Highland County Farm Bureau members are invited to attend a special briefing on solar energy development sponsored by the Highland County Farm Bureau Board of Trustees and Public Policy Action Team. The briefing will be held at the Southern State Community College campus in Mt. Orab at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 7.
The program will be facilitated by Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) Director for Energy, Utility and Local Government Issues Dale Arnold.
“Over the next several years Ohioans will be involved in a variety of energy generation, transmission and distribution projects. These include several utility scale solar generation projects being considered in Highland, Brown Clermont and Adams counties,” Arnold said.
During the briefing, Arnold will discuss potential solar energy generation evaluation activities in the area, energy market trends, remediation standards, as well as regulatory agencies governing different types of energy development. Issues concerning eminent domain and farmland preservation will be explored, as well as what landowners should consider as they evaluate lease and easement agreements.
“Pipelines, transmission line refits, generation technology — there are a variety of projects being developed in and around the community, all with their own regulatory and procedural structures,” said Lee Walker, president of the Highland County Farm Bureau. “Many Farm Bureau members have questions. As community stakeholders they want to know how each project developer will address soil and water conservation issues, land remediation standards, use of local roads and safety procedures. Our Public Policy Action Team is looking at these issues, and have invited other interested county Farm Bureau members to join them for this briefing.”
Walker continued, “If asked to sign complex agreements, releases and associated paperwork, landowners have the right to have their legal counsel examine all materials. Community stakeholders are realizing that many aspects of an energy development project are not necessarily boilerplate; there are still a variety of individual landowner and community decisions to be made. Our input is important.”
Arnold has been involved in energy and utility related issues since 1995. He represents farm and rural residential energy consumers on a variety of government working groups and public utility advisory boards concerning energy development. He has extensive experience working with county Farm Bureaus and local residents, helping communities evaluate development projects concerning electric generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure.
The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation is the state’s largest general farm organization, encompassing 86 county Farm Bureau organizations and almost 88,000 member families statewide. Highland County Farm Bureau leaders are active on state and local action teams working on legislation, regulations and issues that impact agriculture and its relationship with rural, suburban and urban communities. Locally, more than 700 member families belong to the Highland County Farm Bureau.
Submitted by Darlene Hare, administrative assistant, Adams, Brown, Clermont and Highland County Farm Bureaus.