CHICAGO (CBS) — Some residents of a small community in McHenry County have begun gearing up to stop plans for a natural gas power plant in their village.
Chris Reining, who has lived in Oakwood Hills for four years, calls the village a big neighborhood; a place where the village newspaper tells residents a row boat got loose, or someone lost their glasses at the beach.
WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports that’s why he was surprised to hear the village of 2,000 people could become home to a $450 million natural gas power plant.
“Man, how did we miss this, and how did we miss the notification about a 430 megawatt power plant going up in our back yard?” he asked.
Reining has set up a Facebook page called “Stop The Oakwood Hills Power Plant,” and has organized protests ahead of informational and zoning board meetings about the plant next week.
He said he’s worried about the plant’s potential effect on property values, and that water usage from the deep water aquifer that supplies the village’s drinking water could hit 600,000 gallons a day – or about 300 gallons per resident – to supply the water needed to run the plant.
“There’s a lot of questions that we feel need to be asked, but it’s something that we all certainly know we don’t want in our back yard,” Reining said.
According to the Northwest Herald, developers have been working on a plan to reduce such heavy reliance on the nearby aquifer and eventually draw all of the water needed for the power plant from treatment facilities that otherwise would dump water in the Fox River
A website promoting the proposed Oakwood Hills Energy Center said the power will help the region to transition from coal and nuclear energy to clean natural gas and renewable energy. The village also would receive a $1.3 million hosting fee, and $500,000 of new property tax revenue, according to the Northwest Herald.
Developers hope to get preliminary approval from the village next month, and final approval from the village and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by Fall 2015. If that happens, construction could begin by Winter 2015, and be completed by Summer 2018.
An open house meeting to discuss the project has been scheduled for July 22, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Holiday Inn Crystal Lake at the corner of Route 31 and 3 Oaks Road. A zoning board meeting has been scheduled for July 24 at 6:30 p.m.