Greenfield rally to seek moratorium on large-scale solar projects

  • Solar panels FILE PHOTO/BEN CONANT

Staff Writer
Published: 7/9/2021 4:48:12 PM

GREENFIELD — Local community members are joining others statewide on Saturday, July 31, in a call for a moratorium on large-scale solar, allowing legislators time to re-evaluate their policies.

“When the state first started subsidizing solar energy… their clear intention — on the part of our state officials — was to have solar in places like rooftops, parking lots, brownfields, landfills, and the state was really explicit about this,” said local organizer Janet Sinclair, who started the project Save Massachusetts Forests. “But as the state was pushing for more renewable energy ... solar energy is one of those, and so the money involved in subsidies is driving these projects to be in places that we think are inappropriate.”

That includes farmland and cutting forests for solar, she explained.

Sinclair said there will be two events happening simultaneously July 31 — one in Energy Park, and a second at the Onset Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Wareham. With solar projects cropping up around the state, Sinclair said it made sense to organize a statewide effort.

“What we decided to do was have our Western Mass. event based in Greenfield because we’re looking at some solar projects that are right nearby,” she said.

In particular, she cited the controversial solar project on Pine Meadow Road in Northfield, which received a special permit from the Planning Board, as well as another project planned on up to 190 acres of forested land in Shutesbury owned by W.D. Cowls Inc.

“Right now, what we feel like is we want to call attention to this issue statewide rather than just these towns having to send these projects off by themselves, often with few resources to be able to do that, or in some cases none,” Sinclair said.

The event, organized by Save Massachusetts Forests, the Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribe and Save the Pine Barrens, is scheduled to take place from 1 to 4 p.m. at Energy Park on July 31. Sinclair said there will be music and speakers.

Other supporters of the event include Climate Action Now, Concerned Citizens of Franklin County and Preserve Shutesbury.

“We’re very excited,” Sinclair said.

Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne




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