I’d like to comment on Paula Sutton’s letter in the July 7 edition of the Courier. Her concerns and suggestions regarding the proposed solar farm in Warren are worth examining.

I commend Paula for the suggestion Warren be proactive in establishing guidelines for future decommissioning of the solar operation to avoid another environmental dilemma as presented by the closed rifle range. Planning and long-term thinking are important with any industrial effort of this magnitude and Warren really should draft a regulatory ordinance. We have done so in Union.

It’s clear Paula opposes this project, however, repeatedly calling it the “green lie” and some of her assertions are questionable.

Paula expressed sadness the solar industry is subsidized. Of course the solar industry is being subsidized in order to encourage development of this necessary shift to renewable energy. These subsidies are largely tax credit incentives intended to enable individuals and small businesses to install solar production. This is not unusual, Paula. In fact, it’s pretty much the way we develop infrastructure of any kind, and it’s one of the good things about government: It empowers us to improve our nation’s shared assets through collective investment in our future.

It’s worth noting the fossil fuel industries of coal, oil and natural gas continue to receive government subsidies totaling $20 billion annually in this country even though those industries are wildly profitable, and probably don’t really require our financial assistance anymore.

I’m puzzled Paula claims “oil and gas were instrumental in the founding of our country.” How so, I wonder? We didn’t even use coal until the 1800s, well after our country was established, and oil/gas only gradually became available after the Civil War.

The inescapable fact is we have to reform our energy and transportation systems in order to minimize the worst effects of climate change. We must eliminate carbon emissions as much as possible, as soon as possible. Solar energy probably isn’t perfect, and it certainly isn’t the only necessary step we must take. We need to adopt all reasonable solutions to solve this dilemma; the legacy of climate destruction as the result of flagrant consumption of fossil fuels over the last 200 years. Denying that sad fact is the true lie — a black lie.

Finally, I’d encourage Paula to stop referring to this effort to reform our systems as “the green lie” as she did repeatedly in her letter. That’s a political trick, intended to engage the emotions rather than the intellect of citizens and it’s used as a distraction by many disreputable politicians. We need to think and work collaboratively to ensure a reasonable future and petty political conflict isn’t helpful.

John Shepard

Union