Encouraging Iowa County Official Accountability and Action

Executive Committee Must Approve Ordinance Upgrade Motion at March 9, 2021 Meeting


At highest levels, Iowa County officials have known about the massive 600 MW Uplands Wind project for more than a year. To date, the County has yet to acknowledge the international developer’s large scale interests and is even on record as instructing inquiring County Supervisors to tell their constituents to phone Pattern Wind LLC for answers to their questions rather than expect the County to attain information.

Whether on purpose or not, County foot dragging furthered the ability of Pattern LLC sales agents to obtain leases from landowners nearly undetected by the public at large. Were these high officials aware that Pattern was getting closer and closer to obtaining the critical number of lease signatures so the massive proposal would clear transmission connection requirements and leap quickly to the review by the state with short review review by the County under an old, incomplete Wind Siting Ordinance? Speaking just for itself, the public record raises reasons for concern.

Through last Fall, the Planning and Zoning Committee ignored requests by Committee members to ask the multi-national developer to hold public information meetings.

To help speed-up the process of bringing the County’s 2014 Wind Siting Ordinance up to current state standards, a citizen intervenor involved with the appeal of the Cardinal Hickory Creek transmission line, drafted an updated Wind Siting Ordinance carefully weaving in missing, allowable protections from PSC Code 128 into the County’s existing document. In early December, the Planning and Zoning Committee, with higher officials present, hardly gave the updated Ordinance a glance. After more delays, the Planning and Zoning Committee voted to table the entire Ordinance update initiative on January 26, 2021.

Having seen enough inaction, 86 citizens “zoomed” into February 15, 2021 Iowa County Board Meeting with more than 20 using the public comment period to voice concerns about the proposed 600 MW Uplands wind power plant proposal. Most emphasized that after months of inexplicable delay, the County must act immediately to update its 2014 Wind Siting Ordinance. Later in the meeting of the full board, a number of County Supervisors clarified these requests by requesting that the Planning and Zoning Committee resume its work updating the 2014 Wind Siting Ordinance.

With citizen caution still running high, on February 25, the Planning and Zoning Committee heard many more, precise and informed requests during the public comment period at the start of the meeting. The Chair of the Committee responded by simply stating that public comments would receive no reply and that Pattern’s proposal and the Ordinance Update were not on meeting agenda and will not be discussed,

Over the course of a year, Iowa County’s silence and inaction has supported Pattern LLC make steady gains towards its for-profit interests while public interests have yet to be acknowledged– not to mention supported or pursued. In September, the County Chair acknowledged that he is employed on a daily basis helping the efforts of wind developers. When letters were sent to County Supervisors by No-Uplands volunteers suggesting it would be appropriate for the Chair to recuse (remove) himself from all discussion of the matter due possible conflict of interest, the Chair responded that the attack on him was unwarranted. He stated that because his work in currently in North Illinois, no conflict in determining wind development regulation in Iowa County exists.

How close is Pattern LLC to attaining landowner signatures for 75% of the land required for the approximate 250 square mile study area in both Iowa and Lafayette County? This is merely one many key questions that citizens have and elected officials, by duty and position are obligated to determine for the sake of public safety, health and long term welfare of the County’s local economies.


Patience is no longer an option. The only way the citizens of Iowa County can expect any representation in this upheaval is to phone their county supervisors and use a technique that demands written accountabilities and action. Here is an outline of the proven technique:

1)  Unless one personally knows members of the Iowa County Executive Conmmittee Ron Benish, Dave Gollon, Jeremy Meek, Dan Nankee or Curt Peterson, phone your personal County Supervisor:  https://www.iowacounty.org/media/Directory%202019.pdf

2) Introduce yourself including where you live. 

3) To engage the Supervisor in discussion, prepare and ask 1-3, short clearly stated questions about Uplands details and impacts. Its best to read some materials first and personally determine what missing information is most important to you.  

4) If your Supervisor suggests asking someone else, you have the option to politely say, “OK. I will do that, but as my Supervisor, I want you to experience the difficulty of obtaining factual information and to possess the information you need to make decisions in the best interests of your constituents.”

5) If your Supervisor rattles off information that is not accountable, in writing in the County’s public record, you have the option to politely say, “That is interesting. Can you send me a link to the source for that information? I still want you to research my questions.

6) Tell your Supervisor you will be following up the phone call with your questions in writing in an email. https://www.iowacounty.org/media/Directory%202019.pdf

7) Tell your Supervisor you will phone he or she back in 10-14 days for answers to your questions if you don’t hear from he or she earlier.

8) Conclude the call and the follow-up email by asking the Supervisor to immediately call one of the members of the Executive Committee ( Ron Benish, Dave Gollon, Jeremy Meek, Dan Nankee or Curt Peterson) and ask the member to ask the Chair add a motion to the March 9, 2021 Meeting agenda that would require the County to act immediately to update its 2014 Wind Siting Ordinance to include all available health, safety and other protections allowable in State Code.

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