To The Herald-Whig:

Sen. Bill Cunningham, representing the Chicago area, has proposed SB 1602, which if enacted would establish “statewide” standards, regarding appropriate limitations for the establishment of local siting regulations for utility scale wind energy developments or wind energy conversion systems (WECS), as they are often referred to in ordinances. This guidance, if enacted, would prevent Adams County from determining what was good for Adams County residents, when it came to their WECS ordinance, which was adopted on Jan. 12, 2010 after many hearings and a lot of “local” public input, as to what works for Adams County. SB 1602 would require Adams County’s WECS Regulation to comply with statewide standards, thus taking away “any” local control. The Adams County Board has adopted a resolution “opposing” SB 1602 and so has 2/3rd of the counties in Illinois, thus far.

We applaud the Adams County Board for taking this stance and encourage other counties that have not done so, to do the same. The Advocates for Responsible Energy Development (ARED) was formed to represent folks who would be dramatically hurt if “statewide” standards were to be enforced - effectively driving some of our members, who have lived and farmed their land for generations, out of their ancestral homes, or some of our members who have developed small businesses from being forced out of business, or some of our smaller towns, would have been prevented from growing, with no say in the matter. At least if there is county control, these folks would have the opportunity to make their case with “local” elected officials and then “maybe” the path the wind company originally chose, could be altered to avoid driving these folks from their homes, their land or their small business. In Adams County, ARED successfully educated local communities, as to what was about to happen, when a wind turbine company proposed a route, that would have impacted several local communities and even surrounded one. The wind company decided to go elsewhere, vs. adjusting their “proposed” route, which would have impacted many local Adams County Communities and residents.

As a group representing “responsible” energy development, we believe there is responsible ways to develop alternative sources of energy, without driving folks from their ancestral homes or forcing small businesses to go out of business, because they can’t operate in the environment caused by a wind development being located to close to their homes or businesses.

John Gebhardt

Spokesperson, Advocates for Responsible Energy Development

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