Following overwhelming community opposition to the industrial solar projects proposed on productive farmland, it seems that the industrial solar industry bent on invading our county is now using questionable methods to try and force their huge industrial projects upon us. It is attempting to seduce us by offering money to the county and select local groups in our community.
In the last three years, industrial solar companies have first tried to push us around with their fancy attorneys during the permitting process and tried to re-write our solar regulations in their favor. Now, at this late stage, they are apparently trying to buy local support. Whatever money is thrown our way, it will be peanuts compared to the millions of dollars these enormous projects will generate for the solar companies because of their massive exemptions on local Machine & Tool taxes.
Why should they be trusted? The most recent information concerning the approved Dogwood project near Alma being presented on Wednesday Sept. 22, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. at the Mimslyn as part of the state Permit By Rule process includes the newest site plan. It shows a total coverage area of 146 acres instead of the 76 acres of panels repeatedly presented three years ago as part of our local Special Use Permit process. Why such a large deviation from the original sales pitches?
Is the influx of money — undoubtedly with strings attached — paving the way for the widely opposed huge Cape project along [Route] 340 which was denied in 2019? It was re-submitted in December 2020 and promptly shelved due to a moratorium on industrial solar projects.
This moratorium needs to be extended and expert advice on matters related to the brand new state solar regulations from an experienced and trusted source, independent from the industrial solar lobby, needs to be considered before proceeding with any action.
It would also be wise to wait and see how the Dogwood project actually turns out and see how the county handles oversight of its construction and operation before allowing another, significantly larger and more controversial project to be considered.
R.S. Staples ~ Luray
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