Construction Projects To Aid Planet

In Keene, workers are building a bridge over a busy highway. The bridge will be for the exclusive use of people walking or riding a bicycle. Near Brattleboro, electricity will soon be generated by a long-standing dam on the West River. A similar project is bring proposed in Keene.

“The bridge will definitely be open by November, probably this summer,” Rhett Lamb told the Valley Post in a telephone interview June 14. He runs the city of Keene's planning department. The bridge will allow pedestrians and bicyclists to cross Route 101 without worrying about being hit by a car or truck. A similar bridge was built in Keene in 2012. Photos of that bridge are at:

www.ValleyPost.org/2013/03/18/keene-photos-new-bikeped-bridge-new-food-c...

Construction of both bridges was funded by government programs that exist because of the advocacy of grassroots group like the Bike-Walk Alliance of New Hampshire: www.bwaNH.org. Similar groups exist in Massachusetts and Vermont. They have web sites at www.MassBike.org and www.LocalMotion.org/vbpc. A group that advocates throughout Massachusetts for better sidewalks, crosswalks, and other improvements for walkers has a web site at:

www.WalkBoston.org/who-we-are/mission

Walking and riding a bicycle reduces obesity. Treatment of obesity-related health problems for people without health insurance costs taxpayers billions of dollars a year.

Walking or riding a bicycle, rather than driving, is good for the environment. Cars and trucks cause climate change, which the world's leading scientists say is a major threat to earth's ability to support human life.

Sometime this month, electricity will start going onto the grid from two longstanding dams on the West River near Brattleboro. They are in the Vermont towns of Townshend and Jamaica. The electricity-generating project was built by workers employed by Eagle Creek Renewable Energy Corporation. Together, the new facilities will produce 3.1 megawatts of power.

In Keene, a group is proposing a similar electricity-generating project on an existing dam in the city. The Keene city council has agreed to work with the group, and met with members of the group earlier this month. The group's web site is:

www.WestStreetHydro.com/Links_Documents.html

About 86 percent of the nation's electricity comes from fossil fuel and nuclear power plants. Nuclear power is a major cause of climate change. That's because of the fossil fuel emissions caused by construction and deconstruction of nuclear power plants, mining and transporting nuclear fuel, and transporting, guarding and storing nuclear waste. The nuclear waste at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant near Brattleboro (the reactor closed in 2014, thanks to a grassroots protest movement) must be protected by armed guards 24 hours a day for the next 1 million years, according to the federal government.

Spending one dollar on energy efficiency programs like Efficiency Vermont saves approximately three times as much energy as spending one dollar on nuclear power generates. That's according to a 2005 study by Amory Lovins in the journal Nuclear Engineering International. The dollar spent on energy efficiency also creates more jobs than the dollar spent on nuclear.

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