Posted: 10/26/2022 5:43:07 PM

Modified: 26/10/2022 17:42:53

I write about the state House of Representatives campaign between Republican Chip Harrington and Democrat Aaron Saunders in Hampden’s 7th District which now includes the towns of Belchertown, Pelham, Shutesbury, Ludlow, New Salem, Petersham and Wendell.

I recently received a mailing from Chip Harrington in which he proclaimed that he “is the only real environmental candidate!”

The Environmental League of Massachusetts and Clean Water Action reviewed the two candidates in this race, their positions on the issues and their actions on environmental priorities and chose to endorse Aaron Saunders.

Responsible energy siting is a clear example where Aaron is in tune with many Western Massachusetts residents and city officials. Here are two excerpts from Aaron’s solar energy incentive vision: “Clear cutting of forests and woodlands for large-scale solar installations should not be encouraged through funding, programs, tariffs , grants, credits or any other state means Trees, through carbon sequestration and storage, are recognized as an essential part of our carbon reduction goals Municipalities must be protected against technical costs and legal challenges related to defending appropriate bylaws and local decisions Small rural communities often lack the resources to sustain protracted legal battles waged by deep-pocketed developers Our communities should not be heavily armed to enable irresponsible solar development due to lack of funding”.

Aaron also pledged to ensure that we have a “strong investment in land conservation” from the swtate to help support our efforts to conserve farms, forests and wetlands in the region. Aaron is driven to find solutions to the unfair and underfunded Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) paid by the state to small rural towns that have large public land holdings within their boundaries. Having spent my entire career in land conservation, I support Aaron Saunders for state rep.

Dan Leahy


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