Michigan Senate supports solar as part of ag preservation

Michigan’s Senate has recently passed legislation that would allow farmland enrolled in the state’s preservation program to be used for solar development.

Bill sponsor Kristen McDonald Rivet tells Brownfield Senate Bill 277 would codify guidance currently in place for the Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program.

“It creates predictability and is a space that, in a bipartisan way, we’re able to walk that line between renewable energy and the protection of our farmland,” she says.

If passed, the Senator says the legislation does not preempt local zoning and she expects it to support smaller solar projects.

“We were looking at probably more like 50 acres as opposed to the hundreds of acres that are proposed in different conversations—this is mostly about the family farm,” she explains.

McDonald Rivet says her family’s farm was lost when her father was young, and she hopes the bill will protect other’s legacy.

“I completely reject this idea that it’s a one or the other proposition, we can protect our farmland,” she says.  “We can make sure we have deep protections, particularly for our heritage farmland, and do solar and wind.”

The measure is part of Senate Democrat’s renewable energy plan for the state which McDonald Rivet says will be debated in the coming weeks.

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