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Pritzker flips: supports overriding local control of wind farm siting decisions  

Credit:  By Kevin Bessler | The Center Square | Jan. 26, 2023 | thecentersquare.com ~~

A bill that strips local control from county governments regarding zoning matters on wind and solar energy appears to be close to becoming law.

The legislation, which passed in the lame-duck session of the previous Illinois General Assembly, would provide counties with “guardrails” for siting wind farms, and would create a commission that would oversee and approve wind turbines everywhere but Chicago.

Supporters say the measure is needed to better attain the state’s renewable energy goals.

“I think it’s very important if we are going to move forward with some of the goals we have regarding the expansion of renewable energy,” state Sen. Bill Cunningham, D-Chicago, said.

State Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, said the measure takes away control from local county boards.

“As long as the developers submit their development within the siting standards, they can put a wind farm within 6 to 7 hundred feet of the closest home,” Rezin said.

The state law would create a setback requirement of 1.1 times the maximum blade tip height of the wind tower to the nearest point on the property line of nonparticipating properties, or 2.1 times for nonparticipating residences.

The Illinois Farm Bureau opposed the bill, saying the setback distances in the legislation needed to be adjusted to better reflect a safer and adequate way for the facilities to be sited.

The measure is now on the governor’s desk.*

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who said he plans to sign the legislation into law, said it is needed so projects are not held “hostage” by local opponents. It is a reversal from remarks he made before November’s election. During a farm legislative roundtable in August, the governor was asked if he would support legislation to create statewide controls over the siting of wind and solar projects.

“No, in fact I’ve specifically avoided that,” Pritzker said then. “I don’t think that’s the way. We’ve got to have a continuous conversation, the one that we’ve been having for years now between the state and local governments and local control so that we decide together about siting.”


*HB4412 signed and in effect January 27, 2023: Setback requirements cannot be more than 2.1 times maximum turbine blade height to nonparticipating residences or 1.1 times to nonparticipating property line, and no sound limitations beyond those established by the state.

Source:  By Kevin Bessler | The Center Square | Jan. 26, 2023 | thecentersquare.com

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

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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