Protect, preserve land heritagePublished 1:14am Wednesday, April 24, 2013
To the Editor:
After the title statement of April 14’s editorial, “Speak now or forever hold your peace,” my family and I attended the public hearing April 16 on the issue of the solar farm located on White Post Road just outside of Bath. The adjoining land has been in my husband’s family for well over 100 years, and it remains so today. Over the decades when desperate times confronted the family, the one constant was the attachment to the land, and as my husband’s parents have now passed away, the land remains a Latham legacy — it is family, spoken of with love and pride.
The one thing that I noticed during the hearing was the repeated disregard of various company representatives — that people can be and are proud of what their families worked hard to provide for them. We have found in the past few years that the attitude of “progress” is those of us who prefer and work hard to live in a small community must be less intelligent and need to be saved from our way of life. Therefore, they feel that they are doing us great service, but it is more like rape — something we didn’t ask for, has no regard for the victim and changes our lives forever. For most of us, the dangling of the money bone does not sway us from our heritage, not to be confused with being successful. The people who spoke on behalf of the solar field do not look at this eyesore daily. I was very disappointed to hear the number of Washington residents who also spoke on behalf of the project, but I imagine if something like this was built in Smallwood, Washington Park or along the river communities they would suddenly have a different battle cry.
Renewable energy is a thing of the present and future and is not a bad concept, but the companies need to be above board with the people whose lives this impacts — most residents in the area were not contacted prior to the beginning of the project. I recognize that Duke Energy acquired the property from landowners and that, too, is sad, but if companies want to build a rapport and expand, then they should be willing to learn more about the people who are going to be affected and search for land that is less of an impact on families that hold strong to their heritage. This land that had been farmland for generations raised families, put food on the table and sent children to college.
By going to www.duke-energy.com, you can read Duke Energy’s mission statement, one that applauds its values and integrity and then make your own judgment whether it has followed any of these guidelines. Please do not punish us with this expansion because, in reality, this whole thing is more about money than it is energy. Remember that money is the root of all evil. We may not be rich, but we make a living and are happy.