By JAY MCCARTHY
For The Vista
This week has been an enlightening experience for all that either went to Nashville or watched via Internet the bill that the Cumberland Mountain Preservation Coalition (CMPC) sponsored to stop the Crab Orchard Industrial wind project.
When the CMPC started this process of getting legislation passed over 8 months ago, it looked at what had been done successfully across the country and states that bordered Tennessee to formulate its plan of action.
Of course, the reason we were forced to take this path was the fact that we were being opposed by Mayor Carey and the Chamber of Commerce and had no support locally.
We then decided to take the most direct approach. Our plan was to look at what legislation other southern states had put into place that would require a proper vetting permit process to protect the local community and residents associated with the construction and operation of an industrial wind project.
In fact what we were asking the County and State to do is what is very common nationwide.
There are only a few states in the U.S. that do not have any local or state regulatory review process in place for such wind projects. It is almost unheard of nowadays to find a state with “no permitting process” in place for wind projects. However, Tennessee is one of them.
When questioned about why they chose to locate their wind project in Crab Orchard, Apex said that the main reason was because there was no permit process at all.
The permitting process, as most of you know, is to protect citizens from the very thing we are seeing take place before our eyes. It is NOT to stop progress, but rather to properly provide stopgaps to insure the public interest is protected, property rights of owners whose property might be negatively affected and the environment. It is really very simple common sense when you think about it and why our local officials would put money before public interest is beyond the pale and one can only question their reasoning.
I would suggest that our Fairfield Glade board members that have interaction with Mayor Carey question him about rethinking his position because of the affects it will have upon our community, which supported him in the last election.
Maybe you either heard of property owners who express their displeasure with any type of permitting process that would provide guidelines on what uses would require a review process.
Even though everyone respects the rights of all property owners and much of this is address in the constitution of the US.
You can be assured that these same people who scream that they don’t want any rules or permitting would be up in arms if you or I owned the property next to them and controlled the stream that allowed water to flow undeterred into their property. If we then decided to stop the flow of water and either redirect or build a water plant to sell the water, this person who would now have no water on their property would have a slight change of tune. His property would now be worthless.
That is the point we have tried to make. It really is common sense and also being a good neighbor. To make sure that something as life-changing as this should go through a proper venting to make sure you protect your neighbor’s rights also.
We all know the damage these giant metal monsters cause when they are built next to another property owner. You not only make their property almost impossible to sell, you inflict all kinds of potential health and safety problems.
So far we have observed in Nashville groups like the Farm Bureau and the Chamber put big business and special interest first instead of the local citizens and the environment. They have been applying pressure on our bill since it was introduced and have made every attempt to get it squashed.
When “BIG BUSINESS” gets involved in private property rights as you can see they are always on the side of who has the most $Green$.
It is also a reflection of what we have seen locally.
I would ask our local Chamber members to rethink their position on this project. We have presented undisputable facts and have provided backup studies to the county officials, local media and provided a website with unlimited resources and unlimited access to articles in The Vista.
We have even provided an open forum meeting every other week locally for anyone to ask questions and receive information.
As you know, if this project is allowed to proceed as planned the long-term effects upon our community will be devastating.
The skyline of the Cumberland County will be changed forever into a Industrial skyline made up of metal monsters that will remind us of a never ending science fiction movie.
For many of us who moved here to get away from the industrial pollution, it will suddenly appear right in our back yard affecting the wildlife and ecosystem forever.
Not only will tourism, property values, school children in Crab Orchard be affected but in residents Fairfield could experience the worst property down turn that has ever been seen. Many people have already expressed their desire to sell if this project moves forward.
One of our regular members who bought a home here last year has warned us that any veteran who is suffering from (PTSD) will have to relocate until dynamiting stops during the construction of the wind project. That could last up to 2 years from what we have been told.
Who’s paying for that? Our veterans don’t deserve this.
As we have told you and will remind you again, this company along with land owners are not required to carry insurance to help out anyone who will suffer from medical problems or loss of property values so please remind your our State Senators and Representatives how important this bill is at www;Capitol.TN.Gov
I would also recommend that it is only being a responsible citizen to remind any business owner if they are a member of the Chamber of Commerce that they might want to reconsider their position of supporting this project, since they will receive no benefit and it may cause long-term problems to many small local business owners.
It would also be supportive on their part if FFG and Wyndham would suspend their membership in the Chamber until at such time the local Chamber rethinks it position.
Fairfield Glade is the one of the most important assets in Cumberland County and has gained Crossville the title of Golf capital of Tennessee.
We support the town and community of Cumberland County with more volunteers and support then all the other communities combined.
We deserve and should get the support of the Mayor and the commissioners from that perspective alone and need to let him know that.
Again please call and support our bill SB1336/HB1021 as this might be the only chance we have to save Cumberland County and FFG from this travesty that is unfolding before our very eyes.
You can also call this number and tell them you support this bill at 615-741-1100.
Together we can save our beautiful mountains and community.