By Renu Bostwick
Although I commend the Selectmen for being supportive of the decisions of an appointed commission, the Selectmen have a greater responsibility to the people of the Town who elected them. To provide adequate oversight to all commissions, especially in times of controversy, fully understanding the facts of the commission’s decisions is essential in order to serve the people the Selectmen represent.
I was shocked to learn that when deciding to appeal the legal decision allowing solar panels on First Parish in the Historic District, the Selectmen did not know exactly how much money is being spent on legal fees and also did not understand that the proposal for the solar panels in question adhere to all existing Historic District Commission guidelines for solar panels. Blind loyalty to what the Superior Court called the “arbitrary” decision of the appointed Historic District Commission simply sends the message that any decision is always valid. Having already supported the commission admirably by challenging the solar panel lawsuit beginning in 2016, now that the judge has ruled in favor of the solar panels, it is time for the Selectmen to stop wasting Town taxpayer money with additional legal challenges.
As to why reducing carbon emissions is more important than loyalty to the decision of the appointed Historic District Commission, you have to understand that carbon dioxide put into the atmosphere now stays in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. Not reducing our carbon footprint is causing devastation now. Climate change cannot be reversed in our lifetime, but ever-worsening catastrophic effects can be mitigated by cutting emissions as quickly as possible. It is hard to justify that aesthetics outweigh carbon emissions reductions when faced with the ever larger wildfires to which we send brave firefighters to die. It is hard to justify that aesthetics outweigh carbon emissions reductions when faced with hurricane victims in Florida now and many others in the recent past, who must flee their homes and pay for reconstruction. It is hard to justify that aesthetics outweigh carbon emissions reductions when faced with longer mosquito and tick seasons, more frequent and longer heat waves, ice storms, downed trees and electricity outages even right here in Bedford.
Dear Selectmen – If climate change has not affected you personally yet, it will. I urge you to please consider the health and safety aspects of this decision! You will be able to tell your children and your grandchildren that you cared enough about their future to take the next right step. Knowing the urgency of reducing carbon emissions as quickly as possible, I ask on all our children’s behalf for the Board of Selectmen to withdraw the legal appeal on solar panels in the Historic District!