[Editor’s Note: The following is a letter to New Milford Clean Power from Lisa Ostrove of Rescue Candlewood Mountain.]

On behalf of Rescue Candlewood Mountain, and the concerned residents and taxpayers of New Milford, I would like to present several facts to counter the claims in your Letter to the Editor on Jan 19.

Your comment: “Some were concerned that we would disturb wildlife on the mountain. We won’t.”

Fact: Clear cutting 55 acres of trees, converting forest to field, installing 60,000 solar panels will disturb wildlife. In addition the Town of New Milford does not even know how badly the project will impact wildlife because the necessary studies were not completed.

Your comment: “Project size...reconfigured to avoid two vernal pools.”

Fact: While the project is avoiding two out of nine vernal pools, these two will also be directly impacted because the tree clearing will forever alter the water flows which fill these pools in the spring.

Your comment: “Property taxes will increase by over 700 percent.”

Fact: The project is not paying taxes. The PILOT agreement, negotiated with the previous administration of New Milford, is approximately 50 percent undervalued. At the time, Town Counsel was not allowed to view the agreement. This project is not a good financial deal for the Town of New Milford.

Your comment: “Local contracts will be hired to work on the project.”

Fact: After the brief construction period, this facility will require virtually zero employees. This project does not generate any long-term employment in the Town of New Milford.

Your comment: “electricity generated from these solar panels will be distributed by Eversource to wherever its needed, including New Milford.”

Fact: This project is not selling power to any Connecticut-based utilities or electric distribution companies. You say you will be making a “100-acre gift of land to a Connecticut conservation trust.” Which conservation trust has agreed to this gift?

When would this happen? Who is the landowner who proposes this donation? You do not own this land-Wells Fargo does. Only they can donate land.

Additional facts:

Half of the Town Council voted against the PILOT agreement.

This project would not be permitted by the Town’s Zoning Regulations.

Connecticut DEEP did not vote to select this project in part because it creates expensive energy.

In conclusion, Rescue Candlewood Mountain is against this project for factual economic and environmental reasons.

Lisa Ostrove

Rescue Candlewood Mountain