The Cumberland County Commission approved a resolution Monday night to encourage the state of Tennessee government to pass legislation in regard to the impact of industrial wind turbines.
The approval was met with a room full of applause and cheers from wind turbine protestors.
The county commission has been addressed for the past several months by members of the public who do not support a pending wind turbine project near Crab Orchard, TN. Monday night was no exception and the large courtroom was packed with residents who are concerned about Apex Energy’s Crab Orchard Wind Farm project on Millstone Mountain.
The resolution was sponsored by Rebecca Stone, 3rd District commissioner.
Stone wanted to make it clear that she supported industry and new jobs in Cumberland County but didn’t think it should come at a potential cost of harming tourism or the environment in the area.
Cumberland County Attorney Randal Boston and Cumberland County Mayor Kenneth Carey Jr. have been working on a resolution for the past two months to present to Tennessee state legislators.
Stone said, “I want to credit and thank Mayor Carey and county lawyer Boston for working on this resolution. I would also like to publicly recognize the importance of industry that brings jobs to Cumberland County and thank the Chamber, Mayor Carey and City Mayor (James) Mayberry for their efforts to support and recruit industry. I sponsored and will be voting for this resolution because the proposed wind farm may well kill more jobs than it creates. If future retirement migration to Fairfield and the county is diminished by the addition of a wind farm along the ridge, existing and future businesses will be diminished as well. It is important that our citizens have the chance to have their concerns heard and addressed on the state level, by experts who are empowered to act on their concerns. The state is also able to act, if they deem it worthy, of preserving this historic and pristine mountain ridge. Perhaps some may take this beauty for granted, but many who moved here did so precisely for that beauty. The historic impact to our area, an area important to the Cherokee population that inhabited the region, to early settlers, and famous travelers, also needs to be considered by the state Historic Preservation Office.”
According to the resolution, “Cumberland County recognizes that it has no authority or regulation that can control these industrial developments or projects involving private landowners and it remains that certain citizens of Cumberland County and other residents of this beautiful plateau are strongly interested in preserving the ridge lines of Cumberland County in their natural state … Some residents do not want industrial turbines on its forested ridge lines or in areas too close to homes … The Cumberland County Commission would move and encourage that the state of Tennessee Government in its 110th General Assembly pass legislation regarding the impact of such developments on local wildlife and other ecological factors that would negatively impact the area that could bring damage that would be beyond repair … The state should consider legislation that would preserve scenic lands from that are in view of Tennessee Highways and interstates and prevent such unsightly structures such as windmills and old dilapidated structures such as water towers…”
The resolution also encourages the state legislature to consider passing legislation that would require a state application process as well as an ecological, environmental and health risks study prior to the application being approved.
The resolution requests that state Sen. Paul Bailey and state Rep. Cameron Sexton present the legislation in its proper form to the 110th General Assembly.
The resolution was approved in an 11-6 vote after Stone made a motion for its approval. Stone’s motion was supported by Tim Claflin, 8th District commissioner.
Voting in favor of the resolution were commissioners Sue York, 1st District; Nancy Hyder, 2nd District; Stone, 3rd District; David Gibson and Allen Foster, 4th District; Terry Carter, 6th District; Elbert Farely, 7th District; Claflin and Sonya Rimmer, 8th Dsitrict; and Woody Geisler and John Patterson, 9th District.
Voting against the resolution were commissioners Tracey Scarbrough, 1st District; Tom Isham, 2nd District; Dave Hassler, 3rd District; Terry Lowe, 5th District; Wendell Wilson, 6th District; and Roy Turner, 7th District.
Jack Davis, 5th District commissioner, did not attend the meeting.
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