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Group opposing Cherokee County wind farms gathering support

LEESBURG, Alabama – Shannon Mackey says if Cherokee County gets wind farms, as is anticipated, he will see them from his property.

“They’re just huge monstrosities,” Mackey said. “There’s a lot of good reasons to oppose them.”

Mackey is a member of Save Cherokee Rock Village, what he says is a grass-roots movement of volunteers who are opposed to a windmill farm slated for construction in Cherokee County by Pioneer Green Energy, a Texas-based firm.

Pioneer Green is also planning a larger windmill farm in Etowah County.

Mackey, whose father is Leesburg Mayor Edward Mackey, said he has spoken out against the farm since it was first proposed in a public setting in October. Since then, he and others have created a Facebook page for their group and have distributed fliers voicing their concerns. The Facebook page had more than 770 likes as of Friday morning.

The group is hoping for a turnout of the opposition at the next Cherokee County Commission meeting on Monday at 5 p.m. The problem for the group, Mackey said, is that many residents believe the windmill farm is a “done deal” and can’t be stopped.

Mackey said he doesn’t believe the issue is ideological as much as about quality of life. He sees wind power as an industry that survives on government subsidies, with companies building the farms in order to sell them off to utilities once construction is completed.

“Once they go up, you’re stuck with them for the rest of your life,” he said. “It will cause a degradation of the property values, and there’s health concerns associated with the noise. There’s wildlife concerns. I don’t see how it’s going to benefit the people of Cherokee County.”

Attempts to contact Pioneer Green for comment were unsuccessful. The company plans an “open house” over the next month in Etowah County to answer residents’ questions, but company representatives have not yet announced a date.