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2/20/2014

It’s official!  The ICC Commissioners selected the PDM/CFT route with the Staff modification!

In a 5-0 vote, the ICC Commissioners selected the PDM/CFT route with the Staff modification and approved the Administrative Law Judges’ Proposed Second Order on Rehearing during today’s ICC Bench Session in Springfield.

One of the first items of discussion was an acknowledgment by Judge Albers of the 427 comments posted on the ICC Public Comment site.  Based on this acknowledgement, it is clear that all of your hard work and efforts made a difference!  Of the 427 comments, over half were written by PDM/CFT/Defend Piatt and Douglas supporters.

Thank you to all who took the time to post comments and/or write letters.  Once again, your efforts clearly made a difference!

As much as we are sorry to see this transmission line built anywhere in the Central Illinois area, we absolutely believe it was right to defend our property and communities against MCPO’s attempted reroute through Piatt and Douglas Counties–two counties that were not even included in Ameren’s ICC petition for this project.  That said, based on today’s vote, the ICC really approved a hybrid of Ameren’s original, carefully studied, and properly vetted routes, which took Ameren years to develop and additional time to refine based on feedback from multiple public forums and meetings.

Again, thank you to all for the grassroots efforts that made this rehearing decision possible.  Literally, hundreds of fellow citizens, neighbors, and community members joined together and contributed to this cause in many different ways, all of which led to today’s result.

We would also like to offer a special word of thanks to Springfield attorney Kurt Wilke of the firm Barber, Segatto, Hoffee, Wilke, and Cate for his tireless efforts on our behalf.

In addition, we would like to publicly thank Judges Albers and Yoder, Chairman Scott, and Commissioners Colgan, del Valle, Maye, and McCabe for basing their decisions upon the very clear and compelling evidence presented during this case.

Looking ahead, one final contribution you can make as a fellow citizen/property owner is to help support the legal efforts that have been taken to protect your property and our communities from this massive high-voltage transmission line.

To help assist with our final round of legal bills, please consider sending a check made out to “Defend Piatt and Douglas” to the Tuscola National Bank at the following address:

Defend Piatt and Douglas Fund
C/O Tuscola National Bank
900 S. Progress Blvd.
Tuscola, IL  61953
 

Thanks again to all!  We should all be very proud of the united effort we have put forth in defending our properties, our homes, and our communities.

 

 

2/6/2014: Rehearing Update:  On Friday, January 17, the ICC Administrative Law Judges issued a Proposed Second Order on Rehearing,  and in their conclusion they stated the following:

“Based on the evidence presented to the Commission on this segment of the project, the Commission believes that the preferable route is the PDM/CFT [Channon Family Trust] Route with Staff’s modification.  It is clearly the least-cost option which has been presented to the Commission, it presents no difficulties in construction or maintenance, and affects fewer property owners than the other options presented.  It also appears to better utilize existing corridors such as roads, section lines, and property lines.”

–   ICC Proposed Second Order on Rehearing, January 17, 2014

Administrative Law Judges Albers and Yoder have carefully weighed all of the evidence and testimony in this rehearing, and they have rightly concluded that the PDM/CFT (Channon) route (a hybrid of petitioner ATXI’s original routes through Moultrie County) is “clearly the least-cost option” in this case, and they have selected the PDM/CFT (Channon) route for this project!

The ICC’s Proposed Second Order on Rehearing will now be presented to the ICC Commissioners for their final approval, and we expect that decision to be made on or by February 20.  In the interim, you need to ACT NOW to SUPPORT the Administrative Law Judges’ Proposed Second Order and their proper selection of the miles shorter, far less expensive, and far less destructive PDM/CFT (Channon Family Trust) route.

Once again, for all of the following reasons, the ICC Commissioners need to support the Administrative Law Judges’ selection of the PDM/CFT (Channon) route, which is comprised of Ameren’s carefully studied and properly vetted original routes through Moultrie County, and reject the MCPO-proposed reroute through Douglas and Piatt Counties:

  • First and foremost, the PDM/CFT/Staff route is “the least cost” and clearly outperforms the MCPO route on 11 of the 12 known factors the ICC is supposed to use to decide this case.
  • In regard to the deciding factors, the MCPO route is over 9 miles longer than the PDM/CFT/Staff route.
  • The MCPO route would cost $17 million more to construct than the PDM/CFT/Staff route.
  • The MCPO route would include 50 more towers and spans than the PDM/CFT/Staff route, thereby increasing maintenance costs, environmental and visual impacts, damage to property, the chance for weather-related outages, and danger to the public.
  • The MCPO route splits 103 family farms (4x the PDM/CFT route!) by placing these massive towers and high-voltage lines right through the middle of cultivated field after cultivated field for over 27 miles!  In stark contrast, the PDM/CFT/Staff route reflects public input by attempting to follow roads, section lines, and property lines.
  • The MCPO route would place these massive towers and high-voltage lines unnecessarily close to multiple towns (within 1/4 to 1/2 mile in several cases), negatively impacting property values, community aesthetics, and future community growth and development.  (See a Map of the proposed routes  by clicking here.)
  • The MCPO route would include SIX 90° turns in just over 2 miles while crossing over US 36 and the Arthur Road into the Amish Community.  Running  these massive high-voltage towers and lines through the gateway to the Amish Community would be devastating to this unique, historic area and would forever destroy the area’s beautiful, rural sight lines, which annually draw visitors from around the globe.
  • Regarding opposition, over 500 individual Intervenors representing communities across the 70+ mile MCPO route have formally recorded their opposition to the MCPO route with the ICC.
  • Those 500+ Intevenors represent over 10 times the number of people who are supporting the MCPO route.
  • In contrast, the PDM/CFT/Staff route aligns with the interests of every intervening party in this rehearing (except for MCPO), and based on the lower cost of the PDM/CFT/Staff route, Ameren and Illinois ratepayers will benefit from its use as well.
  • The MCPO route travels miles off course to the north and negatively impacts 40% more cropland, more property owners, and far more communities.
  • The MCPO route, with its massive towers, would also run directly across the historic Amish community, right through a registered Native American archeological site, and right next to the widely used Tuscola airport, which is used as a training site for over 91 University of Illinois Flight School students. 
  • The MCO route not only impacts more cropland, more prime farm ground, and more wetland areas, it would also require the clearing of forestland along three major rivers and would cross 19 more streams, thereby causing far more damage to the ecosystem than the PDM/CFT/Staff route.
  • Looking back, the MCPO route through Piatt and Douglas Counties was developed in less than three weeks by SIX Moultrie County property owners, and NO public forums or public meetings have ever been held in connection with the MCPO route.
  • In stark contrast, the PDM/CFT/Staff route follows Ameren’s original, properly vetted routes through Moultrie County, which Ameren spent years studying, reviewing, publicizing, and refining based on feedback from multiple public forums and a review of 32 different geographic sensitivities.
  • As evidence of how far off course to the north  the MCPO route would travel, Ameren (the  petitioner in this case) has never even proposed or submitted any routes through Piatt and Douglas Counties, and Douglas and Piatt Counties were not even included in Ameren’s formal petition to the ICC.

In conclusion, the PDM/CFT/Staff route outperforms the MCPO route on ALL of the known factors, clearly making it “the least cost” option in this rehearing.  As a result, the ICC Commissioners should reject the longer, more costly, and far more destructive MCPO route through Douglas and Piatt Counties and support the Administrative Law Judges’ selection of the PDM/CFT/Staff route through Moultrie County, which lies directly between substations in Mt. Zion and Kansas, IL.

What can you do to support the Administrative Law judges’ Proposed Order?  You need to act NOW and let the ICC Commissioners know that you “support the PDM/CFT/Staff route” and you “OPPOSE the MCPO route through Douglas and Piatt Counties!”

  • Post your support for the ICC selected PDM/CFT/Staff route on the ICC “Public Comment” site by going to http://www.icc.illinois.gov/docket/comment/default.aspx and selecting “Comment” under Case #12-0598.
  • Write the five ICC Commissioners at 527 East Capitol Avenue, Springfield, IL, 62701, reference Case #12-0598, and state your “support for the ICC selected PDM/CFT/Staff route” and your opposition to the attempted MCPO reroute through Piatt and Douglas Counties.  (Use Letter Templates)
  • Spread the word!  See our Information Sheet and contact family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers, and ask them to get involved and voice their opinion to the ICC.
  • Contact local newspapers and television/radio stations and ask them to report on the ICC’s selection of the PDM/CFT/Staff route and how it is not only the “least cost” route but also that it clearly outperforms the MCPO route on the 12 known factors.
  • Contact the Illinois General Assembly members and elected officials representing your county, reference the information on this sheet, and ask them to voice their “support for the ICC selected PDM/CFT/Staff route” and their “opposition to the MCPO  attempted reroute.”

IL State Senate Dist. 51: Chapin Rose, 217-558-1006 / senatorchapinrose@gmail.com

 IL House Dist. 101: Bill Mitchell,  217-782-8163 / repmitchell@earthlink.net

         IL House Dist. 102: Adam Brown,  217-782-8398 / staterepbrown@gmail.com

One of the most important steps you can take as a concerned citizen/property owner is to help support the legal efforts being taken to protect your property and our counties from this massive high-voltage transmission line.  This is particularly important now as the legal bills for December and January will be unusually high due the formal hearing portion of the case that took place in December and the associated briefs that needed to be filed.

On that note, we would like to thank Tuscola National Bank for helping us establish an account to Defend Piatt and Douglas Counties.  By working together, we can stop this massive transmission line from being a permanent blight on the landscape of our counties and forever devaluing our homes, farmland, and property.

To help defend our counties, please send a check made out to “Defend Piatt and Douglas” to the following address:

Defend Piatt and Douglas Fund
C/O Tuscola National Bank
P.O. Box 110
Tuscola, IL  61953
 

Thank you for your help!  We hope you will continue to support our efforts by making a donation and by contacting the ICC today to voice your opposition to the attempted MCPO reroute through Douglas and Piatt Counties and express your support for the shorter, much less expensive, and far less destructive PDM/CFT/Staff route through Moultrie County.

Thanks again, and may God bless you and your family in 2014!

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