The Sierra Sun reported on Dec. 1 that skiers are not choosing resorts based on environmental friendliness. Duh! Let’s hear it for the skiers who are doing the right thing, choosing ski areas based on the skiing experience, cost and location, not on obscure criteria determined, measured and briefly reported by self-appointed watchdogs. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly support properly directed environmental activism.
Civilization is doing some pretty bad things to the environment. Ski areas and other businesses make both positive and negative contributions. We should fix the bad things and encourage the good ones.
But the public is uniquely unqualified to decide whether a resort is good or bad. These “report cards” are useless as a consumer guide because they condense into a single letter hundreds of measurements, opinions and subjective criteria. I don’t know why one area got an “A” and another got an “F” but I suspect that the causes of lower grades include not only misbehavior but also late paperwork and personal relationships with evaluators.
Who decides whether it is more important to use green power or build fewer roads? How much impact does each type of sin have on an area’s ranking? How many points did a well-intentioned resort lose because the bureaucracy denied a permit for an environmental improvement? What is the actual difference between the environmental impacts of an “A” resort and an “F” resort? Might a low-ranked ski area actually be environmentally friendlier than an acceptable factory, highway or societal trend? If a business is harming the environment more than it is benefiting society, then it is the responsibility of our elected leaders and their paid staffs to study the problem in detail and influence behavior through regulation, permitting, taxation, incentives, fines and other mechanisms. Environmental alliances should target government and voters on this matter, not consumers. It is unrealistic to expect individuals to boycott businesses based on criteria they are neither equipped nor sufficiently informed to understand.
The Truckee Donner PUD Board received misleading information from its staff regarding the costs of the proposed coal power plant the staff is recommending it buy into. At the meeting on Nov. 29, the manager of the company selling the power contract admitted that the plant would “certainly” have to install a facility to pipe carbon monoxide emissions underground to reduce climate warming effects. This would raise the cost per Megawatt-hour from $35 to $60. At $60, many other cleaner types of electric generation become competitive, such as conventional natural gas and combined cycle natural gas. The staff is covering this fact up.
Several board members said they wanted to avoid putting future board members in a bad situation by forcing them to buy expensive power. But this 50-year contract will do exactly that; commit the PUD to a contract with no cost ceiling whatsoever. All future added costs for new environmental regulations will be passed on to the PUD. Also, if the plant breaks down, we still have to pay on the debt for building it. It is a very one-sided contract and the board is rushing to a decision to avoid a California law that takes effect on Jan. 1 prohibiting them from buying dirty coal power.
Even worse, the PUD doesn’t have a strong energy conservation plan in place where they help owners improve their building lighting, windows, motors and insulation. Such a program would be less expensive than new power and would produce very low environmental impacts. This bias toward new power sources seems wildly irresponsible to me. Other utilities in California and other Western states have such conservation programs in place.
The staff and board seemed to not be impressed by the dozens of citizens who asked them to not buy a part of this risky coal plant. I think a recall may be necessary if the board will not make their staff produce honest information about this proposed contract. Please show up at the final meeting on Dec. 13 and voice your concerns. Maybe they will listen this time. A recall election and a referendum will be divisive.
My name is Donna Jones and I have had children in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District for 13 years. Both of my children are high achievers. They have always been honor students and have plans to attend medical school. They both play multiple sports, so they know how important it is to use their time wisely, getting homework and extra school assignments done on time.
Although I feel they have learned many of their work ethics from myself, they would not be the students they are without the wonderful hard-working teachers that we are blessed to have here in Truckee. However, I often wonder how they can make ends meet in our ridiculous high-rent district. They give, we take. Now it’s our turn to help them get a fair contract.
Many of these teachers are also coaches, and most do not get any additional pay. They put in extra long hours after school and weekends traveling and encouraging our kids to achieve their goals. These teachers do this for their love of teaching. Please help support our hard-working teachers to get the pay they deserve. Now is the time for giving. Let’s give to our teachers.
Please help me with my search. Our hearts are broken and we need to get our lives back in order. Sometime around the end of October, my wedding ring went missing. There is great sentimental value as a symbol of our bond. I had put it in the pocket of my coat while working and that’s the last we’ve seen of it. I believe that it may have fallen out in or around Joe Coffee downtown. I know it seems like a long time since we lost it, but it took awhile to put together that it may have actually ended up outside our home. It is two rings soldered together, gold with diamonds. If you have found it, you may have wondered about its owner and how upset I am. This ring means so much to us and we are willing to provide a reward for its return. I hope that this amazing community can help bring our ring back to us. We can be reached at 587-6003 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Laura and Joe Mello
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