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Dark dangers tied to solar projects

Commentary

The Ripley solar project is expected to create up to 220 jobs at the peak of construction and which will be mostly out of state and when completed would have two to four full-time positions and would cover around 2,000 acres. It is a 270-megawatt project.

Show me another industry that encompasses that much land 2,000 acres and employs four to five people? Most people would laugh at that if another factory came in and desecrated the country side and offered four to five full time jobs. This is the same deal as the wind turbines tax money supporting them while the people in the area live with the outcome. I have just a few questions and some answers I researched.

1. Do we need this electric? If so where is the demand in our area?

2. They state early estimates, should a PILOT be approved, that the development could generate $16 million in property tax revenue, 40% of Ripley’s annual property tax levy and $4.7 million to the Ripley and Sherman school districts. Put that in writing in a signed contract to be sure that the entire area benefits from this program, not just a handful.

3. Are the panels harmful? According to current California regulations, discarded photovoltaic solar panels are classified as hazardous waste due to the potential levels of heavy metals included in certain electrical components.

4. Solar energy is not environmentally friendly. Granted, solar panels don’t produce radioactive waste, but they do contain hundreds of toxic chemicals and elements that can leech into the earth, poisoning aquifers and water basins. The environmental impacts associated with solar power can include land use and habitat loss, water use, and the use of hazardous materials in manufacturing, though the types of impacts vary greatly depending on the scale of the system and the technology used-photovoltaic (PV) solar cells or concentrating solar thermal plants .

5. And last 2,000 acres is a huge chunk of real estate to give up for four to five full-time jobs, loss of enjoyment of the land, property values being affected, wildlife again pushed out of their habitat and the consumer getting stuck with the cost since they are largely subsidized.

In closing I know I am not from Ripley and people will say mind your own business. But it is our business and concern when it comes to the area. No one owns the earth, the air, and wildlife that belongs to God but we all have a responsibility to protect it. Between the wind turbines and now solar projects, this area is losing thousands of acres of land. One acre of trees removes up to 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide each year.

Trees renew our air supply by absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen for you to breath. They also improve the condition of the environment by removing pollutants from the air. One last tidbit of information is not just trees but grasslands. A 650-square-foot area of grass produces enough oxygen to sustain an average human adult’s needs.

Think wisely before making any decisions you and your children will have to live with for the next 20 years.

James R. Lisa is a Silver Creek resident.

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