Starting in March of 2016, The Vista – “Fairfield Glade’s Community Newspaper” – informed its readers about the Apex Wind Farm project and the issues it presented to us and all of Cumberland County through nearly 50 articles and commentaries – not including countless Letters to the Editor allowing residents to speak their mind about the project.
Here is a look back, chronologically, at some of the highlights:
Cumberland County leaders met with Apex Energy to hear about a proposed Wind Turbine project.
March 15 – The Vista’s first article on a proposed Wind Turbine project, to be developed by Apex Energy, to come to Crab Orchard’s Millstone Mountain. The 23 turbines, each over 600-feet tall, would be in close range to Fairfield Glade. Residents were urged to research such Wind Farms.
March 22 – Apex project developer Harry Snyder responds to the previous article, expounding the positives the Farm would bring to the Glade and Cumberland County.
April 26 – A small meeting at the Glade Community Center is held as Apex provides more information for the project to about 25 in attendance. Apex said with the review process almost completed, construction would start in late 2016 and would be finished by the end of 2017.
May 3 – The Cumberland Mountain Preservation Coalition, formed by concerned Glade residents, hosts a meeting before a over-flow crowd at the Muilt-Purpose building in the Glade. (CMPC) spoke to a packed house in Fairfield Glades Multi-Purpose building. Posters were displayed showing the planned location of the Industrial Wind Farm on the Mountain ridge that separates Crab Orchard and Fairfield Glade residents.
May 10 – The Fairfield Glade Community Club Board of Directors and General Manager Bob Weber announce they are actively involved in learning more about the proposed wind farm, noting that Board Members were first made aware of the project nearly three months ago when Crossville Mayor Carey and the Chamber of Commerce made the announcement to the public.
Meanwhile, Snyder of Apex Energy wrote another article claiming the “economic output for the county is anticipated to total $1.4 million in addition to seven permanent jobs” and property tax revenue. He said the sites of the 23 turbines were not yet fully determined and defended the project against questions of property value devaluation, infrasound, etc.
May 17 – Snyder responded to direct questions posed by The Vista.
Also, in a separate story presented by the Community Club, the Board of Directors “… decided not to take a stand for or against the project until more information could be learned about its impact on Fairfield Glade and until the opinions of property owners within Fairfield Glade could be assessed. The Board decided not to provide information directly to the residents until information provided in multiple newspaper articles and published letters by supporters and opponents of the project could be evaluated and verified.”
May 24 – The Vista, after reviewing Snyder’s answers, researching the claims made by Apex along with possible negative impacts, took a firm stand that – while green energy can be beneficial in certain areas and circumstances -— the Crab Orchard project would not be desirable for Crab Orchard, Fairfield Glade and Cumberland County.
Additionally, Senator Lamar Alexander spoke out against the project, telling Cumberland County politicians and residents to “Say No” to the plans.
May 31 – With announced public meetings by Apex Energy looming, Glade resident George Chiarmonte noted Apex has more than “50 projects in the pipeline” and multiple lawsuits pending against the company. He claimed Apex uses huge government subsidies to build and then selling the wind farms and any energy produced to the highest bidder. Despite all that, he notes that the project should be rejected because it “is not capable of producing enough energy to offset the expense to build and maintain itself.”
June 7 – The Vista reported on an important and telling evening that took place at the Community Center a few days earlier. Apex Energy held the meeting and no doubt were stunned when they were greeted by 30 to 40 residents with picket signs and buttons near Stonehenge Drive.
Inside, it did not go any better for the Apex reps and they were challenged again and again by concerned Glade residents. “You are trying to pull the wool over our eyes,” one Glade resident sniped at a Apex rep.
Apex had put up “before and after” photo depictions of how the turbines would appear from various locations in and close to Fairfield Glade. The Apex pictures, however, did not give the exact perspective from our neighborhoods, and not one photo was taken from any of the golf courses.
It was interesting that hundreds of residents left the Apex staging area to attend a Coalition meeting in a different area as the Coalition presented its case against the project.
This marked a huge turning point as the fight against the turbines was now mobilized and gaining speed.
June 14 – The Club asks residents to take part in a Survey designed to provide them with input from the Community Club members so the Board can make “an informed decision with respect to supporting or opposing the Crab Orchard Wind Project.”
Meanwhile, two City Councilmen and the Mayor Pro-Tem join the list that includes Senator Alexander and congresswoman Diane Black as opposers to the project.
June 21- State Senator Paul Bailey (R-Sparta) and Representative Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) announced their opposition to the proposed wind turbine project in Cumberland County
June 28 – The results of the survey presented by the Fairfield Glade Community Club were released and 80% of residents were found to be opposed to the project.
The top two reasons were beauty of the mountains (33%) and view/property values (20%). However, the reason for the Board’s unanimous resolution to oppose included only property values.
Additonally, Glade residents packed a meeting of the County Commissioners but Commissioner Sandra Dutcher’s request to the other commissioners to hear a resolution she was sponsoring in opposing to the Wind Farm was heard … but not voted upon.
July 12 – Expert John Kopmeier weighs in on wind farms. In another story, Roane County News Editor Hugh Willett provides his experience with wind farms.
July 26 – Crab Orchard, Homestead and other surrounding communities jump on board in opposition.
August 16 – Wind and electric costs are examined.
August 30 – Wind and insurance woes and danger to wildlife – especially birds and bats – are examined.
October 11 – A fundraisers results in $19,000 raised for the Cumberland Mountain Preservation Coalition.
October 18 – County Commissioners and other leaders are urged to “step up” in opposition to the project.
October 25 – County residents stage an all-day protest before Commissioners’ meeting.
November 29 – County Commissioners voted to pass a resolution to oppose the construction of the Crab Orchard Wind Field.
Since Cumberland County does not have a permit process in place to address the health, safety end environmental concerns that this project poses on its citizens, part of the resolution recommends that the Tennessee Senate pass a bill that addresses these concerns.
March 14 – Senator Bailey and Rep. Sexton speak to a large group of CMPC members and Glade residents. Bailey said he would address the crowd and answer any questions that residents had in regards to the Bill HB 1021/SB1336 – a bill presented to Tennessee government in Nashville.
March 28 – The CMPC sponsors the bill in Nashville.
April 4 – Despite Apex’s best efforts, the Bill moves forward for a vote in the House.
April 25 – The bill unanimously passed the House, 85-3.
May 9 – BIll passes the Senate, 30-0, and Governor Haslem signs it.
June 13 – Apex Energy suspends its plans for a Wind Farm in Crab Orchard “indefinitely”.
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