Editor, The Spotlight;
Our Bethlehem community is a relatively small town with ever increasing challenges to address. Town Board member, Bill Reinhardt, is among those community members helping to educate and guide sound environmental decision-making, as with the proposed Kinder-Morgan gas pipeline that is planned to go through several towns surrounding and including Bethlehem.
Reinhardt’s position on the Drinking Water Protection Law is commendable. In his letter in the May 27 Spotlight, he outlined the due diligence efforts he followed to ensure the law’s areas of weakness were known. Most importantly, Reinhardt pointed out that the law only “discourages” the Kinder-Morgan pipeline. While he publicly supported the law, he made it clear he seeks more comprehensive protections for our community and raised the question of whether a gas pipeline running past our homes, businesses and schools is what we even want. We all need to do the careful analysis exemplified by Reinhardt to ensure that our drinking water, the air we breathe, and the food we eat is safe.
Reinhardt’s words speak clearly and he shows informed decision-making. But his actions even speak louder than his words. I credit Reinhardt for dedicating his retirement to supporting the development of energy efficiency and renewable energy alternatives by advocating for the soon-to-be built solar farm on town land which is projected to save the town approximately 5 million dollars in energy costs over the next 20 years; streamlining the residential solar permitting process in the Town of Bethlehem; advocating for measures to prevent environmental and human disasters related to the oil trains that pass through communities throughout the county; and by co-founding and directing the non-profit Solarize Albany.
And, congrats to all community members who are following his lead by putting solar panels on your rooftops, adding native and bee-pollinating plants to your lawns, driving more efficient vehicles, and walking and biking around town to get errands done.
I turn to Reinhardt, and so should concerned community members, for guidance when making critical environmental decisions that will have lasting effect on our community.