News Local/State

Tuscola Public Meeting To Oppose Ameren Transmission Line


Some residents of Douglas and Piatt Counties are putting together a last-ditch effort to block the location of an Ameren transmission line through the area.

A meeting Thursday night will address concerns like land value with the high-voltage 69-mile project extending from Missouri to Indiana.

Organizer and Tuscola resident Gary Appleby said the counties were not listed as part of the route until a few months ago, when a lawyer representing Moultrie County residents convinced the Illinois Commerce Commission to shift the line to the north.

Appleby said Ameren has no regard for Amish properties on the west side of Douglas County, in addition to farming operations throughout the area.

“We’re talking 90 to 140 foot towers with 10-foot bases," he said.  "All our ground in Douglas and Piatt Counties is tiled.  It’s just going to be one big problem. The line is there forever, and we’ll just have to deal with it.  But we just assume abandon it altogether.”

Appleby said Douglas and Piatt counties still are not listed on the ICC’s website as part of the transmission line route, but the agency is expected to announce the route on Aug. 20.

But ICC spokeswoman Beth Bosch said the commission could choose one of three or four alternate routes when it meets.  Or she said it’s also possible the high-voltage line could be moved to a later meeting. 

Bosch said about 8,000 residents are impacted by the Ameren line, and the ICC is reviewing a lot of comments.

He said no one representing Ameren or the ICC is expected to show up to Thursday’s meeting. Meanwhile, he said critics of the transmission line include hundreds of area residents, as well as the Illinois Farm Bureau.

Thursday's meeting is at 6:30 p.m. at the Tuscola Community Building.