Wind Shift: Boone County Could Vote to Limit Turbines

- POPLAR GROVE (WTVO) -- Wind turbines could soon dot the landscape in Boone County, much like they do near Rochelle in Lee County.

"It will change the skyline," said Marshall Newhouse. "It will change the look of a rural area."

Newhouse spearheaded the push for wind energy during his 11-year stint on the Boone County Board, however, things have changed since the first wind farm popped up near Mendota in 2003.

"When you bring in upwards of 100 machines that are 500 foot tall and over 300 feet wide, it will be a drastic change," Newhouse said.

"There are people who are afraid of change," Deb Deutch said, an activist in full support of wind energy. Her concern is the board may vote in favor of setbacks and limitations that could hurt the long-term plan for the project.

Deutch is hopeful the Board keeps it's options open.

"It's keeping it open so people can learn more and it's also keeping it open so that a project can be brought forth and let it go through special use."

It's an uncomfortable balancing for everyone in Boone County.

"Everyone is walking on a tight rope," Newhouse said. "This is a huge project. The rammifications are going to be for decades into the future and it demands that everyone do their due-dilligence in creating the atmosphere in the text that's going to come out of this meeting Wednesday night so that everyone has a clear understanding of how this is going to go forward."

"We have some very well organized anti-wind groups that have spread a lot of false information," Deutch said. "Renewable energy wind is a good clean safe renewable energy and it's very important in Illinois."

"Both sides should be able to come away with something that would allow this project to move forward," Newhouse said. "If it is the will of the people."

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