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Why do rural communities oppose solar farms? They feel disproportionately impacted by them, survey finds

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  • Staff Report 

A recent survey by Professor Richard Stedman at Cornell University shows a complex division in views regarding the installment of large-scale solar farms, particularly in rural areas of upstate New York.

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While there is widespread support for solar energy in general, in line with New York State’s goal of achieving 70% renewable energy by 2030, resistance emerges when it comes to vast solar facilities spanning hundreds or even thousands of acres, according to RochesterFirst.com, who took a closer look at the study.

Stedman says this resistance stems from a sense of carrying the “rural burden” where rural communities feel they are disproportionately impacted by the drawbacks of such developments.

These communities perceive that they bear the cost of these projects, including loss of scenic vistas, access, wildlife impacts, and farming impacts, without reaping commensurate benefits.