VALORIE EVERSOLE - Daily Union Reporter
SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
Although an agreement was reached to keep the proposed Ameren power line route out of Shelby County, one state senator believes the whole project is unnecessary and should be scrapped.
State Senator Chapin Rose said that he will fight against the proposed high voltage power lines that Ameren wants to run through his district as well as the construction of the Mt. Zion substation that is included in the plan.
Rose (IL-51st District) told Shelby County landowners Saturday that he believes the substation Ameren is wanting to build at Mt. Zion is unnecessary and that he would fight the project for the entire 10-county district he represents.
“There is no incentive to build the Mt. Zion substation,” Rose said. “I will fight the whole project. This whole thing is just wrong.”
Ameren is looking to erect lines across Central Illinois to provide energy from the Plains to the East Coast in an effort to build up the power grid with wind energy.
“Most of the power is going over us. Illinois will receive no benefit from it, but the Ameren customers will be paying for it,” Rose said.
He added that he has filed a bill to fight the project, but the bill has to go through the normal review process.
Ameren has proposed routes which will either bypass Shelby County or pass through it. In May, State Representative Adam Brown reported that Ameren and Moultrie County made an agreement which would take to route farther to the north through Piatt and Douglas counties and into Edgar County to the Indiana line. This agreement would bypass Shelby and Moultrie counties, but would give Ameren the substation at Mt. Zion.
“Ameren really wants the Mt. Zion substation. I’m not convinced it is necessary nor is it the cheapest way to do it. I’m trying to knock out the whole project,” Rose said.
Rose explained that there is a “spider web” grid already in place throughout Illinois and that power would transfer with that grid to other power lines already in place without having to erect the proposed line.
He explained that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has guaranteed a 12 percent rate of return to Ameren for the transmission line. He added that Ameren customers will be paying 9 percent of the cost and will receive nothing from it.
“FERC is the problem. It’s a waste of money,” Rose said. “Congress has ordered FERC to come up with the least costly way to do it.”
“You still have a case; you’re still in this,” Rose said. “I think we’re so mad now that it will become a decade long fight not just here but across the country. We have to view this as a five to ten year fight. We’re in it for the long haul,” Rose said.