Prime farm land or solar panels?

APEX Clean Energy LLC entered Darke County in the fall of 2019 and has quietly leased prime farmland in Greenville, Neave, and Van Buren townships, for the purpose of installing solar panels.

There was no public informational meeting scheduled, alerting residents of the company’s intentions. APEX has leased 2,400 acres of agricultural zoned farmland for industrial use. That equals 4 square miles! Darke County is the second largest agricultural producer in the state of Ohio. Farming is critical to our economy and our way of life.

Darke County was once a swamp land. Our fields are heavily tiled to keep water drained out to allow the rich soil to be farmed. The installation of poles (which hold the solar panels) could disrupt the delicate balance of our underground network of tile throughout the townships and county. Any disruption in this drainage system, combined with the rain water run off from the solar panels, we could create a much bigger problem, causing flooding in surrounding fields and residential homes.

Solar panels contain toxic chemicals. Extreme weather conditions such as straight line winds, hail, tornadoes, or earthquakes could cause panel damage. Broken or damaged panels could allow for toxic chemicals to leak into the soil and residents water source. Many of these leased farms are on or very near the aquifer and residents wells.

We must protect our aquifer! The installation of solar panels would take prime, high producing farmland out of production for 30 to 40 years. Presently there are no plans for how to dispose of damaged or worn out toxic panels. This may pose a serious threat to the environment and could do further damage to the soil and water.

Solar panels disrupt wildlife habitat, there are restrictions placed on hunting in the area, and the panels could cause adverse health issues to residents living close by, as the solar panels create Electro Magnetic Fields (EMFs).

The landscape of our community would be changed for generations. Once this process starts it will continue to spread, with no value to the residents of Darke County. All electricity generated from solar panels will be sold as a commodity to the highest bidder.

I am not opposed to alternative sources of energy that don’t affect our food, water, and health. I am opposed to solar panels placed on prime farmland, in residential areas or near our aquifer.

Fran Chrisman
Greenville, Ohio

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