To the Editor, Over the past few months I've been working with residents to support their efforts in bringing responsibly sited renewable solar energy to Warwick. This work has reignited my hope that we can govern with transparency, cooperation, and
To the Editor,
Over the past few months I’ve been working with residents to support their efforts in bringing responsibly sited renewable solar energy to Warwick. This work has reignited my hope that we can govern with transparency, cooperation, and shared power.
Over the past year developers started moving into Warwick proposing the development of new solar fields on forested land. Several residents became alarmed and began to study the issue and engaged a larger group of residents in pushing back on these plans. The Principal Planner (at the time Lucas Murray) and the City Council had crafted a draft solar ordinance that was lacking in environmental protections and local input.
As a resident, I worked with members of this group led by Jane Austin and Bob Oberg and wrote letters, came to City Council meetings, talked to decision makers, and did what I’ve done so many times before - advocate to the people in power, and asked them to listen to the people impacted by their legislation, protect their interests, and consider the health and safety of future generations by making changes to the proposed solar ordinance.
As an environmental activist I’m all too familiar with the typical outcome of such advocacy --decision maker’s silence and inaction.
Instead, Mayor Frank Picozzi, newly-appointed Planning Director Tom Kravitz, and the City Council, all took action immediately to course-correct and heed the activists' concerns. Together all parties involved forged a new path forward, putting a moratorium on new solar projects until a responsibly crafted ordinance that reflects the values of the people who live in Warwick was agreed upon.
This was an amazing and unusual outcome for those seeking change and acknowledgement from their elected officials. Those involved were overjoyed to learn that through this process the government they elected can be responsive to the power of the people. Although the process and the ordinance have not been completed, everyone has learned that they can build a renewable energy infrastructure without destroying vital forested land, and that solar development can happen safely and responsibly. Personally, I’ve learned that as a state elected official, my own local city government is a wonderful example of what government can and should be.
We all have the choice to share our power democratically with inclusion and transparency. This is an example of hope for the rest of our state and the country as a whole. Thank you to all involved who have restored hope that what we are all working for can be accomplished with transparency and cooperation through listening to the people. I’m proud to call Warwick my home and look forward to all that we can accomplish TOGETHER!
Dist. 31 Senator Kendra Anderson
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