Four well-known U.S. Olympians called on the Senate to pass comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation this year. The athletes – Bode Miller, Julia Mancuso, Ted Ligety and Hannah Kearney – each competed in the 2010 games in Vancouver and each is a gold medalist in skiing events.
In an open letter to the Senate, the skiers note the impacts of climate change that are already being experienced and how those changes threaten the future of skiing: “Firsthand, we are seeing shorter seasons, declining snowpack and earlier snowmelt.”
These changes, which, according to a major US government report are likely to worsen, put at risk local economies and water availability. “At stake is more than the future of skiing,” they wrote. “Many communities across the country depend on winter sports and related tourism to support their local economies. Furthermore, the water supplies of millions of Americans depend on snowpacks. Climate change impacts on snow therefore threaten not just winter recreational activities, but the economic well-being of many Americans.”
Due to the urgent and costly threat of climate change, the athletes called on the Senate to pass a comprehensive clean energy and climate bill this year. The House of Representatives passed such legislation last year and a bipartisan Senate trio – Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) – is expected to introduce a compromise bill next week.