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As we hear from members of the community, their thoughts are shared here.

From Nancy Choquette     Feb 17, 2021

nancy_choquette_letter_regarding_solar.pdf

 

From Chris Hartman     January 21, 2021

My message in a nutshell is:  Implementation of solar power leads to proliferation of solar power which leads to over reliance on solar power which leads to retirement and reduction in traditional sources of power generation (e.g., nuclear and natural gas) which leads to lack of power during those times and conditions when solar power cannot generate power which leads to power generation instability, increased costs, widespread blackouts, and dysfunctional power delivery at the regional and state levels.

 This abandonment of common sense is exactly what is happening now in California, and I believe it would be unfortunate if Abingdon allowed the almighty dollar to drive a decision that contributed toward causing those same problems to occur in Virginia in the near future.  Soon Virginians may join the millions of California residents and businesses who have purchased and installed gasoline powered generators to provide power for them every time their green solar power generation and distribution infrastructure breaks down and leaves them without power when they really need it.  Californians ran those generators a lot last summer, and as the problem continues to get worse they will be buying more and running them more often each year, even as they preach against the evil of fossil fuels.

From Hugh Bryan      January 26, 2021

I am not a member of the vestry. However, since I have volunteered to assist with the parish finances, I have been able to see the vestry carefully consider the pros and cons of the solar project. I have been impressed by their prayers and by their work. I am absolutely convinced that they have done their due diligence and have made the necessary modifications to the initial contract so that there will be very little impact on the appearance of the historic grounds that we all love. I also believe that the project will not proceed unless a bond is secured that will ensure that all equipment will be removed if necessary.

I have looked at the background material that is on the website and reviewed the calculations. I believe it all to be accurate. The solar farm will generate over $35,000 of income (after taxes) every year. This is far superior to our current use (clear cutting the land for timber every 25-30 years). Imagine what we could do in the community if we used a third of that money to support outreach projects. Think of how our finances would be different if we used a third to put into a fund for long term capital projects (like the organ, roof, or parish hall renovations). Finally, think what a third of that income would do for our music and children’s programs. Obviously a final decision about the use of the proceeds is a later decision, but I believe that those decisions will be made prayerfully as well.

 

There are some who are opposed to this project. I believe that if this resolution passes with a large majority, the will of the parish will be clarified, and both the parish and the vestry will feel comfortable with proceeding. I urge you to read the materials, pray with the parish, attend the parish meetings on Sunday AND on February 21, voice your support and make a difference for Abingdon and our community.

 

God’s peace to you and our Abingdon family,

Hugh

From: Bob Goodhart                                                                            January 25, 2021

 

Dear Friends at Abingdon,

            You are frequently in Sally’s and my thoughts and prayers, as Abingdon is our permanent church home, and you are much loved by us.  I have heard a little about Abingdon’s consideration for leasing some of our woodland to be used for a solar farm.  If I may, I would like to add my thoughts on just two aspects of the issue.  First, the long-term environmental impact of removing forested land may be familiar to you, but allow me to express my concern from a professional horticulturist’s perspective.  Forests absorb carbon from the atmosphere, store it, and release oxygen, filter pollution from the air, absorb rainfall then release it through transpiration back into the atmosphere, and promote soil health by returning organic matter to the soils to support soil life (bacteria, microbes, fungi, algae, and more).  Most of this soil life, some 50 million microscopic organisms per tablespoon of healthy soil, is invisible to us.  Yet it helps purify water and air, absorbs and neutralizes pollutants, and supports plant and animal life.  If we lose this, we lose that which is dependent upon it.  For example, we lose our critical pollinators which are in serious decline.  Without them we cannot produce food.  Of course, we are talking about one small part of the ecosystem, but this is death by many small wounds.  When forestland with its trees, smaller plants, animals and vital soil life is removed and replaced with solar panels, plants cannot be allowed to grow and block light from the panels.  Consequently, most vegetation is killed with herbicides.  With the land being denuded and no organic matter being returned to the soil, soil life is starved and dies.  With no trees, other plants, or active soil life, rain is not absorbed to replenish the aquifer or be returned to the atmosphere through transpiration, which in turn builds clouds to produce more life-giving rain.  Unabsorbed water runs off with whatever pollutants, to include the herbicides, it has collected and cannot be neutralized by microbial life, only to erode the soils, pollute streams and deposit sediments.  This is happening around the world.

            In the early 1980s I chaired a committee charged to study the ministry and stewardship of our parish property.  We considered many uses, but after hiring a professional consultant, much research and deliberation, we determined that with the disappearance of green space all along Route 17 and throughout the county, the most desirable long-term use of our land was to leave it forested for all in the county and future generations to enjoy and benefit from its environmental contribution. 

My second concern is that the windfall of lease income may discourage the incentive for regular financial support by parishioners.   It is this support that creates a real sense of ownership in and commitment to the church and encourages the sharing of our time and talents.  If there is no immediate requirement to make a decision, it would seem more appropriate to wait until we can hold a parish meeting in person, at which time parishioners can be better informed to discuss the options available to us. Whatever we decide and do will affect the generations that follow us.  Thank you for allowing me to be heard.

 

May Christ’s Peace be with each of you,

 

Bob Goodhart

Clayton James   January 28

Solar_Panel_Letter_of_Objection_Clayton_James.pdf