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Concerns about solar farm

EDITOR:

This whole solar farm started with 12 large land owners in the Flat Rock and Cornell area and members of our township zoning board, over a year ago. This was done without the rest of Escanaba Township residents knowing anything about the size of this solar project. This will affect many, many homeowners in the Flat Rock and surrounding areas. We should have had an opportunity to vote on something like this as it affect so many residents. It should not be decided by a few landowners and zoning board members. This is not going to be a backyard solar unit. This will be fields and fields of industrial solar units.

The landowners will receive yearly financial gain from this project for the use of their land. However, nearly all of the landowners and board members will not have one solar panel near or around their homes, while many other Flat Rock residents will be surrounded with solar panels on one or more sides of their home. These solar areas will be lit up at night with dusk to dawn lighting. Therefore, the residents will see these solar panels day and night.

We are told the township will receive millions of dollars over a 30-year period for our township and community from Orion Renewable Energy. Research shows that most of these companies become obsolete as technology improves and the solar panels deteriorate as time goes by. Most never last more than 15 to 20 years, and some smaller companies have gone bankrupt, leaving the community to clean up the area.

With solar panels in a residential area our home values will go down, the look of our community from hay, corn and soy bean fields will be fields and fields of solar panels surrounded by barb wire fences. It will damage the soil , damage our water and our air quality.

The Orion Company needs to put some of their millions of dollars they promise, if they succeed with this project, into an escrow account for the Escanaba Township. If they default on this project, as time goes on, we need to protect our township with money to clean up and dispose of the toxic materials they will leave behind.

We are not against our neighbors making money off of their land and we are not against solar energy. But, it belongs in wide open spaces, not in a residential community. And, our elected board officials, were voted in for the good of all the residents in the township not just to benefit a chosen few.

Phyllis Lippens

Flat Rock