Image by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay

This is not unexpected as recent posts have shown this is the way the vote would go.

After weeks of debate, St. James Parish officials adopted a temporary halt on new large solar complexes in the parish to take a closer look a rules for the land-intensive operations. The St. James Parish Council voted 6-1 for the moratorium despite pleas from the backer of a 3,900-acre solar project in Vacherie that has rankled neighbors. Entergy Louisiana’s top executive urged the council not to approve the moratorium because of the poor signal it would send to investors. Environmental and community groups also opposed the measure as backward looking that would end up leaving the parish behind. Some officials who supported the halt said the moratorium is an effort to update land use rules that weren’t designed to account for solar farms. They also pushed back against what they called false claims on social media that this halt and review was really an attempt to permanently block solar operations.

Stopping solar is a fear as the industry has a start but is facing opposition as it does not bring jobs and takes valuable farm land.

The temporary moratorium follows the lead of some other rural parishes in Louisiana, like Pointe Coupee, Washington and Tangipahoa, which have previously adopted bans to update their own development rules. Utilities and other big power users are increasingly turning to solar as they look to add low-carbon sources of electricity to meet long-term government and corporate climate goals. To do that, they need big tracts of land in the state’s far-flung places. Tripp Roy, director of development with D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments, which is behind the solar farms proposed in Vacherie, said he supported the analysis the parish was pursuing and wished to help parish officials develop new siting rules. But Roy, who has been speaking to the council for months, asked for a shorter moratorium to no avail.

Entergy was going to buy the power from this site.

Under current plans, Entergy would use the power from the proposed DESRI farms. Residents who would live near the DESRI project in Vacherie just west of the La. 20 corridor supported the moratorium. They said farms would be too close to homes, lower property values and, in this case, they claimed, pose a flying debris risk during major hurricanes. Others however, questioned why the parish hadn’t taken similar concern and time with large petrochemical projects proposed primarily in the parish’s northern areas, where St. James’ Black population is most concentrated. The parish’s land use lawyer said the moratorium wouldn’t take effect until next month after legal notice and other requirements are met.

A good question on why it is OK for refineries in Black areas and not solar in White ones. Both take up land but one pollutes but builds jobs.

St James blocks solar
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