Wareham: 27-acres of industrial solar will obliterate iconic Fearing Hill woodlands

  CLwpBS  Ancient Way

Solar developer ConEdison proposes to clear-cut Pine Barrens forest, denude land for large ground mounted solar, batteries

Site located on Weweantic River, ancient Native American trails to be lost

Town’s Conservation Agent recommends denying the project, “there is no mitigation” citing “incredibly poor site selection for a project of this nature”

ConEdison has proposed a solar project in West Wareham that threatens to clear-cut one of the last remaining intact ancient forests in the lower west-side of the Weweantic River watershed. The Project is at 91 and 101 Fearing Hill Road, directly upgradient of the Weweantic River and residential drinking water wells. If executed, the Project will level scenic and historic hillside adjoining Town conservation land, and isolate a continuous wetland on its southern side. The draft project plans are here.

This short video shows how the proposed industrial scale solar installation will destroy pristine upland forest, ancient ways on the sovereign land of the Wampanoag people, and threaten the fragile Weweantic River. On June 12, 2021, Wareham residents voted to outlaw utility-scale solar projects, but ConEdison, operating under the name of a shell corporation, wants to be grandfathered in.

7,333 ground mounted solar panels on 44 acres with massive lithium-ion batteries

However Wareham residents are pushing back against this project at the local Planning Board. For over a year, the residents of Wareham have spoken against approval of this destructive project, because it will:

• Decrease our real estate values, by destroying forested lands, creating a blight and harming the aesthetics of the abutting Town-owned conservation land;

• Harm Wareham residents’ recreational enjoyment of the abutting Fearing Hill Conservation Area;

• Clear-cut ecologically rare Pine Barrens forests and plants and animals that use the area for migration and habitat;

• Harm water quality in the Weweantic River and Plymouth Sole Source Aquifer;

• Threaten our safety with lithium-ion batteries;

We’re at a critical time to stop this irresponsibly-sited project before a single tree is cut. The Project Developer has drawn new site plans in response to a critical hydrogeological assessment of the Project’s potential to generate increased storm water runoff and impact downgradient receptors. The hydrogeological assessment can be found here. Because the developer has drawn new site plans, the Planning Board must vote to approve those plans before the Project can go forward. We urge Wareham residents to attend two public hearings at the Planning Board to oppose this irresponsible project!

We also urge Wareham residents to attend the meeting of the Wareham Conservation Commission. The developer has filed a “notice of intent” (found below) to destroy forests and harm wetlands, and the Conservation Commission must hold a hearing on it. We urge residents to attend the next Conservation Commission meeting and tell the Conservation Commission to vote no!

Save the Pine Barrens will be present at all three hearings along with several residents opposed to this project. Please turn out to make your voice heard. Local residents’ voices matter when it comes to local decisions. We need solar on our rooftops and in our parking lots, not in our forests!

Wareham has 19 large solar projects already!

We’ve lost hundreds of acres of forests, threatened our water, real estate values and health.

Urge the Wareham Planning Board and Conservation Commission to deny approvals for this improperly sited, destructive industrial ground mounted solar.

Recording of June 13th Wareham Planning Board Meeting on Fearing Hill.

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