To the editor:

Hecate Renewable Energy Developer plans to convert 255 acres of pristine farmland in rural Columbia County (equivalent to 102 city blocks) to a 60-megawatt solar facility. These solar panels will be a behemoth in a small area comprised of cornfields and pastures that have been home to cattle, birds, horses, flowers, and hard-working farmers for generations.

The towns affected are Craryille, Copake, Tagkanic and Hillsdale — towns that depend on agriculture, tourism and recreation. People come here for the landscape and viewsheds, the weekly farmer’s market, quaint shops and hiking. They come to escape the frenetic pace of city life. They come to renew and recharge. Beauty is not frivolous here. Life depends on it.

Hecate Energy has not bothered to ask the people how they feel about this project. They refuse to meet, to consider the needs of their neighbors the impact their 255-acre solar installation will have. What will we do with 255 acres of unusable metal solar panels in 20 years? Who will take care of the local residents when our underground water becomes undrinkable? Will this become another Three Mile Island?

We implore Hecate Energy and Governor Cuomo to work with us. We have a unique opportunity to be partners. Build what our community can live with. Create renewable energy without destroying our livelihood. If we compromise, we can avoid costly court battles, and years of resentment. Work with us, and we’ll roll out the welcome mat. It will be green.

Ellyn Cohen

Copake Lake

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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