Hydropower discussion creates angry energy

Many residents who turned out to Thursday night's town hall meeting overwhelmingly opposed future hydropower projects for the City of Quincy.

The future of hydropower for the City of Quincy has reared its head again, and some residents aren't very happy about it.

Thursday night, two Quincy aldermen hosted a town hall meeting to give the public an opportunity to discuss the future of the city's hydropower options.

Yet, scars remain over the city's last failed attempt, and residents don't want the city to make another mistake.

The city of Quincy owns permits to Lock and Dam 24 and 25, and hydropowered turbines could be the future of those locations. Some residents want no part of it after the city lost more than $5 million at a previous attempt.

"Here comes hydropower out of the sky for John Spring," Quincy resident, Roger Brod said. "There went $5.5 (million). This trip, $300 million. We don't want those people in our town. I don't want to talk to 'em. I don't want to see 'em. I begged John not to get into that thing, and the more you talked to him, the worse he got. We're all blind to some things."

The City Council heard a presentation from Coastal Hydropower, an Alberta Canada-based company, about turning Lock and Dam 24 and 25 into hydropower locations. Sixth Ward Aldermen Dan Brink and Jim Musolino organized this meeting Thursday night to gauge residents' opinions, which overwhelmingly opposed the idea.

"It was a difficult meeting for me, because I'm not an energy expert, so trying to present the information that Coastal Energy has given us and trying to sound like an expert I'm not, so that was difficult for me," Musolino said.

Musolino said he still wants to hear all people's opinions about hydropower even if they couldn't attend Thursday's meeting. Right now, he says he's leaning toward a vote against hydropower.

"I'm going to go with the general consensus," Musolino said. "I can't honestly say that's how I'm going to vote, but I'm leaning that way because I speak for the people of the 6th Ward."

That leaning pleases residents like Roger Brod.

"I would like to see this project absolutely abandoned, the sooner, the better," Brod said. "The quicker we get those people out of this town and out of our hair ... there's blood in the water."

Musolino said the city must come up with a letter of intent to let Coastal Hydropower know whether Quincy is interested in pursuing the project.

He said that letter of intent is expected to come up at the August 12th city council meeting.

For additional information, contact Jim Musolino at 217-316-4505 or Dan Brink at 217-430-0084.