Monday, July 4, 2016

Boone County opposes GLB RR

Jim Dayton

Illinois county votes to oppose proposed railroad

Thursday, June 30, 2016



BELVIDERE, ILL.--Boone County, Illinois, has joined six other counties in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin in opposing the proposed Great Lakes Basin Railroad, according to the Rockford Register Star.

The county board's resolution, approved during a special meeting Wednesday, says the proposed line “would cut across prime farmland in Boone County.”

Great Lakes Basin Transportation wants to build a 275-mile railroad line that would begin near Milton, run south around Chicago and connect to La Porte, Indiana. The project would “expedite freight movements across the nation and … provide additional capacity for growing railroad traffic,” according to the company's website.

Boone County joins Wisconsin's Rock County, Indiana's Lake and Porter counties and Illinois counties Grundy, LaSalle and Lee in opposition to the rail line. Three counties in Illinois and one in Indiana along the proposed route have so far taken no action.

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Bill Brietsprecher questions Newhouse’s anti-GLB RR position

Email from June 30.  Mr. Brietsprecher has circulated numbers anti-GLB RR articles and other submissions

Julie Newhouse & Illinois Farm Bureau recently released a statement on
eminent domain -- it does have some important stuff, BUT do not count on
her or the bureau as meaningful allies.
Boone County Chair Bob Walberg, according to good sources I have, is who
brought Frank Patton's GLBT RR over from Winnebago as proposed earlier.
While some say it is the Sugar River and wetlands that created this move,
this is not true.  There is no real difference between wetlands on the
west edge of Winnebago and the east edge of Boone and it is laughable to
state otherwise.  I am sourcing this story and will publish if we print an
August Greal Lakes Basin Rail: News & Views.
Julie Newhouse is tight with Walberg -- she has repeatedely insisted
directly to me that Walberg is against GLBT!  That is a lie, she knows it,
and you know it too.  Walberg, at advise from his attorney, abstained from
voting -- but he jacked the resolution around for many weeks and even
tried to prevent Toria Funderberg from speaking last night.
I met Walberg in April and it was clear to me he was going to do what he
could to promote GLBT.  The only reason his attorney would tell him to
abstain from voting on anything is because he has a serious conflict of
interest which potentially would make it criminal (Remember, he invited
GLBT to Boone and said he could get the county to approve).
Walberg and the Newhouse families own lots of land and will make fortunes
selling out to Patton at a premium (probably MORE than $20,000 per acre),

which would help GLBT buy the rest of the property for minimal market
value -- probably no more than $5,000 per acre.
Julie Newhouse is not on our side and, like Walberg, will play a game to
appear to be listening to us while undermining our work.  The Farm Bureau
directly told me in April that they would take no stand on GLBT and would
support it under certain conditions.
I have seen people promoting a recent eminent domain article by the Farm
Bureau -- it is not actually helpful and it will be a mistake to think
that they will do anything meaningful to stop GLBT.  Newhouse is a board
member and there is too much money to make selling less-powerful people
If we do not stand together, GLBT will be built, not to reroute 25% of
Chicago's through rail freight, but to get the most hazardous and
dangerous carloads out of Chicago Metro and through YOUR community.  This
will also allow the rest of the rail & oil industry to massively increase
crude-by-rail shipments.
Currently, no Class 1 carrier will admit this -- they cannot, because if
there was a rail accident in Chicago Metro, they would be held responsible
for shipping hazardous materials through a corridor they knew and
acknowledged is unsafe and dangerous to tens-of-thousands.
If GLBT is built, they may start routing crude along Patton's line and
will have no choice if that is what the crude oil shippers demand.  If
GLBT develops tank farms and a refinery in the excessive 25 square mile
rail port by Kankakee, all crude coming to that would have to come through
your community as well.
Do not count on the Farm Bureau!
Bill Breitsprecher


By Adam Poulisse
Staff writer

Posted Jun. 29, 2016 at 10:32 PM

BELVIDERE — Eleven of 12 Boone County Board members tonight approved a resolution that states the community's opposition to the proposed Great Lakes Basin Railroad.
Board Chairman Bob Walberg abstained.
After the meeting, Boone County Board member Cathy Ward posted on her Facebook page:
"Finally. It took months to get our board to approve this resolution, but thanks to all of you who stood your ground for all of us. It helps a lot to have people come to our meetings. You do make a difference."
The one-page resolution states that the $8 billion, 275-mile rail line slated to cut through Boone and several other counties in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana would "cut across prime farmland in Boone County." The railroad route was proposed to provide quicker freight rail surface and bypass Chicago.
"Farmland preservation is the focal point of the Boone County Comprehensive Plan, which includes strategies and goals to protect nonrenewable farmland and natural resources ..." the resolution reads.
The resolution will be sent to the U.S. Transportation Board along with a three-page letter from the county, which outlines objections to the project in such areas as land loss, safety, water quality, geology and soils, noise and insurance costs. The letter was approved during a County Board meeting May 18.
Ward said the resolution was crafted because "the state's attorney told us it is a more formal letter of opposition."
With the resolution, Boone County has followed suit with LaSalle County, Illinois, and Lake County, Indiana, two other potentially affected communities that have drafted resolutions.
Rock County Board last month also approved an official resolution stating the 200-foot wide rail corridor would remove 570 acres of prime farmland, and would result in a $608,615 annual loss of agricultural production.
Staff writer Chris Green contributed to this report.

Adam Poulisse: 815-987-1344;; @adampoulisse

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Would the vote have been 11-0-1 without the huge crowd?
Cathy Ward

June 29 at 9:05pm ·

TRAIN TALKS - 11 of the 12 Boone County Board members voted tonight (Wednesday) to send a resolution to the feds saying we OPPOSE the proprosed freight train in our county. Chair Bob Walberg abstained. Boone County resident Toria Funderberg read a detailed statement of why this train is a bad idea for our county and suggested strongly that board members who have supported the train or have tried to stop discussion to this resolution should resign from the board. The board roo...m was full. Walberg tried to stop Toria's statement, but the crowd urged her on and she received loud applause after her strong statement. Finally. It took months to get our board to approve this resolution or even be allowed to discuss it, but thanks to all of you who stood your ground for all of us. It helps a lot to have people come to our meetings. You do make a difference.

Green Bay area study on low frequency sound from wind turbines?


Shirley Wind Farm opponents see ray of hope

Doug Schneider, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin 8:35 p.m. CDT July 3, 2016

A group of Brown County lawmakers has given initial approval for items sought by Shirley-area residents who say low-frequency sound from the farm's eight turbines is making them sick

GPG Wind Turbines Buy Photo

The Brown County Health Board declared the Shirley Wind Farm operated by Duke Energy Renewables poses a health risk to its neighbors in the Town of Glenmore, which is in the southern part of the county. (Photo: USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)Buy Photo

GREEN BAY - It wasn't the definitive answer they were looking for, but people concerned about potential health impacts from the Shirley Wind Farm have been given a glimmer of hope.

A group of Brown County lawmakers has given initial approval for items sought by Shirley-area residents who say low-frequency sound from the farm's eight turbines is making them sick. The committee is recommending the county seek an independent review of findings saying insufficient evidence exists to link the turbines to health problems, and that the county consult the state attorney general to clarify its rights in the matter.

"There are concerns that our Health Department doesn't properly investigate the windmills," said Guy Zima, who with fellow Supervisor Patrick Evans is pushing for the county to be more aggressive in assessing the potential health impacts of the wind farm. He likened living near the turbines, for some, to "Chinese water torture."

Guy Zima, District 9

Green Bay City Council meeting Buy Photo

Guy Zima, District 9 Green Bay City Council meeting at City Hall in downtown Green Bay on Tuesday, April 19, 2016. (Photo: Evan Siegle/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)

Zima suggested forming committees, holding hearings and buying additional equipment for the health department as ways the county could better address Shirley-area residents' concerns.

Some people in the Shirley area, though, believe the county should do more than Zima is suggesting.

They insist that the county board should reject a December ruling by then-Health Director Chua Xiong that there is insufficient evidence to link the turbines and illnesses, alleging that it could have negative impacts well beyond the county's borders. They say Xiong didn't follow scientific protocols and delegated two much research work to an assistant they say wasn't qualified to do the work.

"The consequences of this are are not just benign. And they are global," said Jim Vanden Boogart, who heads a citizens' group calling for more regulation of the turbines. "Wind developers are taking the decision by Chua Xiong and using it … Brown County's Health Department is going to be personally responsible for harm to public health across the globe."

Some people living near the wind farm have complained of sleep problems, headaches, nausea and irritability and other issues they say are caused by the turbines and low-frequency sound, or infrasound, they emit. The farm's operator, Duke Energy Renewables, points to studies saying there is no clear link between turbines and the health issues claimed by people who live near them.

Xiong resigned in March to take another job. Since her ruling, the county has discussed several options, amid debate about what to do next. Lawmakers in February discussed a proposed task force devoted to wind-farm issues — but saw the idea withdrawn a week after it was introduced.

A recommendation by the county's Human Services Committee last week means the wind issue will next be considered by a second committee — Administration — which will consider whether the county should bring in an independent reviewer to examine Xiong's ruling. Human Services, meanwhile, will give the issue further consideration when it meets again in late July.

At issue now is how much authority a group of lay supervisors might have to reject the ruling of a health professional. While several supervisors have indicated they'd like to overturn Xiong's conclusion, doing so might open up another can of worms, one of their colleagues warned.

"You should defer this to next month and get a legal opinion … as to what you can and cannot do," Supervisor John Van Dyck said. "if you just look at this from a view that is one-sided, then the conclusion you draw is going to be called into question."

The issue has even divided members of the county Board of Health, a panel that previously had labeled the turbines "a human health hazard." Board Chairman Jay Tibbetts, a retired physician, said last week that Xiong's ruling must be overturned.

"I don’t believe this was done right, so it's important that it cannot stand," he said. "It’s going to harm people all over the place. It’s going to harm people."

But new board member Jim Crawford said Xiong's ruling was "a wise decision."

"To reverse her decision would be a step back to the voodoo of the Middle Ages," Crawford said. "The medical community does not support the infrasound theory. Neither should Brown County."

Duke bought the wind farm in 2011. Electricity produced at Shirley, which can power an estimated 6,000 homes, is sold to Wisconsin Public Service Co. and follow him on Twitter @PGDougSchneider

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