Editor, The Era-Leader:
In response to last week’s "Letter to the Editor," Washington Parish Concerned Citizens would like to educate the letter writer --- and some readers.
The writer first refers to Solar Energy Plants (SEPs) as farms. SEPs such as the LSU/Iris Solar site and the proposed Sunlight Road Project are not "farms." The writer not having been a resident of Washington Parish (fiction claimed in the sign-off), does not know what a farm is. Webster definition: farm, noun - "an area of land and its buildings used for growing crops and rearing animals typically under the control of one owner or manager."
SEPs don't grow any crops or rear animals. Now that is a fact!
This is not the only fiction the writer claims to be fact. In paragraph two of the Letter to the Editor, the writer seems to be well versed in the SEPs propaganda, such as stating "millions of dollars" of much needed tax revenue will be paid to Washington Parish. This claim that Washington Parish will receive over "12 million dollars over the twenty year" contract for Sunlight Road Solar project estimated revenue has already been debunked in public meetings without contradiction. The actual amount of tax revenue to be generated in the first 10 years is only one and a half (1.5) million and over the 20 year period, is closer to four million dollars, not twelve million dollars as falsely claimed.
The Parish sales tax on solar equipment would be a one time payment. The permit fees are also a one time payment, and in the case of the LSU/Iris Solar project, the Washington Parish government promptly spent that money on a sorely needed new air conditioning system for the courthouse.
Actual revenues, much less than promised, during the first 20 year operating period is not an economically feasible amount to offset the risks of adverse impacts on the public health, safety, welfare, property values, waterways, unique scenic resources, agriculture, environment and ecosystems of Washington Parish and it's citizens.
One fact we do know is that "hundreds" of LSU/Iris workers did not descend on Washington Parish, increasing sales at local businesses. Solar workers at the LSU site were from other areas, ate on site, lived elsewhere and did not contribute to Washington Parish's local economy.
The writer did get his "small number" of permanent jobs correct but failed to specifically note that it would only be one to each, one employee for LSU/Iris Solar and one employee for Sunlight Road Solar. That's a very small number considering those properties previously supported ten or more jobs in the Parish, and those employees lived in Washington Parish and spent money locally.
"The loud voices in the room" that the writer referred to are citizens and residents who want to peacefully enjoy their property, and they don't see SEPs as positive growth for anyone locally. These Washington Parish citizens are seriously concerned about the missing legal terminology in the landowner contracts that may or may not hold SEPs responsible for keeping their development in sync with the attractiveness of the rest of the Parish for the next twenty years and providing end of life environmentally safe decommissioning.
Washington Parish concerned citizens are researching and presenting nothing but the facts!
Submitted by Jennifer Brown for
Washington Parish Concerned Citizens
(Editor’s note: Mr. LeBlanc, the author of last week’s letter that is referenced above, did not specifically say he is a Franklinton resident. I asked if he is a parish resident and he stated that his family owns property here. Labeling him as a Franklinton resident was my error. --SK)