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100+ Ski Resorts Sign Climate Declaration Calling for U.S. Policy Action on Climate Change
Today, 108 ski areas from around the U.S. joined with 40 other businesses, Ceres and its Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP) project in signing the Climate Declaration, which calls upon federal policymakers to seize the American economic opportunity of addressing climate change.
These ski areas join iconic American businesses, including General Motors Co., Nike and Levi Strauss & Co., as well as founding signatory Aspen Snowmass, in asserting that a bold response to the climate challenge is “one of America’s greatest economic opportunities of the 21st century.”
“It is obvious that the success of ski business operations depends greatly on climate, which is why we are so invested in programs that keep our slopes sustainable. But our actions alone won’t be enough without strong policies,” said Brent Giles, chief sustainability officer for Powdr Corp of Utah, parent company to Park City Mountain Resort in Utah, Copper Mountain in Colorado and Killington Resort in Vermont. “We welcome legislative and regulatory initiatives that will reduce carbon emissions, incentivize renewable energy development and help improve our resiliency in the future.”
Ski areas in the U.S. employ approximately 160,000 people and generate approximately $12.2 billion in annual revenue. The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) calculates that visitors to U.S. ski areas spent $5.8 billion at those resorts over the course of the 2011-2012 season. Preliminary figures from the 2012-2013 season show an 11 percent increase in visits year-over-year, to an estimated 56.6 million visits this season.
“The past ski season was a banner year for our guests and for our resort, but we can’t gamble on the weather in an uncertain climate. We have to take action,” said Jerry Blann, president of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming. “Resorts have made tremendous efforts to raise awareness on the issue of climate change and to adjust our operations to reduce carbon emissions and manage resources efficiently. We need Washington to take those strategies seriously through stronger policies.”
“Ski area environmental programs have come a long way in 20 years, particularly in terms of their level of sophistication, demonstrated results and their concerted focus on addressing climate change,” says Geraldine Link, NSAA public policy director. “Signing the Climate Declaration is the next logical step for our members to get solutions to scale.”
“We welcome the ski industry as allies in our work on climate and energy issues and as signatories of the Climate Declaration. This is an industry that cannot be off-shored, and they are calling for climate action here at home,” said Anne Kelly, director of BICEP. “Policymakers must realize that the old political paradigm of ‘It’s the environment or the economy; pick one’ is a false choice. American businesses are ready to combat climate change, and policymakers should join them in leading the way.”
Over the course of an ongoing campaign organized by Ceres and BICEP, other leading businesses, as well as individuals, are encouraged to sign the declaration.
Visit EcoWatch’s CLIMATE CHANGE page for more related news on this topic.
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As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.
Speaking during a conference in Washington, DC in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted "model legislation" that states across the nation have passed in recent months.
AFPM represents a number of major fossil fuel giants, including Chevron, Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.
"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Morgan, citing Dakota Access Pipeline protests as the motivation behind the aggressive lobbying effort. "We're up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet."
Big Oil is now using its political power to try and criminalize protests of oil & gas infrastructure.— Friends of the Earth (@foe_us) August 19, 2019
"This legislation has potential to punish public participation and mischaracterize advocacy protected by the First Amendment."https://t.co/bmiHjONEhy
The audio recording comes just months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that would punish anti-pipeline demonstrators with up to 10 years in prison, a move environmentalists condemned as a flagrant attack on free expression.
"Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said after the Texas Senate passed the bill in May.
As The Intercept's Lee Fang reported Monday, the model legislation Morgan cited in his remarks "has been introduced in various forms in 22 states and passed in ... Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota."
"The AFPM lobbyist also boasted that the template legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support," according to Fang. "In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the version of the bill there, which is being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Even in Illinois, Morgan noted, 'We almost got that across the finish line in a very Democratic-dominated legislature.' The bill did not pass as it got pushed aside over time constraints at the end of the legislative session."
Many of the state bills restricting the right to protest have been "drafted by companies and passed through groups like ALEC, the secretive group of corporate lobbyists trying to rewrite state laws to benefit corporations over people." @greenpeaceusa https://t.co/ZxpTjWdrwT— Stand Up To ALEC (@StandUpToALEC) May 6, 2019
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.