Connecticut report focuses on loss of farmland, forest to solar facilities

The Connecticut Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is urging comments on its newly released draft report titled "Energy Sprawl in Connecticut: Why Farmland and Forests Are Being Developed for Electricity Production."

The CEQ said on its website it is seeking comment and alternative ideas to avoid the use of farmland and forest for solar power facilities through Jan. 18. The CEQ will discuss the report at its meeting Jan. 25 at the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, 79 Elm St., Hartford.

Among the findings of the draft report is the growing loss of farmland and forest, which nearly equaled the amount preserved by the state, or approximately 1,700 acres in the average year, by 2016. Agricultural acreage remained relatively steady at the beginning of the Great Recession of 2007-2009, however, over the last 10 years the development of solar energy facilities has become the biggest factor in taking farmland out of production.

“As a state working hard toward a sustainable economy, we should not be pitting solar energy against agriculture and forests,” CEQ Chairman Susan Merrow said. “We can have green power and green farms and forests, but we need to find ways to steer the power facilities toward industrial properties and other previously-developed land.”

Organizations in this story

Connecticut Department of Agriculture 165 Capitol Avenue Hartford, CT 6106

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