Free Lance-Star Editorial: Preserve Ag land for agriculture

This editorial is way off base.

Why should agricultural land be off-limits for solar projects? Solar projects are more environmentally friendly than housing developments. And they are more economically beneficial as they don’t require massive outlays of tax dollars for roads, schools, etc.

Solar farms don’t use massive amounts of water and drain aquifers, as opponents claim. The Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors put language into that County’s permits to ensure that. Solar farms don’t produce greenhouse gas emissions. And they don’t reduce neighbor’s property values as some claim. Arguing that they reduce tourism is specious. When was the last time you went to a farm for a vacation?

If the land is used for commercial agriculture, it has a far more dangerous impact on the environment and the economy. Commercial agriculture typically uses genetically-modified seeds (GMOs), large quantities of pesticides, and lots of water. Most commercial farm acreage is a monoculture that kills beneficial insects. The land is continuously disturbed, causing runoff into streams and rivers carrying pesticides. And often, sludge, containing all sorts of hazardous materials, is dumped onto the land, under the guise of “free fertilizer”. Just look at the prohibitions the landowner agrees to when sludge is dumped onto their farm – no grazing, no planting, etc., for a period of time afterwards. Too bad deer and other wildlife can’t read the signs to stay off.

Solar panels should be on idustrial land as well as on homes, buildings, parking lots, etc., but Dominion Energy makes that nearly impossible.

If we don’t do something really quickly, we will lose the opportunity to do anything. Our climate crisis will make living increasingly more difficult. We need to do something now to get off fossil fuels.

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