To the Editor;
Rochester must reject more ground-mounted solar projects. Like Wareham, Carver, and other small towns, Rochester is targeted as a sacrifice zone for Governor Baker’s misguided solar program. It is insanity to kill forests, destroy Native American cultural sites, fill wetlands, pollute water, kill endangered eastern box turtles and say we are saving the planet from the climate crisis. We’re not. We are creating an unlivable planet and causing the extinction of biodiversity and Indigenous culture.
The three Rochester projects on Featherbed Lane, Snipatuit, and Braley Hill are all on Priority Habitat for Rare Species such as the eastern box turtle. MassWildlife falsely claims a “take permit” can prevent the extinction. The projects are in an important Native American cultural area.
The “Renewable Energy Development Partners” (REDP) project on the Decas Cranberry bogs is a farce. Iain Ward, cranberry industry spokesman, calls dual use on cranberry bogs a test whose results won’t be known “for five to six years.” The dual use program is supposed to help local cranberry growers, but Decas is owned by a multinational corporation. REDP and its executives, Tom Melehan and Hank Ouimet, have left a trail of destruction across our region since 2012 with at least four solar projects that have destroyed forests and waterways. On September 14, 2021 at 7:00 pm at the vocational school, 476 North Avenue, the Rochester Planning Board is holding a public hearing on the REDP-Decas project. Come!
Eighty-six percent of U.S. energy can be generated by rooftop solar. Massachusetts can put solar panels on the big box stores, malls, and development projects that have gobbled thousands of acres of land in Southeastern Massachusetts in the last 20 years. We don’t need to destroy what’s left for a fake climate solution like large ground-mounted solar.
Across Massachusetts, local communities are fighting back. There is a moratorium petition in Rochester. On Monday, September 13, at 6:30 pm there’s a free informational event at the Council of Aging. Experts and community members will speak. Come! Find out more at www.savethepinebarrens.org.