Activists plan to continue fight against proposed power plant

Activists plan to keep up the fight against a proposed power plant in the South Suburbs despite the company withdrawing its zoning application to set up a facility in Glenwood.
 
“Our concern was always that the plant would be built anywhere in that area, whether it be Glenwood, Chicago Heights, Ford Heights, Lynwood. We don’t want the plant anywhere,” said Natalie Neuman of Illinois Southland Against Fossil Energy. “It’s not just a Glenwood issue. It’s a south suburban issue.”
 
Oak Meadow LLC, a subsidiary of Advanced Power, withdrew its application last week and stopped pursuit of a natural gas electricity-generating plant in Glenwood "after extensive due diligence."
 
In a letter to Glenwood residents, Mayor Ronald Gardiner announced the company's decision. 
 
“Initially, my feeling was suspicion because companies such as Advanced Power do not typically stop the process so quickly,” Neuman said. “They don’t usually give up the fight when they find a piece of land that has the infrastructure that they’re looking for. They usually fight tooth and nail.” 
 
Neuman said ILSAFE also questioned the timing of the withdrawal, which came about a week before Tuesday’s election. 
 
Ed Hadnott, Harold Dawson Jr. and Adam Winston won or maintained positions on the Glenwood village board. All three were ILSAFE-backed candidates. Their election effectively ended the chance that the plant would be constructed in Glenwood.
 
“There’s nothing saying that they’re not going to try to continue to develop that land, perhaps through Cook County because of part of it is unincorporated, or through another adjoining village,” Neuman said. 
 
Neuman said her group is planning to request information from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and other government entities through the Freedom of Information Act. 
 
The Homewood village board approved a resolution at its March 26 meeting, urging Glenwood to deny the zoning application because “emissions from the power plant could be harmful to the environment which could impose a long-term and detrimental impact on residents and businesses of the South Suburbs and areas of Northwest Indiana.”
 
Neuman praised that resolution, a copy of which was sent to the Glenwood mayor. 
 
“I would love to see other villages in the area do what Homewood did,” she said. “That would be a very strong statement that places such as Chicago Heights, Ford Heights, Lansing, Lynwood, Thornton, Flossmoor could all do to help make a strong point that the South Suburbs does not want this polluting facility in our area.” 
 
Homewood Village Manager Jim Marino said he didn’t know whether that resolution impacted Advanced Power’s dealings with Glenwood, but Homewood would stand by it should the plan move forward.
 
Flossmoor Mayor Paul Braun attended a meeting of the opposition group. He said it was strictly a fact-finding visit.
 
“I did not take a position one way or the other,” Braun said. “Flossmoor has no official stance on the Glenwood project and in my opinion, any position would have been premature. The village of Glenwood was in the process of securing professional assistance to advise village officials of the impacts, environmental or otherwise, of the project when the project application was withdrawn.
 
"Any position on the project would have been premature until the village of Glenwood had completed its due diligence, which the village was in the process of doing,” Braun said.
 
Glenwood was in the process of requesting proposals to evaluate Advanced Power’s 370-page application and its projections for emissions, noise pollution and traffic that could result from the plant. 
 
“As to the future of the project, any thoughts would be speculation,” Braun said. “I was very pleased to see the communities’ interest and concern about the issues of the project which speaks to the excellent level of involvement of Southland citizens.”
 

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