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July

14, 2016

Ms. Judith Judson
Commissioner, DOER
100 Cambridge St., Suite 1020,
Boston, MA 02114

Delivered via email to: judith.judson@state.ma.us

Dear Commissioner Judson:

A disgruntled abutter to a parcel of Cowls timberland in Shutesbury has joined forces with
Environmental Watch to send your office one or more protest letters claiming that our
lessees future solar renewable energy installations will destroy Massachusetts forests.

The solar renewable energy installation to which they refer will actually help save
Massachusetts forests and will benefit the town of Shutesbury. I am the 9th generation of
my family sustainably managing much of the same timberland since 1741. Our sustainable
forestry practices predate the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the United States of
America.

In Shutesbury, Cowls owns and manages about 3,000 acres of timberland. The Quabbin
Reservoir owns and manages about 3,000 additional acres for Bostons water supply. The
remaining approximately 3,000 acres in town is owned by private individuals and the
town.

Cowls has a long history of partnering with communities to achieve mutual goals. To
achieve mutual goals with Shutesbury, Cowls has been responsive to the towns requests
that we support land conservation, green energy production and its Green Community
status. Cowls in 2011, with MA Fish & Wildlife, put about 800 acres of timberland under a
Conservation Restriction, with support from Shutesbury town officials. In the next
calendar year we intend to put over 2,000 more acres under permanent protection,
ensuring permanent public access into the future.

Of the 3,000 acres Cowls owns and manages and on which we have allowed public
recreation in Shutesbury, we have decided to improve the viability of our timber business
and help Shutesbury achieve its green community goals by hosting a solar installation on
30 of these acres. We have been pursuing this effort with the town for the past 10 years.
To underscore our perspective we are working toward permanently conserving over

WD Cowls, Inc.
Commissioner Judson Letter re: Promoting Alternative Energy
July 14, 2016

80% of Cowls timberland in Shutesbury and putting a solar array on 1% of our property
owned in that community.

Shutesbury is a small rural community with limited infrastructure and opportunities to
grow its tax base. The town has no broadband Internet, no retail commerce, no large
commercial buildings such as shopping malls, on which to install large-scale solar projects.
About the only place for a substantial project in proximity to an electric utility substation
and three-phase power is this Cowls land in Shutesbury. We are delighted to help. And we
are grateful for the additional income to offset expenses of our land business.

By allowing solar renewable energy generation on forestland in rural communities, you
enable small towns to achieve major green community status and increase tax revenue
($50,000/year for Shutesbury in this case). By allowing property owners some chance for
return on the low-value assets they hold, you are keeping land businesses viable with
relatively temporary improvements. These solar installations are not permanent, and
when they are removed someday in the foreseeable future, trees can grow back.

The same people who are now protesting to you have spent the last year trying every
possible tactic to stop the Shutesbury renewable solar energy project. They cried,
wetlands wells drying up, endangered species, fracking, all of which proved to be
inaccurate. Then they started raising alleged Native Burial Mounds as an issue.

The Town of Shutesbury mandated that our tenant, the solar developer, engage an
archeologist who meets or exceeds the Secretary of the Interiors standards of
qualifications to identify and evaluate potential historic properties. The Town of
Shutesbury engaged its own consultant who meets these same standards to review this
evaluation. The developers team has now completed its report and it is being submitted to
the Planning Board this week. The professional evaluation is concluding that the mounds
identified are all from natural occurrences. In fact, I was on the ground during the study,
and I saw that the mounds identified turned out to be quite obviously the root balls of
storm- toppled trees. The expert historical archeologists conclude there is no basis for
claims of cultural properties.

As the Commonwealths largest private landowner, Cowls is proud to offer public
recreation on its timberland, to achieve the largest private conservation project in
Massachusetts' history (conserving 3,486 acres in Leverett and Shutesbury in 2011 with
MA Fish & Game); and to help Shutesbury grow its Green Community Status by hosting a
major solar renewable energy installation.

You must encourage green energy in rural communities. Its critical for energy
independence, and its critical that diverse income opportunities are available to farmers
and foresters in Massachusetts or else farms and forests will not be as sustainable. We
would be well on our way to energy independence if, like Cowls in Shutesbury, one percent
of all forested land were converted for solar.
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WD Cowls, Inc.
Commissioner Judson Letter re: Promoting Alternative Energy
July 14, 2016


Please dont pay attention to the abutters who are aggrieved by the fact that they will see a
solar array a mile into the woods when they trespass on our privately managed timberland
to walk their dogs. Please continue to encourage alternative energy in rural communities,
while making sure farms and forests have diverse options to achieve economic
sustainability.

Thanks for your consideration.



Cinda Jones
President & 9th Generation
WD Cowls, Inc., North Amherst, MA

Cc:

Boston Globe, Editor


Daily Hampshire Gazette, Editor
Town of Shutesbury Select Board
Town of Shutesbury Planning Board
Senate President, Stan Rosenberg, Commonwealth of MA
State Senator Ben Downing, Commonwealth of MA
State Senator Jamie Eldridge, Commonwealth of MA
State Senator Vinny deMacedo, Commonwealth of MA
State Representative Ellen Story, Commonwealth of MA
State Representative Mathew Muratore, Commonwealth of MA
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Department of Fish & Game
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Department of Conservation
and Recreation
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental
Affairs
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Department of Agricultural
Resources
Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation, Executive Director and President of the
Board
Massachusetts Forest Alliance, Executive Director and President of the Board
Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Office of the President and Executive Vice
President of Government Affairs

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