Editor’s note: The following exceeds the Bureau County Republican’s Letter to the Editor word requirement, therefore, the BCR will extend the same opportunity to someone with an opposing view. Contact BCR Editor Terri Simon before submitting your letter at 815-875-4461, ext. 6330.
The Informed Farmers Coalition (IFC) was formed five years ago to study the impacts of wind turbines on our agricultural and residential community. The group consists of past or present union iron workers, school teachers, township officials, lawyers, a farm manager, a plumber, a fireman, a mechanic, school board members, county board member, union truck drivers, a dentist, retail workers, construction workers, nurses, union equipment operators, hospital workers, a social worker, bookkeepers, a school administrator, salesmen, an electrical engineer for Com Ed, an EMT, numerous local business owners, large/small landowners, homeowners, and of course, farmers – many of whom are the third and fourth generation on that farm. Many are lifetime residents of this agricultural community.
They have discovered, through sworn testimony throughout the state, that people are suffering from the same health issues, noise disturbances, untruthful wind company promises, property value losses, etc. The ongoing research brings the discovery our local landowners may be responsible for the property taxes and decommissioning of the wind turbine should the wind company walk away from the project. The turbine property tax bill stays in the name of the landowner with the bill being listed c/o of the wind company. So ultimately if the wind company doesn’t pay, it will be sent to the landowner.
IFC became aware some of our local landowners with signed contracts had never seen a map where their turbines were projected to be placed. The map presented with the petition to the county also shows underground transmission lines. Some landowners were not aware transmission lines would go through their property and did not think they had signed up for that. One landowner agreed to a contract but for only 80 acres of his property. But when IFC was researching at the county, they discovered his contract was filed containing all 560 acres of his property.
The real experts about wind turbines are the citizens living among them. IFC has attended numerous county meetings across the state of Illinois only to realize the people testifying under oath all have the same story – homes where they can no longer live or sell due to noise and health issues; wind companies that townships must sue to collect their rightful money; trespassing of heavy equipment on non-participating land that compact the soil for years as well as damage crops and tile; crop dusting problems; GPS systems that no longer get a signal; cell phones and TV reception problems; etc. IFC is aware that Lifeline helicopters may not choose to land in a turbine area; this was needed this spring for a local farm accident. A letter from a school superintendent states the children in his school district are suffering from the effects of the turbines, since they went online.
IFC also became aware that once a person signs a contract they have agreed to a gag order that restricts them from talking about the wind company. Also anyone the wind company has paid off has the same rules. You have people against the turbines that farm or do business with contract holders that don’t feel they can speak publicly for fear of losing farm ground.
The county board’s first priority above all should be to keep the citizens of its county safe. Money should not be put above health or safety. Zoning was established in the 1960s to protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens. Agriculture should not be compromised by wide-spread industry across the land. One member of the IFC remembers a county board member saying he didn’t know if he should believe the IFC or the wind company. Remember the wind company is here to make millions off of our land, sell a product and leave us with the mess. IFC is here to stay and makes nothing.
Kendall Guither, spokesperson for IFC