August 1977: I arrived in the USA for a visit to, of all places, Waverly, Illinois.
I still vividly remember my first introduction to the central Illinois rural landscape, field after field of corn and soybeans. What a change. I had been born and raised on the coast of Holland (the Netherlands) and was accustomed to ocean-view horizons. The wall-like cornfields felt somewhat claustrophobic to me.
Fast-forward to today. After nearly 25 years of U.S. military service, I retired to my little farm here in Morgan County, where I have lived now since 2001. The corn and soybean fields have grown on me. I love the farmers and other neighbors with whom I share this rural existence. Every day I get to enjoy the peace and quiet of country living I count my blessings to be so fortunate to have found a place on this crowded earth where you can still be part of nature without the hustle and bustle of city life. … The peace and quiet are a gift so special that at times it seems overwhelming.
Living like this comes with a price tag. For groceries and general shopping, you have to travel and spend a lot more on gasoline. Utilities are higher. Internet speeds are lower and service costs more. Power outages can be more frequent – even though my rural electric is fast and efficient when fixing outages. In winter, you may not make it out of your driveway for a few days. Home insurance is much higher than in town and convenience is not just a familiar word but rather a store in town miles away.
This is a price tag all of us choosing to live here gladly pay. What we will not gladly pay is the price tag a wind farm is going to extract. Because let’s be perfectly honest, the innocuous sounding words wind farm in reality is an Industrial Wind Turbine Park having nothing whatsoever to do with a farm as we know it. And though I wholeheartedly believe in progress and alternative energy development, I also wholeheartedly do not believe that hundreds of these 600-foot monstrosities, that are not as quiet and unobtrusive as the “sales” people would like us to believe, do not belong right next door to where people live – especially not when the majority of these same people will get no benefit from them whatsoever. A knowledgeable source informed me that the majority of the power generated will be fed to the power grid and sold to large power companies looking to add renewable energy to their portfolios.
E.on and Apex are in it for the money. I understand that Morgan County and a few of their communities stand to benefit monetarily as well. I ask you to please weigh the monetary benefits of a few against what this “industrial park” will do to many of your other constituents. We chose this rural way of life in spite of the inconvenience and the higher price tag. Please think long and hard before you sell us out to these large corporations who have only one thing in mind and I can assure you that it is not the well being of those of us who live in rural Morgan County nor the environment.