Opinion: Canton resident questions the impact of the huge solar project
To the Editor:
I recently became aware of the magnitude of the Rich Road Solar Project. Calling it the Rich Road solar project is misleading. If one knows the roads in the Canton area, it is immediately thought of as a much smaller project than it really is. In actuality, this project is of enormous proportion, 1700 acres.According to the United States Census Bureau, the village of Canton has a total area of 2100 acres, making this solar project nearly the size of the entire village of Canton. A more appropriate name for this project might have been the Route 11 - Miner Street Road Solar Project. Perhaps if it had been appropriately named, more citizens would have paid attention to what is happening in our community.
I understand the need for green energy, and I am in favor of solar energy. Certainly there are ways to do this without the multitude of acres of land, as far as the eye can see, being covered in solar panels. Turning the gateway of Canton and the St Lawrence County seat into an industrial energy corridor along Route 11 to provide power for more populated areas of New York State does not seem like it’s truly in the best interest of our community. Some might even call it colonization of the North Country. Could we not achieve similar results with multiple smaller projects scattered throughout the North Country?
I question whether this project will alter the future of our community in negative ways that haven’t been fully considered. How will the future parents, students, professors, and administrators of our local universities view Canton after our landscape is covered in solar panels? Will our hospitals have more difficulty recruiting health care professionals? Is it worth it, if it drives potential families away from Canton? After 25 years, will the big corporations abandon these solar panels and leave us with the mess to clean up?
Our community must work toward growth and resilience, but not at the expense of protecting the wildlife, fertile land, and natural beauty of the North Country.