Call to Arms to friends and residents of Lookout Mountan:
Now is the time to save the Mountain as we know it.
There is a corporate project in the offing that will change the complexion of Lookout Mountain for the next 25 years.
Project: Iberdrola Renewables, a Spanish company with a US subsidiary, is the worldwide leader in wind power. They are proposing a wind farm of about 120 wind turbines to be erected a small area in Chattooga and Walker Counties on Lookout Mountain. A sales representative is presenting contracts to landowners in this area now, before the word is out.
Where: The wind farm would run from north of the Otting Tract on Hwy 157 (east side), then crossing over at the Walker/Chattooga line east of 157 (Allgood Y farm), then turning north about a mile and then northwest, crossing High Road behind what was the Family Grocery, then crossing Flarity Road at the corn fields, and proceeding a mile before turning northeast toward Camp Adahi.
Why here: With a transmission line available in Cloudland, Iberdrola seems to think that wind generation on the ridges and high parts of this mountain is viable. The representative noted that they do not want to go into areas with expensive houses, country clubs, golf courses, etc. as they would have a fight. Conversely they must think that they will have little problem in this area with low density and lower per capita income.
What is a wind farm: a group of wind turbines that generate electricity. That electricity is transferred through transmission lines which are buried in 3 foot wide and 4 foot deep trenches from the turbines to roads and from there to the large transmission lines in Cloudland.
What is a wind turbine: Each turbine tower is 300 feet high (a typical cell tower is about half that), 16′ wide at the base, and with blades 150′ long. A working turbine therefore is 450′ high at the apex of the blade arc. It weighs 500,000 lbs. It emits about 50 decibels in a “whine” form. It has a red light atop and security lights in the area around the base. During peak operation, each of these generators would have a maximum capacity of 2 megawatts of electricity.
What is required to construct one: A road of 50′ wide is required for entry of equipment to each site. A three acre cleared space is required for the cranes to put up the turbine. There is a 1000′ circular area from the center of the base on which no residential structure can be built (about 72 acres). An easement for service is required for the length of the lease. Weighing 500,000 lbs., the parts are trucked in on county roads and across county bridges. Apparently Iberdrola plans to repair the damaged roads and bridges.
How much land is required: They are looking at 80 to 100 acre minimum tracts, but say exceptions might be made. Large tracts in this area could host 10-12 towers.
How long is the lease: 25 years. It will take about five years for environmental studies, wind studies, formation of county ordinances, etc. before construction begins, but the leases will be signed in the near future. Iberdrola is apparently intending to close the deals before the community as a whole is aware of the project and can organize to fight it.
What is the potential damage to the mountain and to those of us who live on the mountain?
- Visual pollution: Plan to look at 120 ea. 300′ tall towers (450′ in operation) topping the ridges where trees used to be. The views from homes, farms and roads in the affected area will be ruined for miles and miles and miles. At 300′, these towers will be visible for LONG distanaces.
- Noise pollution: A whine of 50 decibels for each tower will disturb not only you, but also all the wildlife in the area.
- Light pollution: 120 red lights blinking in the night sky; 120 security lights beneath. Again, visible for miles and miles and miles. Kiss the night sky good bye.
- Wear and tear on county roads as 500,000 lbs. times 120 rolls across the roads and bridges.
- Geological change: We all know what will happen to the bedrock as the four foot deep transmission lines are dug for each of 120 turbines. Blasting is inevitable. 500,000 lbs. per unit will no doubt fracture much of the fragile rock beneath, changing water tables and flow.
- Property value decline: Would you buy a piece of land with a 450′ foot turbine on top? Would you buy a house or piece of land looking at turbines? Would you buy a piece of property next to or near a wind farm? So what your neighbor does with this contract affects each of you.
- Decrease in tourism: We are experiencing great growth in tourism because we have a beautiful mountain with beautiful views. In a bad economy, those tourists are buying gas, eating meals, staying in cabins with views of the mountain, and sending children to the many Lookout Mountain camps. That influx of revenue will come to a screeching halt when the turbines go up.
- Decrease in commercial business value and ecology: the camps, farming and other industries may be harshly impacted by potential water table damage. This area is the watershed for all three branches of the Little River, one of the most pristine rivers in the country, which in turn flows into the Coosa River Basin. The water table is of paramount importance to the Little River Canyon National Preserve, a Part of the national Park Service.
We who live on or love Lookout Mountain need to prove to Iberdrola that we will fight this incursion tooth and nail. We need every resource to go against a multi billion dollar corporation that has set its eye on an area they think is easy pickins. Win now, or lose Lookout Mountain as we know it forever. Win now or lose the value of the land that you have loved and worked for. Win now, or live with noise, light, visual, and geological pollution.
The first opposition meeting:
1-2 pm on Saturday, Sept. 25.
Pam Vias’s lodge; 30833 Hwy. 157, Lookout Mtn. Parkway; 3.3 miles north of the blinking light in Cloudland.
Pam’s Cellphone: 770-722-8330
Cabin Phone: 706-862-2411
Steven’s Cellphone: 770-630-1612
Exit 306 – Adairsville
Left onto 140 toward Summerville
140 dead ends into 27
Right on 27 toward Summerville
As you enter Summerville, cross the railroad tracks
Take 1st Left, onto Rt.48 toward Menlo
Stay on 48 through Menlo (approx. 15 minutes) … at the top of the mountain in Cloudland there is a flashing light at the intersection of 48/157)
Turn Right at flashing light onto Highway 157/Lookout Mountain Parkway
Continue 3.3 miles. Driveway is a dirt road on the right.
Signpost on road reads 30835 & 30833 with White Private Drive signs.
Follow dirt road to the end and down over the hill to the ‘Cabin in the Clouds’.
Please forward this to individuals and groups that would have interest in the preservation of Lookout Mountain. We need help from all sources.
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