116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Energy giants like NextEra Energy of Florida and Clenera Energy of Idaho have set their sights on replacing thousands of acres of farmland and wildlife habitat in Linn County with solar panels. If Industrial Solar is allowed to grow in Iowa, it will have a devastating impact on the U.S. as Iowa ranks first in corn production, second in soybean production, first in pork production, first in egg production and fourth in beef export value. These products feed our nation and keep our economy strong with agricultural exports to other nations. Iowa produces three of the top five agricultural exports from the U.S.
In addition, Iowa leads the nation in ethanol and biodiesel production. Ethanol and biodiesel are renewable fuels that reduce our reliance foreign fuels and avoid national crises such as the 1979 oil crisis that crippled U.S. transportation and required gasoline rationing in several parts of the U.S. In 2019, the U.S. petroleum dependence on foreign oil was 4 percent, it would have been 10 percent without ethanol production. Iowa agriculture and related industries provide 20 percent of jobs in Iowa. The ethanol industry alone is cited with providing 200,000 jobs in the U.S. and Iowa leads the U.S. in ethanol production.
Industrial Solar replaces farmland and wildlife habitat. This starts with grading the construction site for optimized drainage and disturbs or eliminates the topsoil. It was during this phase of construction that only a half inch rain turned the Rappahannock River — which feeds Chesapeake Bay — brown in a 200 acre solar project. Metal pilings are driven 20-80 feet in the ground puncturing topsoil, clay and sand, and potentially limestone; bypassing these natural filters and providing a direct path for surface water to enter natural aquifers that provide drinking water.
The proposed Duane Arnold Solar project in Linn County sits squarely on the Cedar River and may increase the chance of flooding that devastated Cedar Rapids and surrounding communities in 2008. Industrial solar would offset the renewable and green contributions of ethanol and biodiesel. Biofuels have the potential to offset the green house gas emissions by more than 100 percent relative to fossil fuels because the plants convert carbon dioxide to oxygen as they grow.
NextEra Energy of Florida is proposing to convert 3,500 acres of farmland in Linn County into Industrial Solar. In past projects, NextEra violated local ordinances and didn’t follow the construction plan it filed in NextEra’s Vermont Industrial Solar Project. Please contact the Linn County Board of Supervisors and oppose this project.
Ted and Julie Hoffmann live in rural Palo.