Valorie Eversole Daily Union Editor
Shelbyville Daily Union
---- — Ameren’s proposed transmission line across Central Illinois (ICC) was given the green light August 20 by the Illinois Commerce Commission, but Shelby and Moultrie farmland will not have to carry the high voltage lines through their fields.
Ameren is looking to build a billion-dollar transmission line from Palmira MO to Sugar Creek IN, a 380-miles stretch known as the Illinois Rivers Project, in an effort to provide energy to the East Coast.
The route would require a 150-foot easement across farmland to erect the 80-90 foot poles each set in a 12-foot wide base.
Shelby landowners were ready earlier this year to fight the alternative route which would have cut across farmland and impacted the local industry. Moultrie County landowners presented another route for the line which would bypass their county and send the line through Piatt and Douglas counties eastward to the Indiana line.
“The Piatt-Douglas route is the least costly alternative of all the routes. It has less turns and less difficult terrain,” attorney Liz Nohren of Dove and Dove told the Shelby County Landowners Association in a special meeting Thursday.
Nohren’s filed objections to the previously proposed route with the ICC earlier this spring. At the same time Moultrie County landowners also voiced their objections and offered the proposed route through Piatt and Douglas counties. Piatt and Douglas counties held public meetings but did not take any action to counter the proposed route, according to Nohren.
“We told them we would not go silently,” she said. “If the landowners had not filed, it could have easily come through here.”
The ICC ruling also does not support a substation at Mt. Zion although Ameren’s position is that it is necessary.
“The Pana to Mt. Zion route is a matter of when and where, but Shelby County is not included in the route.” said Dustin Probst, partner at Dove and Dove.
While all landowners in attendance breathed a sigh of relief, Dave Barnes voiced his pleasure at the news.
“This is good news. The plans included two turns across my land. It would have ruined my land,” Barnes said.