LTE: Peters-Manning on the environment

To the Editor:

I am Courtney Peters-Manning, and I am running for Hopewell Township Committee to be a force for environmental preservation, maintaining our rural character, and limiting development. I currently serve on the boards of FoHVOS and the Lawrence Hopewell Trail, and I understand that our open space and natural beauty is one of Hopewell Township’s biggest assets.

As an environmental lawyer by training, I know that these are tough times for environmentalists, as nearly every day we hear of the federal government’s open attack on common sense environmental measures. My opponents say that there is nothing the we can do at the local level to fight climate change.  I couldn’t disagree more. All change starts locally, and we all have a role to pay in fighting climate change and protecting our environment. This is especially true at the level of municipal government. As a member of the Hopewell Township Committee, I would propose two environmental initiatives for our community.

First, green energy aggregation allows towns to pool their electric customers to increase their purchasing power (with an easy opt-out if desired). This leads to lower prices—and more renewable energy—than single customers could get on the deregulated electric market. It’s like shopping in bulk at a warehouse store. Second, Community Solar is a state program that allows customers to access solar energy if they can’t—or don’t want to—locate solar panels on their homes. Customers purchase “subscriptions” to remotely-located solar projects (on a municipal building, parking lot, community center, etc.), and then getting a credit back on their utility bill.  With both, customers save money while fighting climate change. I would fight to implement both in Hopewell Township.

Finally, we need to address our deer overpopulation.  A healthy population of deer is about ten per square mile.  Hopewell Township has over 150 per square mile.  This is not only a danger to motorists and a nuisance to home gardens, but it is an environmental disaster for our forests. We cannot solve this problem by fencing in more and more acreage; we need to reduce the herd. I would make this a top priority at the Township Committee and would advocate at the county and state level for additional funding to address it.

My family and I moved to Hopewell Township many years ago precisely for its rural character, beautiful open space, and plentiful hiking and biking trails.  I have the experience and the will to help keep it this way.  Please vote for McLaughlin and Peters-Manning for Hopewell Township Committee on November 5.

Courtney Peters-Manning,

Candidate for Hopewell Township Committee

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