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McSweeney, Duffy oppose Oakwood Hills power plant

State Rep. David McSweeney (pictured) and state Sen. Dan Duffy have joined the growing movement against a $450 million power plant proposed for Oakwood Hills.
State Rep. David McSweeney (pictured) and state Sen. Dan Duffy have joined the growing movement against a $450 million power plant proposed for Oakwood Hills.

OAKWOOD HILLS – State Rep. David McSweeney and state Sen. Dan Duffy have joined the growing movement against a $450 million power plant proposed for Oakwood Hills.

McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, vowed Wednesday to "actively fight against" the project at the state level should it be approved locally. Project developers would have to get state permits to construct the plant if local authorities approved it, including from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency where McSweeney said he would oppose it.

"I'm a big supporter of natural gas plants, but they can find a better location for this," McSweeney said, noting the proposed location was far too close to a school. "There are just too many questions and frankly, I need to represent the local citizens who have a very legitimate concern."

McSweeney said he was also greatly concerned about the water usage of the plant, estimated to need 1.5 million gallons of water per day to operate. Developers say all the water could come from neighboring wastewater treatment facilities though a backup groundwater source would be available in emergencies.

Natural gas development and bringing business into Illinois is important, McSweeney said, but not at the cost of the health and well-being of residents.

Duffy, R-Lake Barrington, echoed McSweeney's concerns over the project and said the process needed to slow down as it is the first power plant of its kind proposed in the country. He added village officials only recently reached out to him and he had much more questions than answers.

"It reminds me of Springfield a little bit in that I don't see any transparency," he said. "I'm kind of surprised we didn't hear about this project a long time ago."

The state lawmakers join a growing opposition movement among local residents including District 46 school board members and officials. Many have expressed concerns over the health, environmental and real estate effects the 430-megawatt, natural gas plant would have on the area.

Hundreds are expected to show up Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Crystal Lake Holiday Inn on 800 S. Route 31 for a zoning hearing. Zoning board members are expected to grant a continuation until Oct. 9 to give developers an opportunity to address residents' concerns and present solutions.

The public comment portion of the meeting would be delayed until Oct. 9 when the zoning hearing resumes.

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