I am writing on behalf of Eileen Burkey’s and the late Willard Burkey’s farm located north of
Walnut. My great-grandparents purchased and moved to this property in the 1890s.
Since that time, my family has been devoted and faithful caretakers of this acreage. Further, we intend to continue this stewardship for future generations of our family, not just for the benefit of our family but because it is the right thing to do. We are the beneficiaries of a limited, endangered resource that should not be sacrificed.
We will not sign the Wind Project Lease Agreement for four, irrefutable reasons. First, we
will not diminish our tillable acres — either by area or by productivity. To do otherwise is
both short-sighted and irresponsible. A wind turbine and its access roadways would decrease our tillable acres. The productivity of the soil would be diminished by compaction and damage to the farm tile system.
Second, we will not sign a contract that provides unilateral “sole discretion” in a LaSalle
Street, Chicago limited liability corporate tenant regarding numerous matters concerning our family farm. We are obviously in this for the long haul and will not let our property be irrevocably abused and controlled by outsiders for their financial gain.
Third, the proposed Wind Project Lease Agreement is extremely protective of the wind
turbine company, and it does not afford the farm owner the same legal protections. My professional reservations include the potential 70-year duration of the lease and its ramifications upon future generations. It is impossible to predict the financial viability of the developer or its successors for that time period, or even to gauge the reasonableness of the terms for such a time period. Also, the lease’s list of easement effects will affect the quality of life of anyone in the vicinity of the turbines; this list includes everything from sound pollution to visual blight to air turbulence to radio-frequency interference, to name a few. I question whether the proposed payment structure is sufficient to compensate for this open-ended list. Further, the lease terms provide that a landowner cannot construct any structure anywhere on his property without first meeting with the developer in order to determine a site that will not impact the developer’s rights. The overriding theme in the proposed lease is clearly the developer’s rights, not the rights of landowners.
Fourth, we are very concerned about evidence showing farmland values are lowered by the existence of neighboring wind turbines. We will not sign a contract that will detrimentally impact the farmland values of our neighbors and friends, and would hope that our neighbors and friends would have the same consideration for us.
Ann Burkey Brezinski
Bourbonnais, formerly of Walnut