Sunday, January 23, 2011

Turbines issue sails through planning group vote

Invenergy’s allowance to “consult” with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA) instead of “abid(ing) by the agency’s requirements” which include a three-mile setback of windmills near Bishop Hill, was given unanimous approval by the Henry County Planning Committee on Jan. 18.

The committee voted on the matter before a standing-room only crowd in the Henry County Courthouse. Attendees had turned out for a public hearing about Invenergy’s plan to build 266 turbines in the county, with most interest on the turbines which would be built near historic Bishop Hill.

Invenergy plans to build 47 turbines within three miles of Bishop Hill, and six within 1.5 miles of the village.

Several area residents offered their views of the project.

Bishop Hill Mayor Mike Funke voiced support for the turbines.

“I don’t understand; if people are coming to visit Bishop Hill, they’re coming to see Bishop Hill,” Funke said, according to a story in the Jan. 19 The (Moline) Dispatch. “It doesn’t matter what’s around.”

Galva school superintendent Doug O’Riley said Galva schools need the wind farm to be built. If it is, Galva schools could reap $340,000 in tax revenue.

Weller Township Supervisor Mark Nordstrom said a three-mile setback would seriously hurt township finances.

“If this passes, it’s our one opportunity. It’s not going to come back,” Nordstrom said, according to The Dispatch. “If we’re not going to get it, we’re not going to get it. We’ve got to have those dollars, folks.”

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