So a couple of months ago I told yall about a project thats threatening a forest on my ancestral homelands here in southern Maryland. I just want to give yall an update on whats going on and ask that you help me. PLEASE!
I first want to just begin by saying that I am a member of the Cedarville band of Piscataway. For those who do not know, the Piscataway are the indigenous peoples to the land currently known as Maryland and Washington, D.C. (Most of us reside in southern Maryland.)
Southern Maryland is still (for now) one of the counties in Md that haven’t been bulldozed to death by developers who want to build neighborhoods, shopping centers, multimillion dollar homes. (However, it’s developing fast).
I'm proud to live in one of the more quiet areas in outside of D.C. where you can still (almost) get lots in the woods and visit state parks and forests that overlook the Potomac.
Its the only place I’ve ever really lived and I want to stay here. I love where I live because WE have always been here. &I love the creeks rivers and forests. The Eastern woodlands is truly beautiful.
Unfortunately, after a pipeline and compressor station proposal, there is yet another project proposed to threaten home. But theres something different about this one.
Georgetown University wants to build a 32 MW solar farm. Sounds great tho, right? Well, they want to build it on top of a sacred forest in Nanjemoy- right here in southern Maryland.
The project is expected to deforest 240 acres of forest. What makes it even worse is how significant the forest is. The @audubonsociety has declared it “an important bird area” as well. (&We call it sacred for a number of reasons.)
What has me angry is how the the people of this area were never consulted- including Piscataway people. No space was made for the local community to discuss what to do.
To fail to consider the voices of the indigenous people of these lands is anti- indigenous and completely embarrassing of the renewable energy industry.
We have seen this behavior from fossil fuel companies. Black and indigenous folks do not like the fossil fuel industry.
They have destroyed the homelands of so many indigenous people. (see #NoDAPL for an example. There are plenty of other examples out there, too)
What I would hate to see is for the renewable energy industry to mimic the selfishness and ignorance of the fossil fuel industry.
Very rarely does the fossil fuel industry consider the input of local communities on their projects. Rarely do they consult tribes, either. Very rarely do they deeply consider their environmental impact. (lol its ff aka extraction so of course they dont)
THIS is where the renewable energy industry COULD do something different. And better! It can be something beyond what the fossil fuel industry offered us. We want our voices heard!!
In NO WAY do I want to oppose renewable energy. I briefly worked in the solar industry and I truly support all efforts to reduce fossil fuel dependence.
However, I’m highly disappointed to see some the remnants of the same extractivist model used by the fossil fuel industry sweeping its way into renewable energy development.
I AM in opposition to any irresponsible and/or harmful decision making that could damage our communities and lands (and also the future of an industry that can help us.)
We, multiple members of my communit(ies) support Georgetown’s interest in solar infrastructure development, but fail to see why destruction must happen to forests on our ancestral homelands....w/o our permission.
I expect better from the renewable energy sector & think that a just transition to renewable energy MUST include new ways of approaching indigenous + other frontline communities.
One of my good friends, @KathleenBrophy, puts it beautifully, “We cannot claim to succeed in a just transition without a paradigmatic shift in the way energy developers approach, consult and seek consent from indigenous communities and all other frontline communities..."
"...This project, and others around the country, provide us with the opportunity to make sure that justice, especially for the communities affected most by energy development, is at the center of the transition to renewables..."
"...If the development of the renewable energy sector relies on the exploitation of black, brown, and indigenous communities, then we have not succeeded in evolving past some of the most abusive ills of fossil fuel extraction.”

I want the voices of indigenous people to be heard. You are, afterall, on stolen Piscataway land.
With that said, to destroy the land/ water/ forest on someone’s ancestral homelands is to commit cultural genocide.

You can call this a stretch. It isn’t. This is further erasure of Native people.
What should GU and Origis, their developer, do instead?

They should be finding every alternative site they can that does not threaten the environment & ecosystem or occupy the homelands of indigenous people w/o tribal consultation.
We are requesting Georgetown University and Origis to immediately halt any project work and begin consulting the Piscataway community to discuss the project and site alternatives. (inbox me for contacts, GU).
Ex: abandoned fields, farms with land that is not arable, farms w/ farmers who can use solar as a cash crop, etc. (Theres a TON of farms in Frederick County + Carrol County, MD!! Don’t even get me started on Virginia!)
There are a lot of other places in the DMV area to choose from if they’re looking to keep it local.
“Why can’t GU put solar on their rooftops?” They can- just not 32MW. It’s impossible. An additional site is absolutely necessary for them to meet their goal of installing such a big project.
It is also more expensive to install rooftop solar. Utility scale solar is 93 cents/watt. Residential is $2.85/watt. So rooftop solar is 3x more expensive than utility scale solar.
So that means that this project they've proposed is 3x cheaper than installing solar across rooftops on campus. So it makes a lot of sense that they would want to have 32 MW project on a farm.

I personally think GU has the money to invest in ~2MW on their own rooftops (if they haven’t already) and installing 30 MW on solar farm. But 30 MW of solar regardless needs to be on a farm.
But having SOME rooftop solar will benefit the university and the industry overall for 3 reasons.
1: Branding purposes- GU Clearly wants to be a leader for sustainable college campuses.
Having solar on their rooftops makes this at least look believable/ fit their claims to be sustainable.

2: Aesthetics- Solar panels look cool! They look futuristic and I love it!
3: To Normalize solar- People in the past have complained that they find solar panels to be “ugly” (lol ur wack, btw.) Normalizing the look of solar panels would make the mass shift to solar easier in the future because they would just be considered “normal- looking”...
..and a average part of homes and buildings. Normalizing the look of them would eliminate one of the barriers ren energy faces.
Anyways- Regardless of the $, the environment should NOT be suffering because of renewable energy projects. (Or any kind of project.) Indigenous people should not have to fight for their lands like this.
If the development of the renewable energy sector relies on the exploitation of black, brown, and indigenous people, then we have not succeeded in evolving past some of the most abusive ills of fossil fuel extraction.
LT- ty @KathleenBrophy <3
As for siting, what the ren energy industry needs is to allow or for more transparency in the siting process.
From this point forward, We. Want. The. Community. To. Be. Consulted. We want tribes to be consulted. & we want public comment to be considered before proposal is passed.
(Being inclusive of public commentary + consultation would possibly allow for the siting process to be easier in the long run bc it would allow for community members to decide together where the project can/should go.
This would also create a healthier, consensual relationship. #CONSENT IS EVERYTHING, YALL
While it’s estimated that the project will eventually reduce more greenhouse gas emissions than the forest will, solar (or any) energy projects are NOT AN ALTERNATIVE TO NATURE. THEY CAN NOT REPLACE AN ECOSYSTEM.
Removing 240 acres of forest is IRREVERSIBLE DAMAGE and will displace any wildlife that lives there and threaten biodiversity which also threatens our traditional plant medicine (aka #CulturalGenocide).
(This forest is also home to lots of paw-paw trees. So FOR THE SAKE OF THE PAW PAWS, PLEASE. 💔 )
#Geoergetown and #Origis are playing a dangerous game. Not only are they on the verge of making a good industry look bad, but they are also well on their way to showing us just how anti- indigenous they are.
So far, I’ve talked about what THEY can do. Here is what I need from YOU:
First, please SHARE this thread. I need people to know whats happening. Especially if you're in the DMV area.
2: COME TO THE HEARING! It will be NEXT WEDNESDAY, February 27, 2019 at 7pm. It will be held at the Charles County Circuit Court

200 Charles St, La Plata, MD 20646
And a lil poster <3 Please share!
If you're in the DC area and need transportation, message me.
Contact the Office of Sustainability at GU at tell them to oppose this project.
Phone: (202) 687-0933
[email protected]
GU President John J. DeGioia
Office of the President
204 Healy Hall
37th & "O" Streets, NW
Washington, DC 20057-1789
Tel: (202) 687-4134
So this has all been really hard on my nerves and has taken some physical tolls on me. I don't really feel good lol So forgive me for mobilizing at a slower pace. Been working on this with small group.

& As time goes on, we learn something new about this project.
For those of you in support- please attend the hearing!

They will be counting those in favor of/ in opposition by counting the amount of people who testify.
The hearing has been extended and will be held on April 11th at 6pm. Additional comments will be accepted until April 17th. More info: 
Wanishi to all who have helped us fight this battle. Feels better to know we aren't fighting alone.
You can follow @lulspacebby.
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