I have this urban sprawl next to my property, which is agricultural zoned. It has a few houses, mostly unoccupied, and other lots awaiting development. There are many huge piles of topsoil for sale, which has been removed from the lots. These huge piles are completely covered with Canada thistle, which is starting to spread seeds. This noxious weed is very difficult to control, and the State of Illinois law, in its statutes, forbids allowing it to spread seeds, which blow in the wind. This has been a consistent problem for the last four years. When the land was farmed in years past, the weeds were controlled properly. ComEd has installed numerous transformers in boxes on the ground awaiting houses that may never be built. These are all connected, humming and too hot to touch, but supplying no useful energy. An engineering estimate is that about 1,000 watts are being dissipated in each of these unused transformers. A homeowner [might pay] $850 extra per year to use this much energy. “Green” proponents suggest that we unplug telephone chargers, which consume about one watt and would cost $0.85 in a year. This area is the Morris Hills Subdivision. … It is urban sprawl at its worst.
From the July 14-20, 2010 issue