Bowers: Legislators Making a Mockery of Farmland Preservation

From Deborah Bowers:

Maryland citizens should speak up about a bill in the legislature that would enable any farm in their community that is preserved through the state farmland preservation program to cover five acres, possibly more, of that preserved land with solar panels or other energy generation infrastructure.

When the Maryland legislature created our state’s farmland preservation program in 1977 it had a mission: to preserve good land for farmers and to preserve open space for all Marylanders to enjoy. The proposed legislation embraces Gov. Martin O’Malley’s alternative energy agenda – seemingly nothing wrong there – but to take our preserved farms, which provide beauty to our communities as well as good land for farming, and allow these farms to have five acres or more covered with solar panels or wind turbines violates the public faith in this program and violates the mission of farmland preservation.

Senate Bill 259 and House Bill 861 would allow all of the more than 2,100 farms preserved by the state farmland preservation program to convert acreage to this commercial use without any public input or even review by local agricultural preservation advisory boards.

Is it really necessary to take all of the progress we have made in farmland preservation, after Marylanders have paid, to date, more than $617 million to save our farms from non-agricultural uses, to take that tremendous accomplishment, and make a mockery of it?

Farmland preservation should preserve good ground, not cover good ground with solar panels or other energy generation installations. Let’s do a better job of protecting our investment in agriculture and open space.

Harford Countians: please contact Sen. Barry Glassman; Del. Mary Dulany-James at (410) 841-3331; Del. Susan K. McComas; Del. H. Wayne Norman Jr.; and others, including County Executive David Craig and County Council members.

Comments

  1. The Money Tree says

    There is new evidence that blanketed solar panels create an illusion of water as perceived from above by waterfowl or other birds attracted by water who dive into the panels resulting in mass bird fatalities. In addition the heat generated and rising heat wave patterns result in a frying pan effect capturing more songbird deaths as the feathers are melted and they crash to the ground. Maryland is right in the middle of the eastern migratory bird corridor. It is something that needs to be considered.

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      • The Money Tree says

        Certain said irony here. Yes, we have windmills that create energy, but also kill bats, raptors and other birds and we have solar panels that kill water fowl and other birds. It may turn out that it’s better to just use electric and coal but concentrate on the efficiency side of it.

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        • Jim in Hickory says

          If the panels are installed correctly they will be flat. Flat glass only reflects light, it will not concentrate it. If you can go out side and bring birds out of the sky with just a piece of glass there are some high up people in the military that would like to talk with you.

          As usual your delusional BS defies logic.

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          • The Money Tree says

            Water reflects light much the same way as glass or any other reflective surface and in the sun has shown to confuse waterfowl. What might seem obvious to a fighter pilot might not register so much to an animal with the brain the size of a pea. It’s been in the news readily in the past 6 or so months. Look it up.

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          • The Money Tree says

            Quote: “It may be that photovoltaic arrays resemble lakes more closely than do mirrors, at least to the eyes of birds. Light reflecting off non-metallic surfaces tends to become polarized. Both water and the semiconducting surfaces of photovoltaic panels are non-metallic, which means the glare from one might well resemble the glare from the other if birds are sensitive to light polarization, which many are.” This comment made by a scientist brought in to determine why so many waterfowl are showing up dead around solar projects.

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    • John Swift says

      We should take the dead birds and use them to supplement the school food program. Circle of life and whatnot…

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  2. Qualified says

    I did a little review of both bills. SB259 was presented by Senator Middleton (D) Charles County.
    HB861 is sponsored by Delegate McIntosh (D) Balto City and from Montgomery County all Democrat Party, Delegates Fraser-Hidalgo, Arora, Barkley, Hixson, Kramer, Luedtke, Mizeur amd Waldstreicher.
    Do they know anything about farm land?

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  3. Brian says

    OK so let me get this straight. It is OK for home owners to plaster solar panels on their roofs but it is not OK for farmers to take land and do the same thing?? Just to inform you clueless people it takes much more electricity to power a farm compared to your home. So yes farmers SHOULD be allowed to use THEIR ground for renewable energy sources. It’s not your ground so if you don’t like the view tough shit Sherlock. God I love a double standard!!!!!

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    • The Money Tree says

      No I don’t think farmers should put up enormous hideous windmills, or blanket acres of farmland with giant mirrors. The intent of land preservation is not to turn it into industrial use rather than yet another row of townhouses. To compare and single panel or two on a rooftop to a 5 acre square solid mass of solar panels is ridiculous but of course you know that unless you really are just that silly. Hey it’s my land do I get to do anything with it – no; not if a shared resource (wildlife – songbirds) are wiped out. Lets also not pretend these clusters of solar panels are intended to just provide energy for the farm but you know that unless you really are just that silly.

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      • Brian says

        So it is OK for YOU to save money money on your electricity but not a farmer? What if it takes 5 acres to make that happen. IT IS NOT YOUR LAND! Farmers have every right to be “off the grid” as much as a home owner. If you think that a farmer is going to take prime ground and put solar panels over it, that just shows how much of a fool you really are. I know that it may come as a shock to most of those on here but most farmers care about their farms, every thing they do is about bettering it for the future. Not about destroying it for a cheap easy fix.

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        • The Money Tree says

          If the land has been turned over and “purchased” by the taxpayer as part of preservation they can go pound sand. We didn’t pay people cash under a program presumably to create open space, preserve wildlife habitat and improve our overall quality of life to have it turned into a utility plant. Yes, you are dufus as you deliberately continue to miscontrue the facts.

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          • BillH says

            Money tree where on earth do you get your misguided information? There are plenty of industrial farms that are in preservation programs. The program does not and was never intended for farmers not to make money using their land. The program is to restrict development that is its function and it does an effective job of it. You should really stick to subjects you know and understand like cooking, ironing and cleaning.

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          • The Money Tree says

            Sure honey that’s why they’re attempting to pass legislation because it’s already OK to do this. Clark Turner is that you?

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          • BillH says

            Oh god you didn’t bother to read the legislation did you…… You just go through one embarrassment after the other her e don’t you…..

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          • The Money Tree says

            Is that all you have? Obviously you can’t morally or sensibly defend this or you wouldn’t resort to acting like a 10 year old bully. Snee is that you?

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    • The Mad Punter says

      You forget that since the farmer took our money to ‘preserve’ the land, he/she gave up some of the rights to free use of the land.

      The homeowner did not accept money to preserve the roof, so he/she is entitled to whatever they want with it.

      The money the farmer took has some strings attached that limit what the land can be used for.

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    • Hank says

      If a farmer wants to put solar panels on land that he did not put into the land trust (and take money in return as compensation for agreeing to not develop it) then more power to him.

      If the farmer wants to put solar panels on land that he put into the land trust then he should have to pay that money back adjusted for inflation plus interest.

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      • The Money Tree says

        If the farmer has already taken the money slow down cowboy because its too late. The public is not interested in providing no interest loans on pretend transactions – that would be fraud. We don’t want the money back and I would have to assume existing set aside regs do not allow basically the creation of mini power plants or they wouldn’t need a law to allow for it. This is just dems licking obabas hind end since he has such a hard on for solar power.

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