Like many of you, I never cease to be amazed at the fall season in Clark County. It’s a time of beauty, color and bustling activity. On the farm, the shortening days and approaching winter spur us to action as we race to finish the harvest.
The past several months have also seen a flurry of activity for the Coalition. In August, our efforts to defeat the first two solar ordinances were realized when the Fiscal Court voted unanimously to deny them, and to implement a moratorium on large-scale solar development until the issue can be addressed in the Comprehensive Plan.
While this was a significant milestone, our work is not done on this important issue. To protect our world-class farmland, signature agricultural industries and the quality of life that sets Clark County apart, we need to implement an ordinance which specifies what types of solar installations are permitted and where.
The first step will take place in the Winchester-Clark County Comprehensive Plan Update which is due to start in the coming months. We encourage all citizens to take part in this vital process. We will be there to keep you informed and let you know how you can participate.
Clark Coalition has also been busy in Frankfort– raising awareness of the issues surrounding industrial-scale solar. In September, our executive director Will Mayer gave testimony to a joint hearing of state legislators where he presented facts on the costs of decommissioning, reclamation and recycling. With the significant increase in proposed solar developments across the state – 128 active proposals in 47 Kentucky counties –industrial solar has become a pressing issue.
We expect some form of state legislation will be proposed in the upcoming 2022 session of the General Assembly. We are advocating that the precedent of local control over siting decisions be maintained, and that the state adopt decommissioning standards to protect local communities from overwhelming liabilities. Recognized as a leader on the solar issue, Clark Coalition is engaging stakeholders and elected officials throughout the Commonwealth to share our research, and help local and state governments make sound decisions based on a thorough understanding of the issues.
To that end, we have attended a number of recent conferences and events. We’ve taken part in the Governor’s Conference on Energy and the Environment, the Kentucky Agribusiness Summit and had numerous meetings with local, state and national leaders. In early October, we met with Congressman Glenn Thompson, the ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, and our 6th District Congressman Andy Barr to discuss the role of the federal Investment Tax Credit on large-scale solar development and its impact on local communities.
Our efforts are even attracting national attention. Last week, Clark Coalition was featured in an article on industrial solar development in the New York Times.
While the Coalition has become increasingly visible on the state and national level, our priority will always be our community in Winchester-Clark County. Our work to promote smart growth, sustainable economic development and government transparency is rooted in the belief that our community is special and deserves only the best as we grow into the future.
Finally, thank you to all the supporters of Clark Coalition. Your contributions are making an outsized impact on the future of our community. We can’t do it without you.
All the best,
Chairman, Clark Coalition