Community rallies against transmission lines on property

By Anna Carrera

Published 03/28 2014 05:30PM

Updated 03/28 2014 05:44PM

EDGAR COUNTY -- An area man is facing off against the Ameren Transmission Company, but he's not doing it alone. Tom Ogle says the business singled him out in court since he's been fighting back, but the community is rallying behind him. WCIA-3's Anna Carrera finds out what the controversy is all about.

The state's Commerce Commission already approved the route for a 345,000 volt transmission line, but homeowners say they didn't knew it would be on their property until it was too late.

In rural Edgar County, signs of nature are right in your backyard. Tom Ogle and his wife choose to look past the power poles, but soon that could get harder.

The Illinois River Transmission Project would include almost 400 miles worth of power lines from Missouri to Indiana. Ogle's biggest complaint? No one mentioned it would be in his yard until after the decision was made.

"The way they've treated me, I'm not exactly warm and fuzzy with them right now," said Ogle.

He says company leaders didn't do enough research before moving ahead.

"It's even stated in the ICC hearings," said Ogle. "They used Google Earth and they flew over twice with a helicopter and there was no on-the-ground assessment of homes or anything like that."

Ameren reps won't comment on the issue since there's a lawsuit pending, but Ogle says he's seen plans for the project.

Many others from the area are on Ogle's side. That includes county board members who all oppose the plan and everyone else who showed up for court -- so many they couldn't all fit in the room.

"One of the attorneys for Ameren said something to the effect that this was a 'small issue' and I think you heard the reaction form the crowd," said Ogle. "Coming on private land without permission is not a small issue."

The judge decided to push the case back Ogle says it's a small victory for him and everyone else in the county.

Ogle says Ameren leaders offered to pay to use the land, but he says, that's not the point. He still has not let them on his property.

Ogle's attorney says at least nine or ten counties are also involved in appeals or requesting new hearings because of the project.

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