SPRINGFIELD, IL – As a follow-up to the public outcry to the proposed Illinois Rivers Ameren transmission power line project, State Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) and State Reps. Adam Brown (R-Decatur) and Wayne Rosenthal (R-Morrisonville) have filed legislation to protect Central Illinois residents’ land from the project.
“Today, legislation has been filed that would slow this process down and do a thorough evaluation of whether this is actually needed. Also, it would prevent the construction of transmission lines within 1.5 miles of several categories of public and private lands,” Rose said.
“We are working to ensure that the siting process for these transmission lines is as open and transparent as possible,” Brown said. “The landowners and concerned citizens should have a voice in this process.”
"This bill helps resolve some of the problems current landowners are facing by protecting future affected landowners’ properties," Rosenthal said. "The legislation would allow for a fair and equal opportunity for landowners and Ameren to look at where the transmission lines are going with a more reasonable amount of time for both parties to discuss options. Landowners currently affected in my district felt the expedited process did not allow enough time to respond. I believe this bill will fix the problem for future projects."
Ameren's new multi-state, high-voltage transmission line would run from Marion County, Missouri to Vigo County, Indiana, - and Illinois counties in-between - and would affect multiple counties across the 51st Senate District.
Community leaders are worried about potential lost land values and impact on agricultural interests. Residents question why Ameren needs to build the new transmission line across the proposed area when several other service lines already exist.
The bills seek to stop any transmission projects that are longer than five miles in length from using the Illinois Commerce Commission’s “fast track” permitting process.
Further, the bill provides for a 1.5-mile buffer around many classifications of private and public properties. Protections would be afforded to certain agricultural lands, schools, airports, Amish religious and education sites, archaeological sites, cemeteries, churches, commercial use areas, communications towers, conservations lands, designated critical habitats, recreational use areas, open spaces and preserves, residential uses areas, geologically sensitive areas, day cares, National Historic Landmarks, nursing/assisted living facilities, planned developments and residential areas, protected species areas, scenic highways, state, regional and local parks, traditional cultural property, trees, water well sites and wetlands.
Rose’s legislation is Senate Bill 1874. The House measures will be introduced shortly.