With no “crop insurance,” snow farming is a risky and precarious business. It depends entirely on the weather and nature’s ability to deliver the white fluffy stuff on which mountain ski resorts depend.
That’s why it was hugely distressing to learn that Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is exercising his power over the Democrats’ precarious majority to strip the Biden Administration’s latest infrastructure bill of provisions that would help roll back climate change.
Climate change is flooding his state, parching the West and turning the annual fall nail-biting about snowfall in ski towns into a full-scale anxiety attack.
While the early high-elevation snows this month and a forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are inspiring optimism in ski towns that winter will bring healthy snowpacks this year, future forecasts are gloomy.
The Environmental Protection Agency reports that power-generation that uses coal and natural gas produced 25% of 2019’s climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions. If combined with reductions in the 29% of emissions that emanate from cars and trucks, the nation might have a fighting chance to help roll back the impacts of climate change that grow fiercer every year.
The United States ranks second only to China in its contribution of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
Manchin wants to eliminate incentives for utilities to switch from burning fossil fuels to using wind, solar and nuclear means to generate power.
As snow farmers, ski towns know all too well that luxurious deep snows bring prosperity, while scant snowfalls put their very survival on the brink.
The Wood River Valley is lucky that Sun Valley Resort invested in a mountain-wide, season-saving snowmaking system after seeing the town-emptying impacts of a season that inspired a bumper sticker that said, “I skied Squirrel—and survived!”
However, even snowmaking relies on water supplies that are dwindling.
A Manchin spokeswoman told The New York Times that he is concerned about using tax money to pay private companies to do things they are already doing. His focus on cents at the expense of the water supply makes no sense when half of the nation of is either on fire or suffering from dehydration.
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