For years I have happily ridden my four-wheeler on the miles of trails behind our house in Warren. Often, I pick a spot, park my machine and just sit. On a rock, near a stream, at the base or top of one of the many hills. I see deer, pick blackberries, fiddleheads and nettles. The ladies slippers beneath the pines were exquisite this year. I have done some fishing at Quiggle Brook and watched beavers and butterflies. Mostly, I like the solitude.

Last night, I went out and laid in the gravel pit on my fleecy blanket and watched the ants crawl aimlessly in the dirt; it was bliss. One thing I have liked best about the gravel pit and surrounding areas, is the lack of ticks. I usually bring my dog with me on these trips and it’s a fun place for him to run around, up and down the gravel mounds and outcrops. Ticks like grass, not gravel, and I do not like ticks.

The man who owned the 660 acres has been generous and allowed people like me reasonable access to the land I do not own. Now he has decided to lease the land to a solar company and my forays out back for nature walks have changed drastically. Recently I went to the town office and looked at the official plans. There were hundreds of pages of maps, surveys, and soil sample descriptions. I knew solar was big money but it got pretty real at that moment. I am grateful for the years I had the place; I believe in private property rights, always have.

What I do not believe in is the green lie. Solar and wind would not survive without tax subsidies. Many do not like oil, but it’s a fact oil and gas were instrumental in the founding our country. Humans leave a footprint on this earth, that is unavoidable. We must make the most informed, unemotional, fact-based decisions possible. I am sad the 660 acres will never be used to grow pumpkins or corn for Beth’s Farm who have been leasing more land to grow food in this and adjoining counties.

I am sad the sun will not shine enough over the next 25 years to pay back the costs incurred to pay for this project. I am so sorry people will have their tax dollars used to perpetuate this green lie. I am sorry the children in China harvesting rare earth metals to power the ugly solar panels get sick doing their work. Every step along the way to get the solar panels in place makes a mark, leaves a trace and yet solar supporters still cling to the lie of zero emissions and carbon footprint favorability.

I am sorry the people in Warren might be left with a useless mess of degrading toxic solar panels when they have come to the end of their useful life. Solar will never pay for its costs, but the people keep paying and many politicians and green energy people keep lying. On the other side of Warren, hidden and mostly forgotten at the former rifle range on Route 90, is a 70-acre toxic mess.

Unresolved after 23 years, the leftovers of a project with not enough oversight leaving the town of Warren with an useable scarred parcel of land. Thank goodness it has not caught on fire…yet. My sincere hope is Warren has learned from past mistakes when dealing with developers with massive profits (taxpayer funded profits) on the horizon. Let’s see a solid decommissioning plan with complete recycling for this solar project to protect our town. Additionally, let’s find out how much above market costs are the rate payers and taxpayers going to pay including all federal, state and utility subsidies?

We deserve a full accounting of all federal, state and utility subsidies. Public hearing is 7 p.m., Thursday, July 14, at Warren Fire Station.

Paula G. Sutton