Growing opposition to proposed solar farm

Local

Coxsackie town leaders and residents voiced additional opposition to a proposed solar farm in the town.

Dozens attended a meeting Wednesday night to speak up about one of the nine proposed plants they said would take up over 11 percent of the town’s acreage.

“The respect and understanding that there could be a devastating effect to the environment, on the view shed, on the farm land, on the largest parcels of land available for development,” Sen. George Amedore said.

The proposed plant would partially sit on 1,200 acres of land owned by the Flach family, who has farmed in Coxsackie for over 40 years. Flach said the opportunity to build a solar farm would benefit him and his family.

“Without help from other income, other than farming, it’s going to be hard to maintain the farming,” Mark Flach said.

Gabe Wapner is the development director for Hecate Energy.

“This is an opportunity for a farmer to continue to farm two-thirds of the property he has or maybe in conservation,” he said.

Wapner said they’ve secured only 933 acres of land, and solar panels would be placed on only 400 acres.

“Remains to be seen,” Town Supervisor Rich Hanse said. “If they have the 933 acres, I’m assuming they can use the 933 acres.”

Regardless of how many acres will be used, Flach said farming has been very difficult for him over the past few years and he’d rather turn over his property to help with the environment.

Hecate Energy is pushing for the project under Article 10 of the Public Service Law, which would supersede all local laws. They said the project comes with many benefits.

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