Champaign County Board opposes bill on wind farms

URBANA — Champaign County Board members have gone on record as being opposed to legislation in Springfield that they contend would weaken their oversight of wind farms.

In a unanimous voice vote, board members approved a resolution opposing Senate Bill 3263, proposed by Sen. John Sullivan, D-Rushville. The bill was assigned to the Senate Energy Committee nearly a month ago but hasn’t been heard.

County board members said Thursday that Champaign County’s wind-farm ordinance provides better protection for citizens than the regulations in Sullivan’s bill.

Board chairman Al Kurtz, a Champaign Democrat, said the legislation would “interfere with us doing what we have done and building a very, very strong wind-farm ordinance, probably a role model for the rest of the state.”

“To me it looks like a wind-farm lobbyist’s dream, to get the counties off its back,” said Champaign Democrat Astrid Berkson.

“We’re closer to our own problems and we should be regulating them,” said Urbana Democrat Ralph Langenheim, “and there’s no reason why they should be encroaching on us.”

Urbana Democrat Chris Alix called Sullivan’s bill “very likely a power and revenue grab by the state in the guise of attempting to promulgate regulations for counties that have not promulgated their own.”

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