Sixty Amish signed a letter of concern regarding the threat to their way of life by the many solar projects being imposed on our region by Governor Cuomo. They delivered the letter to the Chautauqua Town Board.
Amish farmers lease land from local and absentee landowners to augment their farming. They also live dependent on healthy farmland without the contaminants in the soil water and heat zones caused by solar projects.
Mandated by Cuomo’s misguided “green energy” policy, solar will pave over vast areas of fields and forests with dark glass and concrete blocking the natural absorption of CO2. The sun’s heat will be reflected causing higher temperatures in the project region.
Unlike those who pretend to be “environmentalists,” Amish farmers use little electricity. As true stewards of the land, Amish use natural fertilizers – the healthy way of recycling manure to revitalize land rather than use fossil fuel sourced fertilizers. Their cycle of hard work, growing food, raising animals, and returning the nutrients to the land is a principled lifestyle unlike those who simply say they are “green”.
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Amish farmers have been offered cash to pave over their land with solar but they know it will destroy farming, the land, and the forests, “The animals and the soil will be harmed,” said one, “We as a family take walks across the land on Sundays. We would no longer be able to do that if we took money for solar development”.
Solar panels are identified by the EPA as one of the sources of PFAS chemicals -which never decompose and are cancer-causing. Mayville is currently spending $1 million dollars to clean up PFAS contaminants in the water in three of its wells.
This effort is to remove PFAS in quantities of parts per trillion a very small amount is considered hazardous. No solar project should be placed near water sources or in a water table that could contaminate Chautauqua Lake. Prevention of contamination, not mitigation to clean it up afterward is essential.
Tourism is important to all in this area including the Amish. Solar projects eliminate recreational land, diminishing the economic viability of the community as well as destroying the local environment.
Ontario grid operator and the European Energy Commission have stated that a cost-benefit analysis of energy produced by solar at northern latitudes shows a negative result.
It takes more energy to build a solar facility here than is produced in its lifetime. The taxpayer-provided subsidies (bribes) do not justify the damage done.
The Amish are the true solar farmers.
Karen Engstrom is a Mayville resident.
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