Georgetown University is currently proposing to cut down 249 acres of Southern Maryland’s largest forest to build a large-scale solar facility. This forest is one of Maryland’s targeted ecological areas, meaning it is a conservation priority for the state. It is home to many at-risk birds as well as Tier II streams, the designation given to Maryland’s highest quality streams. Please click here to email MDE: protect Southern Maryland's largest forest.
As we know, forests play an important role in climate and water quality. They sequester carbon and are natural filters that stop sediments and other pollutants from reaching our streams and rivers.
While we support more solar expansion, we are very concerned with this and other proposals that replace our few remaining forests with acres of solar panels. Georgetown University could propose to build their solar field somewhere that does not requires the destruction of over 200 acres of biologically productive forest, like on rooftops and over parking lots, repurposing these impervious surfaces to provide clean energy.
The first public hearing about this project ran over time, and not every person who was there to testify was able to speak. Maryland’s Department of the Environment held a second public hearing on this project on Monday, May 13th. You can read about that hearing in the Maryland Independent, a southern Maryland newspaper.
You may also submit comments to the Department of the Environment until June 3rd. Comments can also be directed to Georgetown University, asking them to install their solar panels somewhere that does not destroy forest or degrade streams.