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Recap of Basin Creek Solar project before decision is announced

Basin Creek solar
Posted at 4:33 PM, Jul 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-08 18:33:38-04

The Butte-Silver Bow Zoning Board will announce their decision on the Basin Creek Solar Project on July 15. Here’s a recap of the previous meeting regarding the project.

On June 17, the Butte-Silver Bow Zoning board listened to the opponents of the project—

"So this decision that you make right now is going to set the precedent not only for the families that are directly affected now, but for the generations to come," said Lacy Johnson, a Butte resident that attended the meeting.

As well as proponents:

"You know what it does for us, it creates construction jobs. You might only say, well it’s only a few jobs, well I got twenty-five people that work for me; it’s creating work for us, it’s creating work for the future, for my kids. If we don’t continue to try to strive and keep adding growth to this community, our kids are gonna move away. We won’t see them; they won’t be here," said Jay Fortune, owner of Jay Fortune Construction.

The proposal for the massive 1,600-acre solar panel project will be built on private ranch land in South Butte.

Many of the residents against the proposal say their view of the landscape is at stake and that the solar panels will decrease their home value.

Wendy Grace said that instead of solar panels, the land should be developed as residential.

"All of the land around me which has been there since before I moved here seven years ago has all been bought up, which is concerning in some ways, but it speaks to the people wanting to get out of those cities and move west," said Grace.

However, proponents of the project said that this same conversation would be happening if a residential development was proposed instead.

Kumar Ganesan, a professor at Montana Tech, said that the solar panel project would be a step in the right direction for Butte and it will also bring more opportunities for students at Montana Tech.

"Green energy, everybody said, even the people who are not willing to accept the project said they like green energy, clean energy. I think this is one of the best opportunities for Butte and to put Butte on the map for creation of green energy," said Ganesan.

The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 15 in the Council Chambers.