs to be stopped,” he said.
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