For the past year, volunteers with an anti-wind farm organization have been urging city officials not to meet secretly with a wind energy company looking to build turbines in the area. But Apex Wind Energy, the company proposing the wind farm near Piedmont, says it has engaged in numerous secret meetings with representatives from that group over the past year.
Members of the Central Oklahoma Property Rights Association have been lobbying to Piedmont and state officials over the past several months in an attempt to stop a wind farm project planned near the western border of Piedmont. When former councilman Vernon Woods said that he was meeting with officials from Apex, COPRA initiated a recall petition claiming Woods was out of line. Woods was recalled earlier this month.
Despite COPRA’s criticism of Woods for holding private meetings with Apex, the wind energy company says it was engaged in its own private meetings with leaders from COPRA.
“Apex began confidential conversations with the representative for COPRA in January 2013,” Dahvi Wilson, a spokesperson for Apex, said in an email to the Piedmont Citizen on Tuesday. “During these conversations, we entered into good faith discussions with the representative for COPRA and several other persons or entities related to our Kingfisher Project.”
Wilson’s email was the first time that meetings between COPRA and Apex had been confirmed. The Piedmont Citizen had asked COPRA leader Pam Suttles about possible meetings last month, but was told there had not been any.
“I am not aware of any Apex meetings,” Suttles said in an email on July 25. “I have not had any meetings with Apex.”
Following the an earlier version of this story on Wednesday, Suttles called the Piedmont Citizen and restated her original comment that she has never met with Apex, nor has anyone from her group.
“I have never, ever, ever met with anyone from Apex,” Suttles said.
When asked if anyone from COPRA had met with Apex to represent the group in any type of meeting or negotiations, Suttles said “not to my knowledge.”
Suttles did say she would be open to meeting with Apex if they ever wanted but that she has never heard from the wind energy group. Apex said it has reached out to COPRA and remains willing to meet again with COPRA officials.
“These conversations [with COPRA] continued regularly, sometimes multiple times a week, for several months,” Wilson said. “Apex has never advised COPRA’s representative or any other persons or entities who were involved in the conversations that it was unwilling to continue discussions. Apex has in fact continued attempts to communicate with the representative for COPRA. Any statements implying that Apex has declined opportunities to have meaningful and regular discussions and negotiations with COPRA regarding the Kingfisher Project are erroneous.”
This story was updated on Aug. 28, at 1:50 p.m.
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