I live near the proposed Ellis Hollow site. I consider the views in this neighborhood the most beautiful in the county. The combinations of rural agricultural landscapes with distant hillsides are truly spectacular. But I recognize that we did not buy a view when we bought our house.
Advice to my neighbors: when you view these silvery panels absorbing sunshine, think of the reduced carbon load. Think of the world for your children and grandchildren, with fewer floods and droughts, with intact beaches and mountaintops, with local electricity; not dependent on distant and polluting power plants, but making clean electricity right in our own township.
In Dryden we said "no" to fracking; to water and air degradation; to development that would benefit few, with the potential to harm many. Let's say "yes" to solar, to net gains and only small challenges to the wildlife and environment, to development that will benefit us all, and bring no real harm to those of us who will be more directly impacted.
Susan P. Ashdown
I am writing to express my view as a veteran -- and as a member of Veterans for Peace -- that we have fought enough wars over foreign oil. There is an alternative.
Renewable energy obviates the need for more soldiers to die in wars for the resources of other countries.
Wind and solar energy projects respect veterans’ sacrifice for our liberties at home, and I believe that installing a solar farm adjacent to where veterans are buried is perfectly appropriate. No more useless wars.
Projects such as the Dryden solar farms support the transition to energy independence for our communities and our country. I say, the sun shines everywhere and the wind graces the entire earth. So let us once and for all abandon obsolete fossil fuel extraction and enjoy the blessings Nature has given us all.
Lynn McMannis, Vietnam veteran
I bet if someone was proposing another sprawling storage facility to surround a cemetery that nobody would blink an eye. That's just to say that in America we have learned to put up with a lot of ugly development, and a solar farm in comparison to what's out there is simply beautiful. And it really only takes a simple turn of mind to see that a solar farm and a cemetery might actually make fitting neighbors, the former being a place where we look to the present and future and the latter where we honor the past.
When I was a kid, my family moved to Lansing because my dad was going to help lead the construction of a nuclear power plant there. Bell Station never got off the ground, so NYSEG continued to operate Milliken Station, an enormous, ugly, coal-fired plant that occupies one of the most beautiful lakefront properties in Tompkins County.
My family lived on Fenner Road, 1 mile uphill from Milliken and 1 mile downhill from the plant's fly ash dump. All day long, dump trucks went by our house taking fly ash to the dump.
I don't think the Dryden project's detractors appreciate the significance of providing a clean, silent alternative to coal and a considerably safer alternative to nuclear power plants of the 1970s. But I do.
With telephone and utility wires crossing our landscape every which way, the aesthetics argument can hardly be taken seriously. As for the "optimal siting" objection - we don't need alternate sites, we need additional ones - lots of them.
We are in a climate emergency. The projects we endorse now will be our most vivid legacy long into the future. I hope we will be the kind of community whose vision lights the way for those who come after us.
I live in Dryden at 1396 Ellis Hollow Road, not too far from the solar project site. I drive past that site every day.
At Cornell, I am a Professor of Ornithology, the science of the study of birds. I am well aware that the area around the project site is often used by recreational birders, many of whom go there to see the hawks attracted by the spilled grain at the pheasant farm, and/or to see gulls and crows attracted to the garbage at the Cornell compost piles. Like many people in the area I use the area recreationally myself, as well as for casual birding, and I find it scenic in ways that may change with this project.
Nonetheless, I am strongly in favor of the solar farm project owing to the reduction in carbon emissions it will cause; for me, this larger community benefit far outweighs for me the potential negatives of solar development in that already mixed-use area.
The area is indeed used frequently by birders, so this recreational use does merit your consideration. At a different level, as a scientist and ornithologist, I can not think of any reason why the project area is particularly special for birds in a conservation sense nor essential habitat for declining species of birds. If I am reading the plans correctly, the project will be built in open fields and in early successional and already highly human modified sites, within a matrix that is already subject to high urbanization effects, already very fragmented, and in some cases planted intentionally with non-native plant species.
Irby Lovette, PhD
Fuller Professor of Ornithology
Director, Fuller Evolutionary Biology Program
Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Dept. of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, and Cornell Museum of Vertebrates
The warming of our Earth is the single greatest environmental threat of our time. It is difficult to appreciate this because the effects are not obvious from day to day, but they are there all the same, as evidenced by the extreme melting of polar ice, ocean level rise and the increased frequency of super storms. Plants are responding to our warming climate by blooming earlier. About 50% of North American land birds have shifted their ranges northward in response to this warming, a trend that will lead to reduced ranges and habitat for most. Likewise, seabirds are finding less food as oceans become warmer and less productive. The burning of fossil fuel and the release of carbon dioxide is the primary reason for climate change. Reducing our use of fossil fuels is the most direct way to slow this threat.
I visited Dodge Road recently to see the Norway spruce plantation which I understand needs to be reduced as to not shade the solar farm. In my opinion, this monoculture of spruce provides little valuable bird habitat and that the birds that use it would still have ample habitat if the plantation was reduced by the several acres necessary to reduce shading of the solar farm.
It is important to weigh the impact on this habitat against the measurable benefits of the alternative energy provided by the farm. The solar farm proposed for Dodge Road is an opportunity to take local action for a global problem. It will make a statement that our community is committed to moving away from burning fossil fuels and toward sustainable energy. If not, future generations may well ask why we did not do more when the facts were clear.
VP for Bird Conservation
National Audubon Society