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Let’s be fair
I do not believe “fierce opposition” to commercial solar as stated in “Solar storm” by Bruce Ferguson in the January 12 issue is a fair label for what I would call committed participation in community planning.
My home on Baer Road shares a property line with a proposed two-megawatt solar array. My neighbors and I attended the Delaware Town Board meetings where the changes to the zoning law allowing commercial solar were decided. We formed a citizens committee and researched many documents on the subject including the New York State Model Solar Energy Law, and Balancing Solar Energy Use with Potential Competing Interests. We shared our findings and recommendations with the town under the auspices of the energy committee. We spoke and listened at town board meetings and attended solar workshops sponsored by the board. Each Baer Road neighbor who spoke during the public comment affirmed that we are in favor of community solar. Our concern was to plan carefully the precedent-setting location of this first array as well as the dozens of future arrays in Sullivan County. We should protect the natural beauty that is a cornerstone of our quality of life and future economic abundance.
We did not agree with constructing a 10-acre array adjacent to our 11 homes and bordering the Route 97 scenic byway when alternate sites were available. Our group met with the CEO of Delaware River Solar. He spoke to us about his company’s plan and listened to our opinions. The result was a compromise in which, to its credit, Delaware River Solar revised its plan and relocated the proposed array to respect our community’s deeply held concerns. The result is a two-megawatt solar array proposal that still shares a property line with my home but does not impose itself in a way that degrades the beauty and value of our community. So let’s be fair, progress is possible when we work with facts, work together, and are willing to compromise.
Letter to NYSEG from Fremont supervisor
The Town of Fremont would like to address a serious situation that exists. In the past, routine power outages were a few hours to maximum 12 hours. Today, they have become significant outages of two or three days due to the use of outside contractors that come from hundreds of miles away. It is our understanding that this district had in excess of 30 linemen on staff and now only has nine.
While we are sympathetic to the operation of such a large company, this is 2016, not 1916, and electricity is a necessity. An extended outage causes people to lose goods in their refrigerators and freezers, [and] is hazardous to the health of citizens on life-saving machines such as dialysis, oxygen, etc.
Here in the Town of Fremont and the County of Sullivan, we rely on businesses and second-home owners, many of which run home businesses, and it is counterproductive when they lose power for two or three days when in the past the routine outage was four to 12 hours. So this poses an economic problem to our area.
And lastly, there is a danger to our citizens because when cell towers lose their power, fireman and ambulance personnel are unable to receive messages about emergency calls.
We hope you will give this serious consideration.
George E. Conklin, Supervisor
Town of Fremont, NY