Intellect before emotion
To the editor:
The recent letter by Peter Wirth in support of the construction of solar farms was well-written, informative, and convincing. In his writing, he followed the guide of decision-making which has served me well over my 70-plus years of life. And when I strayed from it, the results were problematic. That guide is “I before E” – or “Intellect before Emotion.”
This does not mean to ignore emotion. After all, it is a powerful part of our make-up as human beings. But emotions come and go. They vary with the moment. They can come on very strongly in one moment and fade as a mist the next moment. But our intellect is a constant.
And for those who allow, their intellectual domain can broaden and deepen. It is a more reliable basis for decision-making than emotion.
An in-our-face example of allowing E to come before I is the traffic-flow mess we experience in the I-690 / I-481 interchange and the Exit 3E. The severe bottleneck that crams an overload of traffic past the Dewitt Wegman’s and along both Route 5 through Fayetteville and Route 92 through Manlius might have been avoided.
As I understand it, the plan during construction of I-690 was that it would extend eastward into the Town of Manlius with on-off ramps along the way. The beginnings of that extension is the reason the ‘exit to nowhere’ exists at the eastern terminus of I-690.
But that extension was never built. Why? The local leading voices of the day didn’t want that in their backyard. The objections are pretty much the same whenever a project is proposed to address growth and change. Those arguments almost always fall into the category of ‘I like things just as they are.’ Some even go further and are ‘I like things just as they used to be.’
They are emotional reactions that generally fail to allow reality to have a strong voice.
The Town of Manlius would be much better off today if their leaders planned for the future instead of planning for yesterday, where their emotions lived.
We can’t turn the clock back and undo the tangled mess that decision has left us with. We cannot completely undo the mess that the elevated portion of I-81 has left us with – and in trying to address it we hear the same ‘I like things just as they are’ type of arguments. We cannot undo the global warming / climate change mess that failure to act even a few decades ago has left us with.
But if we allow ‘I before E’ to be our guide and accept the reality of what extracting countless tons of carbon from the ground and pumping it into the atmosphere has brought us we can more wisely plan for the future instead of planning for yesterday.
Just as we are now paying the price of the actions by the decision-makers of yore, our descendants will pay the price for our decisions today. That price, however, won’t be snarled traffic. It will be, in very real terms, a matter of life impacted by climate change devastation.
Rev. Bud Adams
Solar discussion is about land stewardship
To the editor:
Peter Wirth recently offered analogies comparing solar power generation facilities to the need for public water and roads. His analogy of public water for New York City in the 1800’s is far different than positioning solar-generation facilities in the year 2021. Water is one of our most vital human needs; solar power is not. Water collection and transmission has very strict requirements because gravity and topography dictate where reservoirs and pipelines can be located.
The Manlius discussion about solar power is not an argument about climate change or the greater good. The disagreement between impacted town residents and solar power developers is about where to place these facilities and under what conditions. It is about good stewardship of lush farmland and planning for the future when thousands of panels and ancillary equipment will be removed. Stewardship of the land sometimes includes just letting land serve as a habitat for flora and fauna or to provide food for people and animals. It is also not right for anyone to destroy a homeowner’s view of a beautiful field. There is greater flexibility when considering where to locate solar generation facilities than the placement of either roads or water reservoirs. Progress often does mean we need to accept change, but this change should not override common sense and responsible land use.
Salt Springs Road
Petition to the Manlius Town Board
To the editor:
In 2019, New York State, in recognition of the crisis facing us all, signed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) into law. The CLCPA mandates that 70% of electricity generation must come from renewable sources by 2030 — less than nine years away. As part of that, 6,000 Megawatts of solar energy capacity must be online and serving New Yorkers by 2025. That is just three and a half years away.
In spite of this timeline, strong opposition has been mounted against a proposed project on Salt Springs Road in Manlius because of such things as destroying the pastoral view, negatively affecting property values and some misunderstood and misleading ideas about solar panels.
Community solar projects undergo significant scrutiny. There’s no fast-tracking or pushing them through. They are vetted at both the town and state level, by the local planning board and the local residents, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Breaking ground takes years, not months. Permits are needed, funding and tax implications must be worked out, and the process of getting the power from the solar farm to the power grid is another regulatory hurdle.
I am proud to support the initiatives of the town board of Manlius in taking the lead on making this a climate smart community and for looking to the future to ensure an environmentally sustainable climate for our children and grandchildren.
Submitted by Peter Wirth
Climate Change Awareness & Action
Editor’s note: This petition was submitted to the Manlius Town Board and signed by more than 350 Manlius residents.