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Municipalities on the outside looking in

Paul Schliesmann — The Whig Standard — May 11, 2012

More and more across eastern Ontario, citizens are standing up in opposition to large-scale solar- and wind-power projects.

It’s pushback against the province’s Green Energy Act, which took away the ability of municipalities to regulate where megaprojects can and cannot be built.

In Kingston’s rural area to the northwest, Samsung is about to build a 100-megawatt solar facility on 800 acres of land it has accumulated through private deals with landowners.

Kingston has no power to officially criticize, alter or reject the project, except for modest aesthetic purposes. All decisions rest with the provincial government – from siting approval to setting assessment levels.

For citizens near Unity Road the concerns are many:

• the wildlife habitat fragmentation created by rows and rows of panels taking up hundreds of acres of rural land;

• water quality, particularly if solar companies plan on using detergents to clean the panels, as well as stormwater issues;

• the potential negative effects on wells of drilling holes to install the panels; and,

• the loss of prime agricultural land.

(To continue reading, click here)

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