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Local

Board hears opposition to proposed solar farm

Laura Harmon, Illinois Farm Bureau senior counsel, tells farmers gathered last fall in Dwight about what to look out for in Solar Farm deals.
Laura Harmon, Illinois Farm Bureau senior counsel, tells farmers gathered last fall in Dwight about what to look out for in Solar Farm deals.

MORRIS – Several residents who live in the southern part of Grundy County got up and took turns to speak out against Cypress Creek Renewables, which is a national provider of local solar energy.

“It’s not good for us,” one commenter stated. “I don’t want to look at solar panels, it’s good farmland and I’ve had contact with those who live near Cypress’ other solar farms.”

He said the farms are noisy, large, and take away from the counties prime agricultural land.

Another commenter said he was warned to read the fine print and stated that if Cypress Creek Renewables goes bankrupt, they can sell to whomever they like so there is no guarantee that they would even be the company running the farms in the future.

There was also talk about abandoned solar farms that have fences around them with barbed wire on the top, looking a lot like the Dwight prison, which still sits empty just over the county line.

More than one also brought up the fact that the area already has windmills for miles and have LaSalle Nuclear plant not far from their homes and they didn’t feel that it was a good area to place a solar farm.

“If you want a solar farm put it on county property, you have property by the 911 center,” one commenter said.

The board listened to the comments during the comment period and said they would take into consideration the documents one of the residents brought in to inform them of what Cypress has done in other communities as well as look at the petitions that were also brought in.

The board made no other comment on the subject.

County Board Chairman Chris Balkema said on an upbeat note the most recent safety update was good news for the county.

“The safety update shows the county has done a fine job this month, we are safe as a county,” Balkema said. “Both residents and workers can come into our facilities and know they are safe.”

It was also announced that Jim Wright retired from the Public Building commission leaving a spot open that needs to be filled.

Board member Kerry Courtright who reminded the board said she’d like to see the position filled immediately.

Balkema said the commission meets quarterly and while the county doesn’t plan to build any buildings in the near future it is important that the commission remain full.

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