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.