Dear Editor,

I attended the Goodland Township meeting that was reported on in the paper regarding solar farm concerns. I listened as neighbors urged the township to take action to severely restrict i.e. make unfeasible, solar farms in the township, which seems is no longer in their hands.

I am happy that my neighbors are concerned with issues of soil contamination. They expressed concern around the possibly of solar panels and batteries being sources of contamination if they are hit by the increasingly powerful storms, (a result of climate instability) and spilling contaminants onto the ground and into ground water. These residents ignore that we are being impacted now by soil contamination in conventional farming practices in the form of atrazine, one of the most widely used herbicides in Michigan, used on corn and other crops.

Atrazine is banned in Europe, including in the country where it was previously manufactured by Syngenta in Switzerland. Syngenta was recently sold to a Chinese government owned company. Atrazine is very slow to break down and is water soluble, traveling over time into the water table. The company settled a $105 million class-action lawsuit for contamination of public water systems by this chemical.

Michigan does not currently test rural wells for atrazine, from what I could determine searching around the internet. Who pays for scientific studies seems to be a significant factor in whether a chemical comes out smelling like a rose or a chemically- induced sex-changed frog.

Atrazine is widely regarded in numerous peer reviewed scientific studies to be an endocrine disrupter, meaning it interferes with the function of hormones and has caused frogs to change from male to female. It is very possibly a significant factor in the sharp decline in frogs and other amphibians world wide. Although the company has used aggressive tactics to smear and discredit the scientists who have researched its effects, there is a substantial body of evidence of its potency in this regard. It is a suspected carcinogen, connected with prostate, ovarian and breast cancers. How many know someone dealing with these diseases? I reckon all of us. The meeting opened with Supervisor Cischke expressing love and sympathy for a neighbor dealing with cancer. There is an ongoing assault on regulatory agencies, and who do you think that benefits? You don’t have to go all the way to China to be poisoned by greed and negligence.

My point here is that the objections of these Goodland citizens to a perceived threat to a beloved rural lifestyle ignores how that lifestyle is doing harm in the present.
Transitioning to solar panels across some number of acres, one would hope, would be less acres sprayed with a known danger, as well as be a move toward stabilizing the climate while we figure out how to transition away from our addiction to fossil fuels and petrochemical agriculture.

— Miriam Marcus