Barker Central School District recently informed taxpayers to prepare for a 41% raise in the school tax levy, which is quite the reality check for all of us. As we all experience the struggles of COVID-19, the time has come to embrace the many benefits of solar power.

Solar power can offer a new way to bring the Hartland and Newfane communities together. During these unpredictable times, it’s especially important that we find ways to assure economic security while simultaneously protecting our environment for our children. As a parent, my first role and responsibility is to enlighten children and I want to look them in the eyes and let them know I’m doing all I can to protect their future interests including the air they breathe, keeping our land and the economic stability of their community.

Solar energy farming will heavily reduce chemicals, help promote land use for sheep and a safe place for the collapsing bee population.

My children understand and share the passion I have to protect the environment and our home. To be blunt, less chemicals in the environment is good for everyone. Neighbors of the solar project will benefit from this endeavor by supporting an energy source that is completely emissions-free. Also, resting of the land that supports a solar project helps the soil replenish itself.

Currently farmers that lease our land spray pesticides and herbicides annually to aide in crop production. Replacing that needed income with solar panels is a better choice to keep this property in my family and to secure the ownership of this land for generations to come. My family has been farming in this area for generations. This is a way to maintain land ownership for our family in a world where small farms can no longer compete with large scale farms.

I and other supporters of the Ridge View Solar project formed a group to share timely information about solar power and we call our group SUHN (Solar United Hartland Newfane). I’m proud to be part of the Ridge View project because solar power is a clean alternative that can replace polluting coal plants, such as the recently decommissioned Somerset coal plant. When the Somerset power plant came online in 1983 it created many benefits throughout our community yet as we now know, it was at a cost to the environment. The Ridge View Solar project will also provide community benefits such as $1 million annually to the town, schools, and county for the life of the project without polluting our air and water.

We understand there is misleading information about solar energy from opposition groups that can be very confusing to people. SUHN plans to share timely information about the Ridge View solar project to help educate our neighbors and we welcome your support. I, for one, will be able to look my sons in their eyes and know I made the right choice for their future in this area that we currently and will continue to call home.

APRIL VOLKOSH, Gasport

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