Coles County Board panel advises opposition to power line

CHARLESTON — The Coles County Board will consider taking a stance against a proposed power line that would include the county in its cross-state route.

On Wednesday, the board’s Planning and Development Committee voted to recommend that the board oppose the Ameren Transmission Co. project that calls for construction of a power line that would go from Missouri, through Illinois and into Indiana.

Concerns the committee’s members mentioned included lack of compensation to owners of property on which the line would be built, possible adverse effects on business and uncertainty about where the line would be located.

“We need more energy,” committee Chairman Stan Metzger said. “We don’t want to come out against progress but it needs to be done correctly.”

All four of the committee’s members at the meeting — Metzger, Paul Daily, Dan Lawrence and Cory Sanders — voted in favor of the recommendation. Committee member John Bell didn’t attend.

The recommendation now goes to the county board for consideration at its meeting Wednesday evening.

The proposed power line, called the Illinois Rivers Project, has a 2015 target date for construction and would begin to be used in 2016.

Contacted later Wednesday, Ameren spokesman Leigh Morris said the transmission line is needed to “move renewable power from where it’s made to where it’s used.” It would help meet state requirements for renewable energy by transmitting wind-produced electricity, mostly from western states, he said.

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