Thankfully, Another Opportunity for Smart Solar
At the Council Work Session yesterday, I withdrew Bill 9-17, Solar Facilities. The Bill was the result of numerous hours of negotiation with my colleagues, primarily Councilwoman Almond. It was also the product of numerous meetings with residents, solar companies, environmentalists, community associations, the Planning Board, the Commission on Environmental Quality and the Administration.
My goals regarding this legislation were to protect prime and productive agricultural land and to protect our reservoirs from further pollution. Entering into these negotiations with the Councilwoman, my intention was to limit solar development on agricultural land to the State of Maryland’s Community Solar Pilot Program which would only allow commercial solar development up to 2 Megawatts. This would have limited the acreage of solar facilities to no more than roughly 14 acres. Regrettably, this was rejected by certain members of the Council who have larger solar development projects in mind for agricultural land, something I cannot in good conscience support.
I was hopeful that the added protections which I included in 9-17, namely land use restrictions over rural legacy programs, easements, setbacks, and the protection of forests, would reduce the ability of solar companies to have large scale development in the North County. However, it was apparent today that it did not have the support to pass, and will need to be studied further by some Council members.
Hopefully in these future deliberations, the members of the Council will agree with me and support legislation that will prioritize the interests of the citizens of Baltimore County instead of the special interests.
I look forward to representing the Third District during the upcoming negotiations.