Save Bastrop Forest From Solar Factory

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Save Bastrop Forest From Solar Factory

This petition made change with 1,114 supporters!
Skip Connett started this petition to Elgin School Board President Byron Mitchell

We support solar farms but not when they unnecessarily threatened wildlife, soil, forests, streams and wetlands. A massive solar farm planned in western Bastrop County will do just that if Elgin School Board grants a Chapter 313 tax break to Solar Proponent so it can develop this 3,000-acre project.

"No worse site could be chosen for a solar factory in Bastrop County," said Dr. Darlene McClaughlin at the board's June 20th meeting. "It will require clearcutting a forest and destroying the entire ecosystems around Little Sandy Creek." 

Time is running out to stop this project after the board gave a preliminary okay for Solar Proponent's tax abatement application in May, despite no public input. The hundreds of residents like Dr. McClaughlin impacted by this rushed-out and hushed-up solar project have been blindsided and left in the dark. Signing this petition tells our elected officials that green energy doesn't get an automatic green light to clear forests or to subsidize wealthy, absentee landowners who have sold out to this start-up energy company funded by an oil and gas hedge fund.

This corporate welfare scheme known as Chapter 313 is set to expire in six months thanks to a bi-partisan campaign that exposed how this billion-dollar handout has been abused at the expense of Texas schools and taxpayers. Without this $20 million in school tax cuts, this Austin-based company says it will take this project to a more solar-friendly state.

Seriously? Let's call its bluff.

Denying this ill-conceived handout will force Solar Proponent to find a more suitable site -- one that doesn't destroy a free and irreplaceable source of carbon sequestration.  Bastrop's wealth of trees has been severely diminished by wildfire, drought and disease. We've made great progress restoring our overstressed woodlands. Cutting them down to harvest the sun when open, unproductive land also bounds here is nothing short of an environmental crime.

Industrial solar farms will become better neighbors and better stewards of the land only if we resist senselesss projects like this. There are models for how solar factories can become sustainable solar farms through local government guidance. This is not one of them.

 

 

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