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Protect Local Democracy and Advance Climate Action

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Forests have to be at the forefront of our climate strategy,” according to Climate Chief Melissa Hoffer. Yet, when towns try to reasonably regulate to protect forests to preserve carbon sequestration, they are sued by companies with deep pockets and an army of lawyers.
By donating, you can help fight the lawsuit brought by multinational energy company, AMP, and the state's largest private landowner, Cowls, against the Town of Shutesbury. This is more than Shutesbury’s fight; if we lose towns across the state also lose. The path will be legally cleared to prevent any municipality from having local regulations to protect forests and wetlands in order to advance climate mitigation!

Urgent Action Needed!
The multinational energy company AMP Energy and large landowner W.D. Cowls are suing Shutesbury in pursuit of massively destructive industrial solar development that would clear-cut hundreds of acres of our important forest and pose serious threat to our sole drinking water supply.

International and national experts have documented that to prevent the worst of climate change. In June 2023, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts launched a “Forests as Climate Solution” initiative. Science is on our side by the lawyers and vested interested are determined to undermine that in court

Through this aggressive action, they are thumbing their noses at our new solar bylaw that was nearly unanimously approved at a packed town meeting last January. This bylaw introduces safety requirements that protect our critical water resources from lithium-ion battery contamination and degradation by flooding, erosion, and sedimentation, which are likely consequences of massive clearcutting for solar development.

Despite the resounding vote to pass this bylaw, on April 3, AMP and Cowls filed a lawsuit against Shutesbury, claiming that the bylaw unreasonably restricts the companies’ ability to profit from their industrial solar installations in the town.

The significance of this lawsuit cannot be overstated and will determine Shutesbury's fate and the fate of many rural Massachusetts communities for many years to come.

We must not allow these immensely wealthy corporate bullies whose primary goal is profit, not climate solutions, to negate the laws democratically passed by our communities. If they are allowed to proceed they will be emboldened to ignore local laws in any rural community and pursue aggressive clear-cutting of thousands of acres of forests for solar development throughout the state and beyond. The two companies already have two large-scale projects on deck in neighboring Amherst and Pelham.

To see what these projects could look like, we need look no further than Williamsburg, MA, where AMPs disastrous solar installation led to massive, irreparable environmental damage and a $1.14 million dollar fine for violations of virtually every environmental protection requirement related to the project. Most recently, in Duanesburg, New York, AMP is constructing a 65-acre solar project with a battery storage component. So far, a work stoppage, collapsed solar panels, massive structural failures, and subcontractor liens for unpaid bills of $2.3 million reveal a project in disarray with little to no oversight.

What Your Donation Will Help:
$40,000 (likely much, much more!) in legal fees: Funds will be either donated to the Town of Shutesbury legal defense fund or transferred directly to the town’s legal counsel. All funds raised will be to support legal counsel, strategy, and representation.


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Jill Buchanan
Shutesbury, MA

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