Bill aims to block Pine Barrens solar farm

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WADING RIVER -

State lawmakers could this week decide the fate of a controversial plan to clear hundreds of acres of trees in the Pine Barrens to make way for a solar farm.

The state Assembly is expected to vote on a bill making 800 acres of undeveloped land in Wading River, and another 100 acres in Mastic, part of the Pine Barrens. The designation would restrict development rights and possibly put an end to two commercial solar farms that were planned for the sites.

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine says the locations should have been designated Pine Barrens years ago. But some environmentalists say a solar farm may be the best option for the property since it is zoned for housing and/or commercial development.

Both the state Assembly and Senate are expected to vote on the bill sometime this week, though it remains unclear whether the legislation will pass both chambers.

National Grid did not issue News 12 a statement on the Pine Barrens designation.

Lawmakers are hoping to get the legislation on the governor's desk before the summer break.

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