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High River Energy Center will offer many benefits

Strawberry Fields Nature Preserve is visited by hundreds of people every year to enjoy abundant nature, the vistas, and the perspective open space can give. Soon, a small portion of that view will change with the arrival of the High River Energy Center 90 MW solar farm, but the beauty and the perspective given by the view will not be lost.

I support the High River project being built in our community beginning in late summer of 2021. It will improve our environment right here at home while giving our area an opportunity to realize significant economic benefits.

There are many positives to the project. It will create jobs (more than 180 during construction), generate much-needed tax revenue ($11.4 million over 20 years), and support local farms by allowing them to harvest energy from the sun. High River will help protect farmland from over-development (we would rather not look at subdivisions or shopping centers), and protect the environmental services now provided by the farmland it will be on.

As someone who cares deeply for the environment and our local ecology, I want to make sure we keep in mind the project’s significant environmental benefits. High River will be capable of generating enough electricity to power 22,000 homes. And this electricity will be produced locally without creating air or water pollution. The project will reduce carbon emissions by an average of 76,000 tons annually — this is the equivalent of taking more than 15,000 cars off the road.

When I decided to protect our 118 acres in 2013, under a conservation easement with Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, I did it with the idea we should all ‘think global and act local’ to meet the climate challenge. Everything we’ve done over the past decade — especially using only renewable electricity like High River will produce — has been committed to helping meet that challenge.

The High River Energy Center is an extension of this commitment. It is a project that delivers significant local economic and environmental benefits. And, the project provides us with the opportunity to transition to clean, renewable energy.

Our valley view will be a bit different, of course, but the ideal behind Strawberry Fields is to protect our environment, which the High River project will enable us to continue doing. We are happy to count High River as our neighbor.

JEFF LEON

Amsterdam

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