Some people have a hard time connecting the dots. Rosemary Therriault presents an example with her Feb. 10 letter to the editor that solar farms aren’t worth the toll they take on trees. She quotes the American Lung Association statistics that 87 percent of Rhode Islanders are breathing unhealthy air, and adds that solar panels don’t give off oxygen, which we need to breath. She is correct on both but totally wrong in identifying the culprit.
It is not a lack of oxygen as identified by Ms. Therriault that is causing unhealthy air. It is ozone and particle pollution driven by emissions from power plants and extreme heat as a result of climate change that the American Lung Association says is responsible for the unhealthy air in Rhode Island. Read more at https://www.lung.org/local-content/_content-items/about-us/media/press-releases/rhode-island-receives-failing.html. You might also look up their position that “The American Lung Association supports policies and incentives that will encourage the development of clean, renewable energy resources that are not combustion-based, including, but not limited to wind, solar and geothermal.”
One might also note ALA’s website reference to environmental justice. It is communities of color and lower income in Rhode Island, not residents of East Greenwich or Hopkinton, who suffer most from environmental injustice at the hands of those who can’t connect the dots.
Hopkinton can do its part for air quality by insisting only the best wind and solar projects are permitted and turning away the others.