POCONO TOWNSHIP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Monday night Pocono Township Board of Commissioners voted in favor of conditionally approving the Swiftwater Solar Project.

The project involves deforesting nearly 500 acres of land and covering it with solar panels.

“By clear-cutting, the mountain and the sheer quantity of earth disturbance, hundreds of animals, hundreds of species of animals will lose habitat and most likely perish,” stated Alex Jackson, executive director at Brodhead Watershed Association.

Alex Jackson is the executive director of Brodhead Watershed Association. He opposes the project stating the site is highly inappropriate for this kind of industrial development.

The solar field will be placed on Pocono manor property near the planned Margaritaville Resort.

According to project plans, it would generate over 30 years of annual revenue averaging nearly $200,000 per year, that money will be split between Monroe County, Pocono Township, and the Pocono Mountain School District.

Pocono Township manager Taylor Munoz says the township does take environmental concerns very seriously and that’s why they have ordinances in place.

“The applicant was reviewed against our subdivision and land development ordinance, our zoning ordinance, our stormwater ordinances, then they’d go through that additional later of dep review,” stated Munoz.

If dep grants its final approval Munoz says the project will be built in phases with stormwater protections.

“Those drainage basins are constructed in such a way that they retain the stormwater and they are actually designed to allow the stormwater to percolate down into the soil and then recharge that way,” explained Munoz.

If DEP grants its final approval the project could start as early as this year.