Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois held their second grouping of open houses at the Knights of Columbus Hall Tuesday evening for those affected by the proposed route. The Spoon River Transmission Line would extend from the Galesburg area to Peoria.
Peggy Ladd with Ameren Transmission tells WGIL that when they were last in Galesburg, there were five different routes. They have since been narrowed down to three.
“We will share these three routes with the public,” says Ladd. “We have a preferred route. I don’t know if it will be a preferred route after Thursday, because we want to talk to the people and make sure they’re in agreement with us.”
The first open house for the Galesburg area was held in April. Between 45 and 55 miles would be required depending on the route ultimately selected.
Open house attendee Brian Siever says some of the proposed routes run pretty close to his home. He tells WGIL that a primary concern involves what he describes as health risks from electromagnetic fields.
“They’re not direct one-to-one, this causes that, but there are some links that they have shown and we want to know what they have to say about those things and what they have to say about acquiring property or compensation for any problems that may arise health, or otherwise,” says Siever.
Part of the project attempts to solve the challenge of a federal mandate that requires 25-percent renewable energy by 2025.
The proposed line would allow Ameren Transmission to move renewable energy manufactured in areas further west to other areas with a higher population density. Although solutions are in place to mitigate interference with farming and other crops, many landowners still have concerns.
Area farmer Sonny Snyder tells WGIL he has past experience dealing with the lines.
“I farm in Yates City, I have Ameren property that goes across and I have to farm around poles and farm around lines already, so I’m curious just to see what more kind of problems we’re going to have,” says Snyder.
Representatives of Ameren Transmission have argued that if they don’t complete the work, somebody else likely will. The company is still in the information gathering stage to ultimately make two route proposals to the Illinois Commerce Commission later this year.
Additional public hearings are scheduled this week in Brimfield and Peoria.