My parents taught me not to brag. Even when it came to athletic endeavors, Dad always said, “Let your game do the talking.”
Well, what’s the fun in that?
But this is one time – as word came last week that Apex Energy will halt its plans for the Crab Orchard Wind Farm “indefinitely” – I would like to do a bit of bragging.
First, I think the Fairfield Glade community as a whole deserves to be bragged upon. Not many small communities have shown as much spunk as this one when it comes to protecting what they love about where they live.
That was certainly the case as the mass majority (80%) of Glade residents responded resoundingly to a survey last June, making their voice heard that they were opposed to the 23-plus Turbines that were being planned for Millstone Mountain.
Out of the masses, a group formed that, in my opinion, certainly deserves to be heaped with praise. That is the Cumberland Mountain Preservation Coalition. These concerned residents of the Glade offered up their time, money and efforts in a year and a half-long fight against the project.
Suffice it to say, without their efforts, Apex would be in mid-construction of the Farm right now.
Apex released a statement citing “current market conditions” and the “project’s fundamental qualities” as its reason not to make this “significant investment at this time.”
Whatever. Doesn’t matter what their public statement is. Make no mistake – Apex never anticipated the fight they would get.
And now I am going to break my parents’ counsel and say this: The Vista was first to speak out against the Turbines. Other media outlets barely made a whimper, if not, in fact, venturing support for the project.
But not The Vista. And why? Because I love Fairfield Glade and the project did not make sense for our area and would have caused irreputable harm.
Meanwhile, the Board and GM Bob Weber continue to make improvements to our community and amenities – and they seemingly have plans for more glorious things. But they dragged their feet on this matter. They should have been quicker to get out in front of it and speak out against it.
They learned about it early in 2016 at minimum and it was in May of that year they said they were involved in “learning more” about the project. They said they were “concerned about the impact of overreacting … and making a decision on facts and not emotion or conjecture.”
Their statement, which ran in the May 17, 2016 Vista, noted that there “are risks associated with doing nothing and there are risks in overreacting.”
How about erring on the side of caution in regards to the project and THEN doing research to determine if, perhaps, it would be have ANY value to this community?
It was only after 80% of residents surveyed were opposed that, in late June, the Board managed to form a unanimous resolution to oppose the project – but even then, only “due to the risk of property values”.
Even then, Weber and the Board did not exactly take an active role against the project and in the support of CMPC. Did they ever take a challenge and denounce the project to Cumberland County elected officials who supported the project?
Perhaps they were more concerned with more important things.
All the new amenities in the world – and newly-paved streets where sorely needed (..oh wait) – would not amount to a hill of beans if the 600-plus foot tall turbines had gone up on our mountains.
That’s my opinion of course. But what do I know?
Well, maybe I don’t have all the “facts” – but I did hours of research and had many discussions with residents and experts, etc. I have been wrong many times – but I don’t believe I was wrong on this.
I took a chance by sticking my neck out and standing against the project. But I don’t regret it.
Perhaps if the Turbines had gone up – or if Apex tries to build them in the future – it would not be as bad as I thought.
But who wanted to see that happen just so we could know?
Better this way. Better that we will never know and never experience the blight such a project could have – and I say, WOULD have had – on our community.
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