- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

State law keeps wind farm approval in hands of local governments

A new law, signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner on Thursday, keeps control of winds farms in the hands of local governments.

The legislation, which was sponsored by Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, allows local governments, like a county or municipality, to establish standards for wind farms and electric-generating wind devices.

Marty Fannin, chairman of the Livingston County Board, said he is glad the bill was signed into law.

“We’ve been watching closely, because we didn’t want the state to take over,” he said. “We wanted control to remain local.”

Livingston County is home to two wind farms.

Counties and municipalities have always had control over setting rules for wind farms, but Fannin said it is important to have that control codified in law.

Other bills attempting to give more control over wind farms to the state have failed in the legislature.

Fannin said less local control would mean that citizens and governments would lose their voice when it comes to wind farms. It’s also important for municipalities to be able to apply special use conditions to approved wind farms to address concerns, Fannin said.

“If the state took complete control of the process of making the decision, we wouldn’t have the voice we have now,” he said.

The bill (SB920) passed both houses of the General Assembly with no politicians voting against it.