The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

April 7, 2013

Speak up at forum on turbines


DANVILLE — They sprout from the prairie from just west of Danville, following Interstate 74 all the way to Bloomington/Normal. The giant blades turn in the slightest breeze, generating electricity.

Wind turbines tend to provoke two distinctly different types of reactions in people. They are seen either as technology of tomorrow, creating electric power without the pollution that spews from coal-fired generator plants or they are seen as gigantic eyesores that erode the quality of life of those who must live nearby.

Chances are good Vermilion County Board members will hear both points of view when they conduct a public forum on wind turbines at 6:30 p.m. April 15 in Potomac Grade School.

County board members began the process of creating a wind ordinance many months ago when they were first approached by companies interested in taking advantage of nearby open spaces.

Now more than 100 of the structures can be found in northwestern Vermilion County, with more on the way near Hoopeston.

Debate during meetings and periods of public comment all took place, with a few people showing up to voice their concerns.

Now a group that includes the county board’s District 3 representative Charles Nesbitt wants changes in the ordinance. They advocate an increased setback for turbines from the closest primary building on a property from 1,200 feet to more than 1,300 feet.

The existing setback, according to county board chairman Gary Weinard, stands toughly in the middle of regulations regarding the turbines.

This technology isn’t going away. It’s proving to be popular enough that Danville Area Community College has developed a course to certify its students to work in the field.

Here’s one more chance to voice your opinion regarding the wind turbines. Head for Potomac on April 15 and speak up.