Hartland comes together, fills town hall with pleas for officials to listen

The Hartland Town Board took on multiple waves of public concern last night, as a flood of residents rallied to keep industrialized solar farms away from their homes.

Terri Ferina, a longtime resident of Hartland on Ridge Road, made her case to the board; leading with, “New York State has a mass exodus of people, we have enough excuses for people to move out.”

Terri Ferina speaks to the Hartland Town Board.

She continued, “Most of this land that the solar panels would be on is farmland or owned by the elderly who just want to live peacefully in their homes until the day they die.”

Lastly, Ferina questioned the boards claim of transparency when informing the town:

“We get many notifications from the Town of Hartland – from newsletters to our garbage collection calendars – we never got any notice on plans for solar panels or lithium banks.”

Ross Annable, Supervisor for the Town of Hartland, insisted the board fulfilled their duty in notifying the public; stating, “Now, I know a lot of people said they didn’t see it, but it was in the newspaper.”    Although, there was no mention of any attempt to distribute notice on the 20-megawatt energy collecting installations (the energy equivalent to 17 tons of TNT when at capacity) in the same manner they make garbage schedules available with direct notifications to the household. 

Town Supervisor Ross Annable speaks with residents of Hartland.

One attending resident in the crowd sprung a quick idea, “What about a referendum?”

Supervisor Annable was quick to respond, “By law we cannot have a public referendum.  What we can do by town law is have a survey or a poll, and that’s what we intend to do.”  When the room openly criticized the State law; Annable declared, “There’s a lot of New York State laws we don’t like.”

Mike Outten, President of the Coalition to Protect Our Rural Communities Inc., explained what his organization stands for, and how he feels about these proposed installations,

“We are a statewide coalition fighting against industrial solar in our agricultural, residential communities.  We are a grassroots movement out of Hartland located in Niagara County.  We have formed this coalition for multiple reasons, such as, stopping the Governor and Albany politicians.  We would like to stop them from pushing their big money, green ideas down our throats, and personal political agendas.”

Mike Outten, President of the Coalition to Protect Our Rural Communities Inc., speaks at the meeting.

Outten, whose group represents gun rights, hunting rights, wildlife and land preservations, continued,

“We are very concerned for the residents of New York State regarding our rights in the realm of hunting and discharging firearms due to the construction of industrial solar structures all over the countryside.  As all hunters know, firearms cannot be discharged within 500 feet of all structures.” 

Outten also expanded upon his fears for the rights of local agrarians,

“The ramifications of these projects to the existing farmers who really do want to farm all of their land, they will find increasing costs to buy or lease land and increasing costs for feed and seed supplies.”

He added, “The cascading effect will lead to less land and supplies.  It will also lead to diminishing herd sizes, profitability, and the next generation of farmers.  In fact, the next generation of farmers will diminish because of the greed of a few, and the political agenda of crooked politicians.”

James Minner, a local firefighter and EMT, gave some thoughts of his own.  He was not bashful in his assessment of this situation and has been on the frontline in gathering petitions to see this plan squashed.

“How many more people need to come with standing room only, they’ll keep on coming,” Minner stated.  He continued, “We’ve got another 125 petitions tonight, how many more do you need?  You need a thousand?  We’ll have them.”

Local EMT and firefighter James Minner speaks at the meeting.

Minner also questioned why the board needed a poll, “Why waste tax money on a poll?  The majority is against this.”  Furthermore, he stated that him and those aligned with him would be happy to collect as many petitions as necessary to shut this down quickly. 

Yes, even if that equated to half the Town of Hartland for an ultimate majority (roughly 2,000 would be half of Hartland’s total population) and Minner is confident he could obtain the signatures required.

Additionally, Minner took a swipe at Article 10 and New York State, “What they’re proposing is against the town law, they have to use Cuomo and Article 10 to overturn our town law.”

Article 10 was reintroduced into New York State Law in 2011 after expiring in 2003.  This Article allows the State to endorse certain energy projects, and in certain cases, supersede local laws to get it done.

Lastly, Minner explained to the board on Article 10,

“The people of this town are against this project.  I don’t think you have an obligation to hear out EDF Renewable Energies, they violate the town code.” 

He added, “You can make it very difficult for them, even if they use Article 10.  You should unify with your constituents as we are unified as a town.”

7 thoughts on “Hartland comes together, fills town hall with pleas for officials to listen

  1. Good evening,
    I believe the EDF project is 350 mega watts, not 20 megawatts.
    https://www.ridgeviewsolar.com/about-the-project/
    Watts are units of power equivalent to 1 Joule/second so I can’t really follow your conversion from 20 mega watts to 17 tons of TNT. Unless you discharge the 20 mega tons (sic) in 1 second then it’s:
    17,208, 413 tons of TNT = 17 mega tons of TNT.
    Same assumption for 350 mega watts then its:
    301,147,227 tons of TNT = 301 mega tons TNT.
    http://www.kylesconverter.com/energy,-work,-and-heat/megawatt-hours-to-tons-of-tnt#350000000
    I would also assert the the TNT comparison for energy content in this situation or any other electrical power plant is non sequitur in regard to the stated power and operation of the solar facility or zoning matter at hand.

    Also, on the matter of hunting and fire arms. The remark, “…As all hunters know, firearms cannot be discharged within 500 feet of all structures.”
    Does not comport to the 2019-2020 Official Guide to Laws & Regulations, Volume 11, Issue No. 1, September 2019 for New York Hunting & Trapping
    “Discharge of Firearms, Crossbows and Bows
    It is illegal to discharge a firearm, crossbow or Bow:
    -So that the load, or arrow/bold passes over any part of a public highway,
    -Within 500 feet for a firearm, 250 feet for a crossbow or 150 feet for a bow of any school, playground, or occupied factory or church,
    -Within 500 feet for a firearm, 250 feet for a crossbow or 150 feet for a bow of a dwelling, farm building, or structure in occupation or use UNLESS you own it, lease it, are an immediate member of the family, an employee, OR HAVE THE OWNER’S CONSENT.”
    (emphasis is mine)
    So, with permission any hunter may legally discharge a firearm, crossbow or bow, in a responsible manner, within the proscribed distances.

    While I do appreciate your attentiveness to this very important public debate I wish to further emphasize that unvetted petitions numbering in the hundreds and a boisterous group may not be the real story. I would also encourage the article’s author and the editorial supervision to exercise more rigor and objectivity with respect to factual accuracy and the proposition that there were a few thousand people not present at the meeting, and some that were there, that do not share the positions of a few dozen less-than-informed attendees. There were citizens in attendance with differing positions who spoke but they were not quoted or approached for comment.

    Thank you,

    Don Bucholz PhD

    1. The economic study cited clearly states that the assumption of ALL energy would be prefaced by solar energy. As such the analysis is accurate but absurd at face value. The support for the article comes from an interesting URL promoting fusion as THE source for energy. https://fusion4freedom.com

      I have to agree, should this technology become a tool humankind can master it becomes an evolutionary game changer in line with human evolution itself. Having worked at the Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration in Los Alamos this is not entirely foreign to me.

      The solar only analysis, however, is like asking how many butterflies it would take to lift a jet airliner, curious but of no real value.

  2. “Contrary to previous assumptions, pollutants such as lead or carcinogenic cadmium can be almost completely washed out of the fragments of solar modules over a period of several months, for example by rainwater.” ~ Senior Chinese solar official, 40-year veteran of the U.S. solar industry & research scientists with the German Stuttgart Institute for Photovoltaics

    If Solar Panels Are So Clean, Why Do They Produce So Much Toxic Waste?
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/05/23/if-solar-panels-are-so-clean-why-do-they-produce-so-much-toxic-waste/#4e43732e121c

    1. I know Michael Shellenger well. Like you, I would support nuclear energy over all other sources until fusion comes of age. Until then I suppose we’ll continue doing doing what we always do, using non renewable fossil fuels and renewable but enduring resources like hydro, sun and wind. You do know Michael is a brilliant spokes person for the benefits of nuclear energy based electricity generation right? Check out his Ted talks.

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