McCollum Farms of Gasport, a family farm, opposes placing any industrial solar projects in agricultural rural residential areas any place in Niagara County. We oppose industrial solar, not private homeowner solar.

Our county is being invaded by multiple solar companies looking for open land, access to power lines, and landowners willing to lease their land for terms up to 40 years. This is happening all over Western New York. If we do not stop this invasion soon, we will not recognize our own beautiful agricultural, rural, residential county. This part of the state will never be the same.

The towns of Cambria, Pendleton, Hartland, Newfane, Royalton, Lockport and Lewiston are already endangered. There is no end to the greed of these solar companies as hundreds of millions of dollars are up for grabs from New York State, taken from our tax dollars and utility bills.

If you as a homeowner currently residing here think this doesn’t concern you, please take a look at what is happening in the town of Hartland, to Hartland residents and landowners. This could be you. A total of 3,000 acres of land in Hartland and Newfane is needed for one of the largest industrial solar projects to be built to date in New York state. The sites will be scattered throughout Hartland and part of Newfane. The sites will be around and across from many residences. For all the details go to www.nogridsolarwny.com.

We farm in several towns and have always promoted farmland preservation hoping the area would remain in agriculture for many generations to come. Granted, economic times are tough for farmers, but we still have hope for the future of farming in New York state.

One strategy that EDF Renewables is using in Hartland is to suggest that industrial solar will save farms. How can taking away viable farmland for 40 years help save farming? The lease money will enrich a few people, a few farmers and a few landowners, but hurt many more residents and farmers in the community. Where is our empathy for our fellow neighbors, for the way of life we all love, and for our homes and property values?

We need to stop this assault on our farms and homes before it is too late. Since I started writing this letter another solar company has entered the fray with multiple offers in Newfane and Royalton. I’m sure everyone is being bombarded with proposals. Is this what we want to become? A giant power project? This issue needs to be addressed on a county-wide level and quickly. It has reached a crisis level and there is no end in sight.

Has Albany thrown Niagara County to the wolves?

Get the facts at www.nogridsolarwny.com.

Join our “Coalition to Protect Our Rural Communities” and be sure to call your legislators, assemblymen and senator. Call your representatives at the town, county and state levels and voice your concerns.

Susanne B. McCollum of Gasport represents McCollum Farms.

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