COMMENT LETTER OPPOSING GEORGETOWN SOLAR FARM PERMIT TO BE SUBMITTED BY ANS and DOZENS OF ALLIES MONDAY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Monday, July 22, 2019
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CHEVY CHASE, MD - Audubon Naturalist Society and dozens of allies submitted a comment letter opposing the siting of the Georgetown Solar Farm project Monday, July 22. We are calling for the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to deny Origis Energy the wetlands permit needed to begin construction of the solar farm on 240 acres of high-value forest habitat in Charles County, MD.
The comment deadline on the wetlands permit application has been extended indefinitely until Origis produces the necessary documentation to complete the application.
The land is home to several endangered species of birds and aquatic life and covers part of the ancestral homeland of the Piscataway tribes of Maryland. Neither the University nor the developer has consulted with the tribal community. The University has not released promised environmental review documents to the community despite repeated requests.
ANS worked through the Chesapeake Legal Alliance and Environmental Action Center pro bono attorney network to find Environmental Action Center (EAC). EAC Attorneys Hannah Brubach and Patrick DeArmey assisted Audubon Naturalist Society in drafting a comment letter in response to the application. The letter outlines regulatory and procedural concerns that call for denial of the permit.
“...allowing the MD Solar 1 project to move forward would set a dangerous precedent in Maryland for the replacement of forests with solar panels. The value of forests to human and animal life places them on equal ground with renewable energy sources such as solar. It is crucial that when mitigating climate change and making our communities more resilient and adaptable to its impacts, we not promote one best practice at the expense of another,” the letter reads.
The letter has support from representatives of 17 environmental organizations in the DMV, along with 11 people with close connections to the project. Some of the groups supporting the letter include: City Wildlife, Clean Water Action, Maryland Ornithological Society, Safe Skies Maryland, Audubon Maryland-DC, Mattawoman Watershed Society, Smart Growth Maryland, and Conservancy for Charles County. Individual signatures come from Georgetown students and alumni, members of the Piscataway tribes of Maryland, and Charles County residents.
Download the comment letter, and submit your own comments, at http://conservationblog.anshome.org/tag/Georgetown-Solar
About ANS: Throughout its history, ANS has championed nature for all by playing a pivotal role in conserving our region's iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS's nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.