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The Johnson County solar farm standards will have regional implications for equity and the environment.

The Johnson County solar farm standards will have regional implications for equity and the environment.

The Kansas Reflector welcomes opinions from writers who share our goal to broaden the conversation about how state policies impact the daily lives of Kansas residents. Elaine Giessel, a Johnson County resident is the chairwoman of Kansas Sierra Club.

Johnson County has been proud of its high quality of life for many years. Johnson County is a regional leader for sustainability and takes pride in being recognized as a great place in which to live.

It is therefore disappointing to see Johnson County considering standards which would make it one the most difficult places in the nation to build a large-scale, solar farm.

The Johnson County Planning Commission recently proposed some of the most severe restrictions. de factoBan on large solar farms Draft guidelines reduce the time of the conditional permit, double the distance that solar farms must travel from the city limits, and limit the size of solar farms to half the size.

The KC Regional Climate Action Plan,Johnson County leaders helped to create and recently adopted net-zero CO2 emissions goals for local government operations and energy generation. These goals will be more difficult for Johnson County and the surrounding region due to arbitrarily placed restrictions on solar farms.

Existing utilities will continue to burn coal and fracked gas if Johnson County or other local governments create unnecessary red tape in order to build solar farms. Evergy, Kansas City’s largest electric utility, announced that it would be closing its Lawrence coal plant by 2023, and adding 700 megawatts solar power by 2024.

Utility leaders It was quickly changed. Evergy will now add only 190 megawatts to solar while running the Lawrence power station on fracked natural gas. Evergys customers are now responsible for rising fossil fuel costs with this new plan.

Evergy in Kansas City plans to continue burning coal at its Hawthorn facility until 2039, even if a disproportionate numberMore than 10,000 children live within three miles from the plant, which is home to a majority of people of color. Evergy could accelerate its investment in solar energy, by eliminating obstacles that would hinder the development of solar farms. It will also be able to close the Hawthorn coal plant and stop the pollution it is causing in the surrounding areas.

Johnson County decisions have an impact on our neighbors. Our continued reliance on fossil fuels exposes us to global price volatility, local water and air pollution, and the emission of greenhouse gases that have contributed to the climate crisis. Utility bill increases, air pollution, Climate changeEach has a significant impact on the Black and Hispanic communities in our region.

The county commissioners’ decision is not about the size of the solar farms in Johnson County. It is about whether or not we are serious about achieving regional environmental equity for those who live near fossil fuel facilities, such as gas plants, coal plants, and gas plants.

We cannot address the climate crisis without fighting racism and the systems that perpetuate them. Everyone has the right of a safe and healthy community.

Large solar farms can help mitigate the worst effects of climate change by providing safe, reliable, affordable, and renewable energy that is not greenhouse gass free.

Johnson County Commission should help landowners who wish to build solar farm because it will help the County fulfill its commitment to combat climate change and regional warming. environmental equity. Landowners should be allowed to use their land to harness sun’s power to power our daily lives. Increasing crop production. The land can be used to grow crops or other development once the panels are gone. This is possible because solar panels can be removed safely, unlike coal plants which permanently threaten our region’s water quality. Toxic coal-ash landfills.

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The Johnson County decision to locate a solar farm will have ripple effects across the region. We can all make positive changes together, which is the good news.

It’s about promoting economic growth while protecting public health.

It’s about saving the planet for our future and our families.

Johnson County residents should request Commissioners to adopt guidelines for solar farm siting that encourage, not limit, large-scale solar energy development at the April 4th public hearing. Online or in person.

The Kansas Reflector’s opinion section aims to increase the voices of those who are affected or excluded from public discussion through public policies. You can find out more information, and how to submit your commentary, here.

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