Connecticut’s Farm Community vs. Energy CompaniesJanuary 13, 2017
Connecticut’s farmland has been in decades of decline despite talk of farm preservation.
[Gov. Dan] Malloy said he is proud to stand by local farmers, as farming is vital to the state’s culture and history.
A new report from the Council on Environmental Quality recently highlighted the latest threat to Connecticut’s farming community, “energy sprawl” from solar development.
Some conclusions found in the report include:
In an average year, the state preserves about 1,700 acres of farmland and forest land. In 2016, the area of farmland and forest selected by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and/or approved by the Connecticut Siting Council for development of solar facilities nearly equaled that amount.
While the state of Connecticut advocates for more renewable energy projects, others are ringing the alarm bells over solar development on farmland:
“In my view, it’s the greatest threat to agriculture and the land available for farming today,” state Agricultural Commissioner Steven Reviczky said…
On the federal level environmentalists have voiced little concern over farmland being depleted by solar panels. Some “clean power advocates” even call farmland a “natural home” for solar projects:
Clean-power advocates say the millions of acres of federal lands, with their wide expanses and low population, are a natural home for wind and solar projects. After nearly eight years of regulations curtailing pollution from fossil fuels, the new rule will be the administration’s first major stab at regulating renewable-energy development on public lands.
Yet solar panels can be anything but “natural.” Similar to electric vehicles, solar panels come with an environmental cost from the rare earth used, sourced from places like China.
While renewable projects like, wind turbines and solar panels, have been a favorite for environmentalists, results from such ventures are often not as cost-effective or environmentally-friendly as advocates may hope.
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