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May 21, 2013

Ameren line may bypass Shelby County

Shelby County landowners recently learned that Ameren power lines may not be running through the county thanks to an agreement by Ameren and Moultrie County.

Ameren is looking to erect high voltage lines across Illinois from Missouri to the Indiana line. Ameren’s primary route would run through Christian County to a substation in Mt. Zion, then east across Moultrie County. Its secondary choice would be to run the lines from the proposed Pana substation across Shelby County. Shelby County landowners oppose this secondary route.

Moultrie County proposed the route go north from the Pana substation to Mt. Zion, through Piatt and Douglas counties, bypassing both Moultrie and Shelby counties

“Our group was probably a factor in this agreement. Without it the line would have come through Shelby County,” said Dove and Dove attorney Elizabeth Nohren, who is representing the Shelby County Landowners Association.

She added that her office had paperwork ready to file when they heard about the agreement between Moultrie County and Ameren.

“We will be filing a joint brief to the ALJ (Administrative Law Judge) outlining our position,” said Dove and Dove attorney Dustin Probst.

A ruling in the matter will be made in August.

State Representative Adam Brown was present for the May 11 landowners meeting. He cited Ameren’s lack of transparency in the plans for the lines.

“Legislatively, they’ve got to notify far in advance of changes,” Brown said. “They cannot have the lines within 500 yards of a church or school buildings or playground.”

He said that there did not appear to be a necessity for installing a line east of Mt. Zion to the Indiana border.

“We were ready to go to the ICC, but because of the possible compromise, we may not need to file,” Brown said. “But if they (Ameren) insist on installing a line, let the primary route be used. They don’t care where it is, they just want the line to go through somewhere. What they really want is a substation in Mt. Zion.”

He added that Moultrie County is a well-organized group and were effective in having the line moved away from both Moultrie and Shelby counties.

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