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County to hold public hearing on wind turbine  

Credit:  By Beth Zumwalt | Pike Press | pikepress.com ~~

The Pike County Board will hold a required by statute public hearing next Thursday evening at 7 p.m. in the courthouse. Purpose of the meeting is to allow comments on a proposed wind farm just west of Pittsfield. Illinois Electric Company already has one wind turbine west of Pittsfield and Illinois Wind LLC is proposing a 26 turbine farm with the potential of over 100 in the next 20 years.

Illinois Wind from Shabbona has proposed building 26 initial wind turbines northwest of Pittsfield with a potential of more than 100 over the next 20 years.

A representative from Illinois Wind spoke recently to the Pike County Economic Development Corporation and said the project could bring $26 million into Pike County over the next 20 years.

Next Thursday’s public hearing will allow citizens to ask questions or speak in support or against the project.

“It’s required by our own by-laws we have to have one,” Andy Borrowman, chairman of the Pike County Board said. “It was added to our zoning ordinance after IEC built theirs several years ago. We want to protect our citizens.”

Borrowman said he expected representatives from Illinois Wind to be on hand to explain the wind farm, answer questions and explain everything.

“Then the board has 30 days to vote on issuing a building permit,” Borrowman said. “We will most likely discuss it at our July meeting.”

Fred Bradshaw, chairman of the agriculture committee, who oversees all matters in rural areas, said the wind farm could have a direct impact on the community’s economics.

“There will be tax dollars generated, construction materials and labor will all be purchased locally,” he said.

Bradshaw said all rules and regulations in the county’s seven-page wind farm ordinances will have observed.

“What we are really interested in, is making sure there is a decommission plan for when the wind turbine has outlived its lifetime,” he said.

Should Illinois Wind build the initial 26 wind turbines in the first wave of construction, they will have to undergo the entire citing process for any expansions.

The citing process includes compliance with all state and federal laws and completing an Illinois Department of Agriculture mitigation agreement (AIMA).

An AIMA is an agreement with the Illinois Department of Agriculture outlining the steps that must be taken during the construction of a project to minimize detrimental impact on agricultural uses of land affected by the project. AIMA terms often include decompaction of soil, restoration of topsoil to original productivity, control of erosion, and repair of drainage tiling damaged during construction.

Patrick Engineering will over see the project on the county’s behalf, making sure all laws and regulations, federal, state and county, are being followed.

Source:  By Beth Zumwalt | Pike Press | pikepress.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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