Truckee’s Jeremy Jones to lobby Congress to regulate carbon pollution |

Truckee’s Jeremy Jones to lobby Congress to regulate carbon pollution

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times
Truckee's Jeremy Jones, in this 2008 self-portrait in Alaska.

ASPEN, Colo. and#8212; With all the mountains heand#8217;s climbed and ridden down, Truckeeand#8217;s Jeremy Jones should be undaunted when he visits the treacherous terrain of Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. this week.

Jones is part of a delegation that will lobby members of Congress Wednesday to take action on climate change. He and professional snowboarders Gretchen Bleiler of Aspen and pro skier Chris Davenport will speak up for the winter sports industry as representatives of the nonprofit group Protect Our Winters (POW).

An energy bill that would have capped greenhouse gases died in Congress last year, the group has noted, and parts of the Clean Air Act that deal with carbon have been and#8220;gutted.and#8221;

The POW representatives are frustrated that greenhouse gas regulation often gets branded as a killer of jobs. The delegation wants to make sure Congress realizes that the snow sports industry and#8212; everything from ski makers to resort operators and#8212; also creates hundreds of thousands of jobs and generates billions of dollars of commerce.

Davenport, Bleiler, Jones and Aspen Skiing Co. Vice President of Sustainability Auden Schendler will be featured Wednesday at a reception hosted by Rep. Jared Polis and Sen. Mark Udall, both Democrats from Colorado, at the Capitol Visitor Center. On Thursday, they will be featured speakers at a press conference held by the Natural Resources Defense Council. That will be an opportunity for POW to deliver its message to a broader audience.

Chris Steinkamp, executive director of POW, said professional winter athletes are excellent and#8220;influencersand#8221; on climate change. They have greater and#8220;star powerand#8221; and can get a message across more effectively than other presenters, simply because people listen to them, Steinkamp said. He noted that Aspen High School students listened wide-eyed when Bleiler spoke to them on climate change during the Winter X Games earlier this year.

POW was formed in 2007 by Jones, one of the best big mountain snowboarders in the world. Bleiler and Schendler are members of POWand#8217;s board of directors, as is Penn Newhard, owner of Backbone Media in Carbondale. Davenport regularly works with POW and he was a spokesman in the Aspen Skiing Co.and#8217;s Save Snow campaign.

Steinkamp said winter sports athletes naturally rally around the issue of saving snow and easing climate change.

and#8220;The thing about POW is that we want to be a platform for pro athletes to enable their environmental activism,and#8221; Steinkamp said. and#8220;So whether it is getting them into schools to talk with students, going to D.C. with them, writing op-eds with them, or something as simple as giving them the added tools for media appearances, pros are such positive influencers that its important to us that we help give them that platform.and#8221;

POW wants to and#8220;disruptand#8221; the usual message that is delivered to members of Congress by lobbyists for the fossil fuel industries, he said. POWand#8217;s representatives will deliver a letter to the U.S. House and Senate that opposes legislation to restrict the Environmental Protection Agencyand#8217;s ability to limit carbon pollution.

Schendler said the Capitol Hill trip is exactly the kind of activism that the Skico supports. Ski resorts can do more to help the environment by pushing for legislation to regulate carbon rather than and#8220;greeningand#8221; their ski areas, he said.

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