Planned Kansas wind farm energy line through Illinois worries some

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Published Sunday, February 20, 2022
by Greg Bishop | The Center Square

(The Center Square) - Energy legislation approved in Illinois last summer opened the door for a Kansas wind-powered transmission line to carry electricity across the southern part of the state. Some have concerns.

Invenergy Transmission is running radio advertisements promoting the Grain Belt Express transmission project.

"Grain Belt Express will generate $1.2 billion in economic benefit for our state, 2,200 local jobs during construction and $33 million in new revenue for area communities," the advertisement says. "Affordable, reliable, clean energy and at no cost to Illinois consumers. Built the right way."

State Rep. Brad Halbrook, R-Shelbyville, has concerns about the project set to go across the southern part of the state. He said it was approved last summer in a sweeping energy overhaul.

"For the first time, the state of Illinois has granted a private company eminent domain over private property," Halbrook said. "And I think this is unprecedented ... we've never seen this before."

Halbrook said the impact on farmers could be a loss of property and increased costs from litigation.

"And this is just one of the implications of the new green deal that hit Illinois," Halbrook said. "It is going to cost our property owners tons of cash just to try to avoid this situation and I don't know where this is ultimately going to land."

The 800-mile project from wind farms in Kansas has a 200-mile primary route and an alternative route proposed for Illinois. More information is available at GrainBeltExpress.com, where the company is also seeking public input.

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