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Proposed solar panels in Columbia Co. draw opposition from some neighbors

Columbia County is on the map for a proposed solar energy project, though some neighbors are not sold.
Published: Feb. 23, 2022 at 10:49 PM CST
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COURTLAND, Wis. (WMTV) - Columbia County is on the map for a proposed solar energy project, though some neighbors are not sold.

The Langdon Mills Solar project, as it is officially known, promises not only clean energy but also economic development for the area near the Town of Courtland, its website says. According to the project timeline, developers plan to spend this year applying for state permits and get the site up and running by 2024.

Dozens of opponents have organized unofficially as “Courtland residents meeting for Samsung solar concerns,” pointing to the company they say is the project’s developer.

The group met for the sixth time Wednesday at Dave Paul’s workshop, with writing a petition against the project on their agenda.

“We are so afraid of losing our agricultural land,” Paul said. “That to us is so important. The next thing is, what’s it going to do to wildlife?” Paul said.

Langdon Mills opened an office in nearby Cambria. Doors were locked Wednesday afternoon, and according to a spokesperson, no one was available to speak with NBC15.

Its website however showed solar panels will go on private land under long term lease arrangements. The builders also touted the project as steady income for farmers and wrote “solar development and traditional agriculture can coexist side by side.”

Paul remains worried about the local economy. “How are these crops going to be replaced,” He asked. “Are we going to be shipping our wheat and our corn and our soybeans in from other countries just because we don’t have it here?”

He added, he has already seen the social impact of the proposal, including “divide” within the community.

JoAnn Wingers, chairperson for the Courtland town board, said as of now the town has no official ties with the developers. She added that whatever deals are made will happen between developers and private landowners, not the town.

Board Supervisor Danelle Sadoski said the decision to move forward with the project belongs to the state and the Public Service Commission (PSC). NBC15 did not hear back from the agency Wednesday.

Langdon Mills website says it is planning to host an open house session for the solar panel project on Monday, Feb. 28 at the Cambria fire station.

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