Springfield attorney Bradley Wilson represents landowners and tenant farmers who are opposed to Ameren Transmission Company’s plan for a high-voltage transmission line across Central Illinois.
Ameren Transmission is looking to construct a 345,000-volt transmission line from Palmyra, Missouri to Sugar Creek, Indiana. The proposed primary route takes it through portions of Scott, Morgan and Sangamon Counties.
Wilson says his clients oppose the portion of the route from Meredosia to Pawnee.
“First the route which Ameren has proposed follows the route that the FutureGen project is also looking at as far as laying a pipeline," says Wilson.
"So, if both the Ameren Transmission line project and the FutureGen project both are approved by the ICC then my landowner clients would be doubly burdened by having both this new transmission and the FutureGen pipeline going through the property."
Wilson says there are concerns among farmers about how the transmission lines would affect their ability to apply agricultural project via aerial application.
He there are also individualized concerns.
“Some of my clients have medical issues or family members with medical issues that require specialized medical equipment and there's concern about how the throw off of electricity from high-powered line would impact the equipment my clients need to maintain their health," says Wilson.
Wilson says he’s proposed two alternative routes for the transmission line.
“In fact, Ameren itself in filing the petition has to set forth a primary route and a proposed alternative route," says Wilson.
"We do not object to the alternative route that Ameren itself has proposed. Additionally, Ameren also has a 138-kilovolt-line running in a direct line from Meredosia to Pawnee. We don't know why Ameren isn't putting the new line on that existing right-of-way."
The Illinois Commerce Commission heard the concerns from Wilson’s clients and many other landowners at a hearing in Springfield yesterday. The ICC has until August to make a decision on whether or not to approve the primary route.
Ameren Transmission Company spokesman Leigh Morris says the line needs to be built to bring the delivery of mandated renewable energy, relieve transmission line congestion and improve reliability.
If the project is approved, construction should start in April of 2015. Part of it could be operational in late 2016 with the entire 330-mile line to be in service by the end of 2019.
Illinois customers are expected to pay 9 percent of the $1 billion project.