Barton solar wetland permits concerns

To the Editor:

The developers of the Barton Solar project have just applied for a wetlands permit. We can't believe that the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) would even consider giving a permit for Barton Solar LLC to install a 1.89 MW AC solar electric generation facility to be located in a field on Glover Road in Barton.

The field where the proposed project is to be constructed is designated as a Class II wetland with endangered species (marsh horsetail). Class II wetlands are "significant and protected" under state rules. There will be substantial tree cutting, new gravel drives, concrete pads and over 9000 photovoltaic panels. Wetlands and buffer areas will be permanently filled in. We're talking about a field that is often too wet to hay, even in the summer months.

In the old days, we would fill in "swamps" and not think too much about it. Now we realize that areas like this field serve important functions -- like making sure that the storm water that comes off of I-91 has a place to go and our groundwater is still drinkable and the fish and frogs in area streams are healthy.

There are good places for projects like Barton Solar, and there are bad places. This is a bad location. Even in our relatively rural area, there are plenty of parking lots, building roofs, and industrial parks where solar panels could be placed without having to fill in wetlands.

We are not sure what kind of message the ANR wants to send to businesses and local communities. It seems to us that if the ANR issues a permit to this Massachusetts based company to let them fill in wetlands in our state, they will be sending a message that Vermont wetlands are open for development.

Anthony and Monica Menard

adjacent landowners

Barton, Vt.

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