Copake officials disappointed following Hecate Energy meeting

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COPAKE – Officials from the Town of Copake were hoping to hear some positive news from leadership of Chicago-based Hecate Energy when they met with them on Thursday.

Hecate wants to build a 60-megawatt solar farm at Shepherd’s Run despite objections from the town.

“We tried to impress upon Hecate Energy’s representatives how devastating their project would be to our rural community as it is currently sites, scaled and designed,” said Town Supervisor Jeanne Mettler. She said company leadership came to the session “without any new plans, designs, ideas or considerations on how [it] plans to reduce the impact of its proposed massive industrial solar project on Rural Copake and Columbia County.”

Mettler said it is “not just the impact on the beauty and character of our community – which Hecate continues to trivialize. It’s also the adverse impact on Copake’s protected natural resources, farmland, wildlife habitat, property values and economy.” She said tourism and agriculture “are the backbone of Copake and Columbia County’s economy.”

Hecate wants to build on several noncontiguous areas along Route 23 and 7. Officials said in order to minimize visual and environmental impacts, they are conducting site surveys on some 900 acres to site the project; however, the footprint is anticipated to be about 255 acres inside the fence.

Mettler said after their meeting that Deputy Supervisor Richard Wolf and she gave Hecate officials “an earful. We just hope that they actually heard us, and more importantly, will rethink the project.”