Articles from Tennessee
After a long, question-and-answer session Monday, Sept. 19, Gibson Co. commissioners voted to table a resolution that would have allowed the Planning Commission to create zones allowing wind turbines and equipment.
BELLS CHAPEL — It’s easier going green than most people might think.
Cumberland County commissioners will be asked to decide if they wish to establish regulations on land use in the unincorporated areas of Cumberland County when they meet Monday. In addition, the commission will consider a resolution joining with the Crossville City Council and state and national legislators in opposing the Crab Orchard Wind project.
The board unanimously approved a statement opposing the wind farm project at its regular monthly meeting Thursday. Specifically, the statement opposes the wind farm based on the potential negative impacts to property values in Fairfield Glade and the negative impact on future growth the project may have. It was passed following a motion from Misty Keyes with support from Harry Price.
Last week, The Vista reported that Crossville City Council members now are in opposition to the proposed Apex Clean Energy Crab Orchard Wind Project. Now, State Senator Paul Bailey (R-Sparta) and Representative Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) have announced their opposition to the proposed wind turbine project in Cumberland County.
The resolution was not on the agenda, but 9th District Commissioner Sandra Baxter Dutcher sought to waive the rules of the county commission and have the proposed resolution added to the agenda for a vote. According to the rules an item is to be submitted seven days prior to the county commission meeting in order for it to appear on the agenda.
The truth is that the impacts of wind farms are significant, and they are not positive for Tennessee's environment and wildlife. If you look at the 23 wind turbines proposed for Cumberland County, each 600 feet tall — three times the height of Neyland Stadium, with blades as long as a football field — and plainly visible from Interstate 40 and the surrounding area, you begin to understand the scope.
Apex has been very secretive about this project, and I do not trust them. Add to this the fact that several of their wind farms are having legal problems, and I do not believe this is the right company for this project. The Tennessee Legislature should put a moratorium in place on wind farms until they can update their wind farm zoning plans. In particular the set back distances for homes near wind farms needs to be determined for residents safety.
Not only are the giant windmills a scenic blemish, they are known to be environmentally destructive - ironic, since they are supposed to protect the environment by providing "clean" energy. However, to install and maintain them, vast swaths of forest and natural areas have to be cleared - and remain cleared forever.
Roane County Commission Chairman Ron Berry said to his knowledge officials in Cumberland County haven’t reached out to anyone in the Roane County Government requesting opposition to wind farm project. “That’s what I would do if it were reversed,” Berry said.
Bruce Owens, simply offered, “ I don’t want it,” he said of the Wind Project. “I’ve seen too many when I was in Indiana. And those were on open farmland with not many people around. Not like this.” Yet, it was interesting to note that, well before the 8 P.M. finishing time, the Apex meeting room had only a few people present while the Coalition’s room became jam-packed to voice their concerns and listen to the presentations.
Rudy Buchholz said, “They’re unsightly. They’ll ruin the top of the mountain.”
Brad Allamong understands the concerns about a proposed $100 million wind farm to be built near Crossville. He has heard directly from some who fear the project's impact on the community.
"If there is one thing Tennesseans agree on, it is pride in the natural beauty of our state," Alexander wrote. "There are few places in our state more beautiful than Cumberland County. We should not allow anyone to destroy the environment in the name of saving it."
I have heard serious concerns from my constituents who reside in the area and stand to be affected by this wind farm. As such, I implore you to host hearings for residents of Cumberland County in order to address their concerns before granting Apex Clean Energy access to Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) high voltage lines.
The Cumberland Mountain Preservation Coalition is a group of concerned citizens formed to study the effects that the Industrial Wind farm will have on property values, the health effects, Infrasound and local wildlife population. A few highlights from the Apex presentation was the number of Turbines has gone from 20 to possibly 29. These turbines are going to be some of the biggest Industrial turbines in the world.
Crab Orchard will become the site of the state’s largest wind farm when Charlottesville, VA-based Apex Clean Energy completes construction of 20 to 23 wind turbines by the end of 2017.
The next steps include applying for a National Environmental Policy Act permit. So far, project manager Harry Snyder doesn't see a lot of stumbling blocks to the project.
It comes down to whether TVA decides to step up its purchase of wind energy. Fracking has made natural gas abundant and cheap to burn in electric plants. Wind appears costly without tax breaks. But energy analysts figure gas prices eventually will rise. And long-term wind power contracts could lock in prices below the ultimate level gas reaches in a decade or more.
Environmental groups in the Tennessee Valley are on the verge of winning their third major battle against TVA's coal-fired power plants. But anti-coal activists are still fighting a larger war against fossil fuel generation of any type by the federal utility.