Illinois developer withdraws plans for power plant

OAKWOOD HILLS, Ill. (AP) — The developers of a plan to build a natural gas-fired power plant in the northern Illinois village of Oakwood Hills have withdrawn their proposal, ending a project that drew strong opposition by residents, officials said Wednesday.

Enventure Partners and Northland Power, a Canadian company, were hoping to build a 430 MW natural gas-fired power plant that would supply electricity to 160,000 households. The developer's decision not to build came after the resignations of Village President Melanie Funk, Village Attorney John Cowlin and Trustee Beth Gorr.

Village officials were unavailable for comment on the developers' decision. However, a statement on the village's website said officials the village board appreciated all the people who participated in the public hearing process. It went on to say the process "created an awareness of the community of Oakwood Hills and all it has to offer its residents and neighbors."

However, opposition to the proposed power plant prompted the closing of the Village Hall for nearly month after threats were made at a zoning board hearing.

Chris Reining, a leader of the opposition, said the proposal's sudden demise was a surprise. The opposition group surveyed the village's nearly 2,000 residents, and nearly "900 people were against it," he said.

"Through the hard work and dedication of hundreds of people showing up at events; fundraising; canvassing neighborhoods; coordinating with elected officials and legal counsel; conducting research and a myriad of other tasks focused on this common goal," Reining said, adding opponents are thrilled by the victory.

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