First of all, I am hugely in favor of solar power. There is a huge inventory of wasted roof space across our country that sits above an impervious surface called the foundation of a building. With more promotion just like the recent solarize effort in Newburyport, huge outflows of electricity will be added to the grid and real benefit to our environment will be achieved as coal and oil become no longer the primary source of energy.
But the recent move to destroy our local environment to ‘save’ our world borders on total irresponsibility. It reminds me of a church that expends huge amounts of money to send missionaries around the world to ‘save’ people but won’t lift a finger to share the good news or help their next door neighbor! We have seen an entire forest demolished for a solar farm in Salisbury. Now for the financial benefit of a single farm; they wish to endanger the Little River, the Common Pasture and that great fish-breeding factory and migratory-bird sanctuary of the Great Marsh.
ALL BRUSHED ASIDE BY THE SOOTHING WORDS OF ‘ENCAPSULATE’.
Consultants are paid to promote a certain point of view. I have seen them claim power outputs three times more than the actual performance of wind turbines; I have seen them claim it again for those industrialists who chose solar panels only to see those business owners deeply disappointed from the actual results. Consultants will say anything and do anything to achieve their objective.
In this case they know they are putting industrial grade solar panels dangerously close to the Little River. So they have chosen to use the word that has been borrowed from the lead paint debacle in the housing industry. It is very expensive and it is heavily regulated to remove the lead paint off of houses that are 50 years or older. To help mitigate that, the government has allowed a process of encapsulation. Okay, let’s simplify – if you apply environmentally-safe paint over the lead, the government will be satisfied…
According to lead paint regulations, due to degradation, the owner must after a period of years replace the lead that lies below. To ensure this, an encapsulated certification is only temporary and will expire after a few years.
Let’s get back to the solar farm being proposed on the Common Pasture! Sure, all the dangerous elements will be encapsulated and the Little River for the time being will be safe. But when has the Common Pasture not been tormented with huge nor’easters, hurricanes, savage winter storms and of course, most unique to that area: flooding?
The encapsulation will only be good for a short period of time and then hazardous materials from the solar farm will begin to leach into the watershed. A watershed key to the health of the Great Marsh.
The selectman are being wooed by the soothing sounds of the consultant and claim they won’t vote against this unless it is proven that it will endanger health, safety or financial harm to the town.
If the selectmen approve this project, they will be adding an eventually dangerous pollution source if they approve this project.
PS. This is what I wrote back in 2011:
“Newbury has suffered greatly from poor land management. The idea has been two-fold damaging – the idea of allowing farms to slice off pieces of their properties to build housing so the agricultural business will stay afloat and the mistaken idea that more homes means a larger tax base. Unfortunately, this has led Newbury to lose its rural status and increasingly become another part of the suburban sprawl. Every time one of these homes is built, three to four times in tax revenue must be generated to provide services and enhance infrastructure. I saw this huge new expensive firehouse built near Byfield – hardly necessary if the Town had stayed rural. The result has been a town that is dangerously close to receivership. By slowing this incessant house building, Newbury has signaled that enough is enough. Let’s hope it means stopping the farms from selling off their lands!”
-P. Preservationist (July, 2011)