BUTTE — In a unanimous decision, the Butte-Silver Bow zoning board rejected the proposal of the Basin Creek Solar Project.
The zoning board members expressed that they could not get behind the project because of its size and the proximity to neighbors.
"To me, this was just not fair to the neighbors, it’s not fair to anyone who’s built there, who wants to build there, anyone who has land there, it’s just not fair and for them to have to look at that I, as a member of the board, cannot force that upon them," said Tyler Shaffer, a Zoning Board member.
Julie Jaksha, a member of the zoning board, expressed that the project was not right for the proposed area.
"I do recognize that green energy is something that we’re moving towards in the United States, and I do agree with that, but I do not think that it has to involve destroying farm-ranch land to do so, I do not think that we should destroy our forests and our wildlife habitats to do so, and our family and our homes that are impacted from that development," said Jaksha.
Jaksha also mentioned that during her research she found that solar is not the trend of the future.
According to the U.S. Energy information administration, renewable energy's share of US electricity generation will grow from 20% in 2020 to 23% in 2022. By 2022, large-scale solar capacity growth will exceed wind growth for the first time.
The zoning board members cited that the feelings of the opponents outweighed the proponents of the project, only mentioning the proponents near the end of the discussion.
"There were a number of neighbors who appeared and testified in support and we are not discounting their testimony either reaching our decision," said David Wing, The Zoning Board Chair.
A representative of the solar project commented that an appeal of the decision would be taken to District Court.