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New wind farm law gives voice to local concerns


From Illinois Business Journal news services

SPRINGFIELD – Before a crop of wind turbines pops up on a farm field near your home, local government will have a chance to weigh in on zoning and regulation issues, according to State Sen. Kyle McCarter.

McCarter is a cosponsor of Senate Bill 920 recently signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner. It allows local government to regulate wind farms even if there are no specific zoning rules in place.

The law takes effect Jan. 1.

“This is an important change because there have been families that have been forced out of their homes due to the ill-effects of nearby wind farms,” said McCarter, R-Lebanon. “The wind turbines cause noise, vibration and a flicker effect of shadow and reflection from their turning blades.”

McCarter said while many areas of the state have local zoning rules, there are still counties and municipalities that do not.

The 54th District Senator said witnesses who testified on behalf of the legislation during the spring session provided important real-life stories that helped to ultimately pass the bill with no opposition.

“The witnesses told the Senate about their personal experiences and how the unregulated wind farms devalued their property and in some cases, forced them to move out,” said McCarter. “Senate Bill 920 is going to protect citizens and ensure that wind farms are put in the proper place.”

According to the Midwest Wind Energy Center, there are 46 wind projects currently functioning in Illinois producing 3,568 megawatts of electrical power.

Senate Bill 920 was approved by the Senate on a vote of 50 to 0. The House passed it on a vote of 116 to 0. The governor signed the measure in late July.

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