Illini Bio-Energy LLC of Springfield
has taken options on farm acreage just north of Business 55 between
Eaton Corp. and Nicholson Road. A purchase agreement is under
negotiation, but there has been no request for zoning change yet.
The group, composed mostly of neighbors
who will be affected by the plant's proximity to their homes, met
earlier this week.
Illini Bio has made appearances
before the board while they were searching for a site and, since
choosing Lincoln, has made some requests to committees.
The group decided it was time voice
their opposition to this location and asked to address the board
Acting board chairman Gloria Luster
headed the meeting. As she gave the floor to the group's spokesman,
she clearly informed everyone that this is an issue that has had no
formal proceedings conducted nor even scheduled to take place yet.
"You need to go to the planning and zoning hearing when that
happens," she said. The board has not even been approached about
"Nothing has been requested from the
Bio-Energy plant at this time -- it may not even be here -- but we
welcome you and are glad to listen to you," Luster said.
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group's spokesman, Dan Meyer, explained all that they have learned
about the proposed plant and its potential impact on the area. Meyer
and his neighbors are concerned about the proximity of the plant to
homes, Eaton Corp., Maple Ridge and Adams School. The group cites
environment and public safety as their main concerns.
- Environment: The plant will be
coal-fired, which has been known to contaminate air and water.
- Public safety: There will be
large quantities of fuel in the form of ethanol and gasoline at
- Increased traffic hazards to
residents and farmers and road development costs (passed to
taxpayers) related to heavy truck usage
- Loss of taxes through tax
- Law requires an economic cost and
- Decreased property values
- Potential to dry up local wells
due to heavy water usage
"Residents say, 'Not in our backyard'"