Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor


News, Nov. 30: “Distant Flare”

At the crossroad

Is an 800-acre solar facility in an agricultural area surrounded by communities and within sight of Turquoise Trail the right choice? New Mexico’s 2019 Energy Transition Act’s goal is to preserve a livable climate. However, careful consideration, and sometimes redirection, will be required to reach this goal successfully.

The Utility Scale Solar Facility proposed by AES Corporation and Rancho Viejo Limited Partnership will include 39 semi-trailer sized, lithium-ion battery containers. Lithium batteries are a known fire risk by the industry, given there is no means of extinguishing a lithium battery fire, just suppression and containment until it burns out; which in this case would be in our dry, windy desert environment surrounded by residential communities. Other considerations include habitat destruction to countless wildlife species and risk of contamination to the groundwater that many rely on. AES and the private landowner will certainly reap large profits from this deal, but at what cost to Santa Feans and our native environment?

At each crossroad in meeting our goal of more environmentally responsible and sustainable energy sources, solar facility locations that minimize additional environmental impacts and threats to our communities, e.g., by utilizing current industrial and brownfield sites, should be the decisive factors.For more information, email SantaFeCounty4ResponsibleSolar@yahoo.com.

Camilla Brom, Santa Fe

Serious problems unseen

The doctor in San Marcos may be displeased to see an 800-acre solar farm as her neighbor, but the aesthetic blight is trivial; the serious problems of such technologies cannot be seen and yet can be foreseen. For example of the former, how do solar panels damage living soil by unnaturally shading the landscape? (On Dec. 2, SFAI hosted Dr. Lydia Jennings, who referred to several in-progress studies investigating this.) And to cite a foreseeable problem, providing electrification via unlimited fuel and without air pollution reduces motivation to end things detrimental to humans and other Earthlings: Artificial Lighting At Night (ALAN), online/device addiction, mining and manufacturing, constant calories, mental and physical maladies of modernity, and rapid long-distance communications and transport—generally, further separation of humanity from evolved, unbridled nature that we are adapted to inhabit. After a lifetime of doing well without complex technology, our species is now cornered, and conformed (if not enslaved) to it. Standing on the precipice, facing existential doom and technology’s autonomy, we needn’t seek to avoid inducing climate changes while extending this dysfunctional system, but consider what is necessary to free ourselves of technological slavery and salvage an indefinite future on a viable planet.

Jorge Clúni ,Santa Fe

Screw her view

You know what actually is at risk of catching fire? Our beautiful, ecologically rich woodlands, which have been burning at historic rates due to greenhouse gas emissions—which this solar project will help mitigate. No mention that we’re in the middle of a climate crisis and desperately need all the clean energy we can get. She doesn’t want her view changed and is making up hysterical arguments about batteries catching fire. And you report this credulously?

Nik Philipsen, via Twitter @nikphilipsen

Six questions for bcc

Before commissioners vote on permitting AES’s proposed solar facility and battery energy storage system (BESS):

1. Has a professional engineer certified that AES’s BESS will not fail? (When a PG&E BESS caught fire Sept. 20, 2022, nearby residents could not leave their homes, open windows or run ventilation systems. AES BESSes have also failed.)

2. If panels catch fire, what’s the plan? (You cannot de-energize solar panels.)

3. How much water will AES use to construct and cool its facility?

4. Who will test soil for leached chemicals? What’s the clean-up plan?

5. Who will receive the generated energy?

6. When facility profits wane, either AES will replace panels and batteries—or abandon the project. Recycling such hazardous waste is expensive. To prevent our county’s paying decommissioning costs (if AES abandons the project), will commissions require AES to post a bond?

As a model, here are a Virginia commission’s conditions for a solar facility (with no BESS): https://tinyurl.com/5n7ucrn8

Since 2000, AES has been penalized $30 million for environmental, workplace safety and marketing offenses; and a 2018 report ranks AES fifth among toxic air polluters. https://violationtracker.goodjobsfirst.org/parent/aes-corp, https://peri.umass.edu/toxic-100-air-polluters-index-2018-report-based-on-2015-data. Before permitting AES’s project, how will commissioners ensure that its hazards have been mitigated?

Katie Singer, Santa Fe

Letters, Nov. 30: “Feedback Loop”

In defense of the fork

I find The Fork highly entertaining and haven’t seen any notable misuse of two-syllable words in my reading of it, This dude has a unique take on food issues and continues to be a great advocate for people who are inside the food industry in our City Different. Are we a city or are we a village? We strive to be both. Such a take on community that welcomes eccentrics and refreshing, unique perspectives on tired subjects might be misunderstood by someone who doesn’t have wit enough to realize that she has the freedom not to read a column she personally dislikes. Along with the art market, restaurants are an important part of the tourism industry that is our livelihood. That column has had some outstanding humorous as well as literary moments. Perhaps Ms. Tefo could keep her jaundiced eye on the very readable calendar of events and political/judicial coverage so praised by her and leave the entertainment provided by your excellent publication to the rest of us.

Cheryl Bartlett, Santa Fe

Hard to come by

I love The Fork. Well written and witty, two things that are hard to come by these days.

Wynn Holt, via Facebook

3 Questions, Dec. 7: “With Honeymoon Brewery’s Ayla Bystrom-Williams”

Good looking out

She is a lovely person and really looks out for folks. I have had moments where she definitely made me feel safe as a lady out on the town in her establishment.

Adrienne Harvitz, via Facebook

Honeymoon vibe

Great place to come and chill.

Steven Walter, via Facebook

Letters to the Editor

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