It’s always in the fine print. While looking over the drawings of the project layout, which is 35 pages long and each page is large with a lot of detail, I noticed a lot of areas covered in a crosshatch pattern. Looking closer, I saw small call-outs pointing to each of those areas and when I enlarged the page enough to make them readable, it would say something like “existing 12.85 acres of trees to be removed” or the number might be 39.20 or 15.16. As I looked around, I started to wonder what those all added up to. After looking around some more I noticed a small table over on the side, which I greatly enlarged and you can see above. The proposed tree clearing is 155.21 acres. That’s a lot of trees!
PA has some guidelines for grid scale solar
The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) is very pro-solar and wants a lot more of it. Right at the top of their page they say, “The department supports transitioning to renewable energy alternatives, such as solar, to mitigate the impacts of climate change and reduce the commonwealth’s greenhouse gas emissions.” To help that process along, they created a set of guidelines for grid scale solar installations.
Here are the first two items on the list:
- Prioritize the conservation and protection of mature forests, recreational lands, plant and wildlife habitat, and vital ecosystems
- Prioritize siting on already disturbed lands
Does removing 155 acres of trees “Prioritize the conservation and protection of mature forests?”
Then further down they say:
“Include decommissioning that restores the land to the same condition as it was before”
Is Wilson Solar going to replace 155 acres of mature trees?
What do Venango Township residents want?
Is this kind of large scale clear-cutting what Venango Township residents want? Will that change the visual nature of the countryside? Did the township supervisors know this was what they were facing?
Some other townships specifically restrict tree removal for solar installations, so is Wilson Solar trying to get this plan approved before anyone notices what they’re doing? Kinda makes you wonder …
It’s so hard to keep up. I remember when people supporting all things green were called tree-huggers. What are they now?