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We Can Work Together

March 09, 2022 - 05:00
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My thanks to the writers of the Democratic column, who have asked me to join them even though I identify as an Independent voter. Now retired after a long career as a clinical psychologist, I miss giving my opinion and will be happy to indulge anyone who asks for it!

My most heartfelt interest lies in promoting situations where people work together toward a common goal; where who you voted for is less important than how you’re working right now to solve a problem in your neighborhood or community.

A recent example has been Bandera’s response to the possibility of an enormous (1100+ acres) solar “farm” being built just a few miles from the center of town. A great deal of the planning for this project took place out of the public eye, so few citizens were aware that the Bandera ISD board had agreed to support the solar company’s application to the State of Texas for a multimillion-dollar property tax exemption. Once the facts emerged, however, concerned citizens worked together to persuade the school board that their support for the tax break should be reversed. Score one for Bandera!

One notable aspect of the entire process has been the dedication and civility of the people working on this project. It isn’t about whether you love or hate solar energy; it isn’t about whether the political party you support favors renewable versus oil and gas energy sources. The lack of partisan rancor has been refreshing. Hopefully this cooperative approach will allow Banderans to move on to the next stage of our fight against the industrialization of our town.

Unfortunately, the lack of a tax break may not stop this project from going forward, so we need to interfere with the permitting process. Montague Solar cannot build this farm without the approval of both ERCOT and the Public Utilities Commission of Texas. I suggest we all start contacting these two entities, as well as our State Representative, Andrew Murr, and our US Representative, Chip Roy, to let them know how strongly we oppose the industrialization of Bandera against the wishes of its citizens. All you need to do is make a quick call or write an email, as frequently as possible, because it’s volume more than content of communications that makes an impact on politicians. You might remind the politicians that we count on them to support us in our local matters, not just on the “big” stuff!

Let’s show other small communities how to band together and preserve their way of life in the face of corporate greed that ignores the humans who will be impacted by the drive for profits. There are plenty of other places to put a solar farm, but, as the company representative replied when I asked why they didn’t put their project in a more isolated area, “It would cost too much”. Oh gee, I’m sorry, we’ll sacrifice Bandera so your bottom line won’t suffer!

Here are some phone numbers to get you started. If you prefer email or postal mail, please search under the name of the entity or the Representative for alternate ways to contact them. Don’t let them industrialize Bandera!

ERCOT: (512) 248-3004

PUC-T: (512) 936-7000

TX Representative Andrew Murr: (512) 463-0536

US Representative Chip Roy: (830) 896-0154 - Kerrville office

(202) 225-4236 - Washington, DC office

Susan Hull, PhD, moved to Bandera from San Antonio in 2019, after 40+ years of clinical practice as a psychologist. She now works with horses instead of humans and finds it quite refreshing.