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Property rights vs. wind farms

Published: Friday, Sept. 21, 2012 4:00 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Sept. 21, 2012 4:01 p.m. CDT

Illinois, Bureau County, and my neighbors sold my property rights to the wind farm. The proposed wind farm in which my property is included has control of my privately-owned property. I have to ask for permission to build a house or a barn on my own land. I have been to informational and zoning meetings and never told my property rights were compromised, or that I would be restricted for the loss of freedom to use my property as I wish.

I, like everyone else, would have not known this had I not called the Bureau County Zoning Office looking to build a home. I called the zoning to see what was needed in permits, expecting to learn setback rules for a house because we are in the proposed Walnut Ridge Wind Farm. What I was told was all the standards, clear it with zoning, clear it with neighbors, but I also have to get permission from the wind farm. With some checking around, I have found out that not only is this standard procedure for wind farms to have control, but it is also standard to be denied any kind of building. Structures within wind farms may interfere with wind flow, standard excuse for denial. A grandmother in Livingston County, in a proposed wind farm, has been denied and is now appealing to build on the family farm. How do private companies backed by tax dollars control and regulate the use of private property without agreement or compensation to the legal owners?

Wind farms change hands often. Their headquarters are often in foreign countries. When they have offices locally, nothing is done in a timely manner. The wind farm that controls my land is not even built. Who knows who will end up owning it? How long will red tape hold up my project? Could they turn me down? Why did my county and my state not protect my property rights? How do foreign companies deal with American property rights? Why was I not informed and properly compensated for becoming part of a wind factory?

Wind farms negotiate with landowners and have those sign gag orders, leaving no recourse in the future. I was aware that the poor judgment in signing these agreements would affect the choices of the signers’ offspring, but I never dreamed my neighbors’ poor choices would effect my offspring. I find this frustrating. Do they realize what’s been sacrificed? It appears those of us who did not sign stand to lose as well.

It is my experience that when things are done in secret there is something to hide. We are on a need to know basis only with the wind farms. I pray that what we need to know next is not worse than having our private property rights stolen.

Barb Amrein

Princeton

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