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Residents near Kempton-area wind farm make complaints

KEMPTON – Several residents of the Kempton area asked the Ford County Board on Monday night to intercede on their behalf with the owners of the Kelly Creek Wind Farm.

The residents said they have been in contact with San Diego-based EDF Renewable Energy for six months about their loss of antenna television reception since EDF started operating the wind farm in Rogers Township late last fall.

Sandra Eshleman said she used to be able to draw in 46 channels out of the Chicago area and now can receive none. Eshleman said the company has offered her an $800 annual payment for 20 years, but she wants a “fair, legitimate” one-time damage payment that she won’t have to pay income tax on.

Along with the payment, Eshleman said, the company wants her and anyone else who settles with the company to sign a waiver agreement that absolves the company of any responsibility for the problem – and that would include whoever owns her property in the future.

Eshleman said the settlement being offered wouldn’t begin to cover the cost of satellite television. Eshleman said EDF has requested to meet with property owners individually, but, so far, the residents in attendance knew of just one person who had settled with the company.

Charles Deany told the board the company wants to pay the residents for 20 years but “the company is tying up the wind farm for 50 years.”

“My attorney told me to not sign the waiver,” Deany said.

Resident Chris Morrison read from the county’s ordinance authorizing the wind farm.

“It says the company has 60 days to mitigate a problem. This has taken six months so far,” Morrison said.

“You have the power to yank that special-use permit (for the wind farm),” Deany told the board.

Rogers Township Road Commissioner Leo Weber said he was there to support the other residents and was not on official business, though he acknowledged there were road issues with the company, as well.

“Their word is worthless,” Weber said. “These are little people trying to deal with Goliath.”

County Board Chairman Randy Berger of Gibson City said the board will take the matter under advisement.

“I will absolutely look into this,” said board member Tim Nuss of rural Roberts, who represents the Kempton area.

The Kelly Creek Wind Farm is a 184-megawatt wind farm in Rogers Township in the Kempton area in northern Ford County and in Norton Township in neighboring Kankakee County