Politicians along with the Chamber of Commerce leaders are constantly dreaming about finding ways to bring new business into Cumberland County. Many of them have turned out well and we give them credit where credit is due.
But this most recent dream of the Crab Orchard Wind project is slowly turning into a nightmare for many Cumberland County residents – and the worst is yet to come.
Tourism in Cumberland County increased this year to $112.29 million. You can’t find one business in Crossville that isn’t affected, in a positive way, by tourism.
For the 10th consecutive year, tourism topped $1.6 billion in state and local sales tax revenue. Tourism-generated jobs for Tennesseans reached 157,000, an increase of 2.9 percent. Tourist who visited Tennessee spent over $18 billion!
Tennessee top attractions are the many parks and especially Smoky Rocky Mountain National Park, which gets more visitors then Disney world. The Cumberland Plateau, as you know, is an extension of that beautiful Mountain range that we better protect if we want to keep the tourists coming to our area. Many of you came to Tennessee as a tourist and ended up buying property here.
All that being said, tourism in Cumberland County is like the goose that lays the golden egg. We better do everything we can to protect it. If we don’t protect our tourism industry, it will be like that big sucking sound that Ross Perot described would happened when our smart politicians signed NAFTA, in the election of ‘92. Now its difficult to find or buy anything that is made in the U.S.A.
Now these same politicians are force feeding us Wind Energy and telling us it will solve the world’s energy problems. As you have seen from the information that we have provided to you over the past several months, Wind Energy is another government program that enriches the few at the cost of taxpayer.
Can’t you just hear them (the politicians) a few years from now, telling us that we need to start up all the coal and nuclear plants they are forcing to close because “they” (the smart politicians) have figured out that wind energy doesn’t work.
Guess who is paying for all the smart decisions of these same politicians, who are still running the country ? WE ARE.
As a matter of fact the one who signed NAFTA, has his wife is running for President.
Her Motto, shut down all the coal plants and lay all the workers off!
Oh but she is going to bring jobs back. Don’t hold your breath.
My friends as you know, politicians never pay for bad decisions, We do. Then we have to live with the consequences. Many of the people who live in this area had successful careers working for manufacturing companies. Many of them locally owned. Where are they now, gone? You don’t have to go to Detroit to see the fall out, just take a drive through Harriman and Rockwood. Its like your in the “Twilight Zone”.
That is why we better be watchful of what our local Politicians are planning with this Crab Orchard wind project. There are a few who believe that the only people who will be affected by the industrial turbines are Fairfield Glade residents and if they don’t like it “they should go back to where they came from.”
What will they say to their neighbors when tourism falls and their neighbor gets laid off? Or their friend who owns a small business has to close because there are not enough tourists? And what will they say when a bank takes their neighbors house because they lost their job and couldn’t make the payments anymore?
Maybe those people should revisit the facts again and take a longer and closer look so that we don’t end up hearing that sucking sound when tourism leaves Cumberland County as a result of short term greed.
An eye-opening study at the University of North Carolina was recently coompleted. CEnREP Director, Laura Taylor, and coauthors Sanja Lutzeyer and Dan Phaneuf, wanted to understand how a utility-scale offshore wind farm could impact coastal tourism. In particular, the researchers were interested in how families who rent vacation properties along North Carolina beaches would react to a utility-scale wind farm placed at the beach by their rental.
To find out, Taylor and coauthors surveyed people who had just rented a vacation property along the Carolina coast. As part of the survey, respondents were asked whether or not they would re-rent their vacation property if the view over the ocean included wind turbines. Respondents were shown digitally altered photos that included either 64, 100 or 144 turbines placed 5, 8, 12, or 18 miles out to sea.
The results were surprising.
Eighty percent of respondents would either not come back to the same vacation spot if turbines were built offshore, or said they would require such large price discounts to re-rent at the same location as to be unrealistic.
“We were somewhat surprised about the strong dislike for viewing turbines from their vacation rental properties, especially given the large majority of respondents said they supported wind energy development,” said Taylor. Specifically, 65% of respondents thought offshore wind energy should be encouraged in NC waters after completing the survey, while only 14% thought it should be discouraged. The remaining 21% were unsure or had no opinion.
Another study done in Scotland a few years ago listed the effects on tourism from Wind Farms.
The Scottish countryside was very beautiful but has been inundated by Wind Turbines like the ones planned for Cumberland County.
David Gibson, MCS chief officer, said: “The survey results are a stark warning to the Scottish Government – badly-sited wind farms are a serious threat to Scotland’s reputation as a tourism destination. The more that are built on our mountains, the more visitors are put off.”
Of the 970 respondents in the survey, 77% lived in Scotland. Sixty-eight per cent said they thought wind turbines have made places in Scotland less appealing for walking and climbing, while a quarter disagreed.
A similar proportion, 64%, said there were places they were less likely to visit or revisit thanks to the presence of turbines, with 32% disagreeing with that statement.
Nearly three-quarters of respondents (73%) said they would choose accommodation without a wind farm view compared to five per cent who said they wanted to see a turbine and 22 % who were “not bothered either way”.
It is very obvious that areas like ours that rely heavily on the tourist industry income to support schools, police, fireman and other important programs should not take any chances. We can’t discount these studies and say, it won’t happen to us !