Keep the news coming! Your ad here for only $30 a week.

Friday, May 06, 2005

It's not about the oil. It's about the future.

Pat O'Donnell, president and CEO of the Aspen Skiing Co., makes a surprising and yet welcome argument against ANWR drilling in this column originally published by High Country News.

Why should the snow skiing industry care about ANWR drilling? That's exactly the point of O'Donnell's piece. The straight answer is that his business and even his entire industry will disappear if an energy policy built around ANWR drilling is allowed to proceed. That policy ignores the pressing truths of global warming, which threatens to turn hundreds of ski hills into and billions of dollars in skiing revenue into clouds of dust.

"By deciding to drill in the Arctic Refuge," O'Donnell writes, "we're saying we're unwilling to take any additional steps, no matter how modest, to reduce our dependence on oil, steps that would coincidentally address the greenhouse warming problem and improve national security."

Drilling for oil in ANWR, he writes, perpetuates our old, oil-dependent ways when we should be developing alternatives. And much more is at stake than just the joy of skiing. Also likely are water shortages, more wildfires, more heat-related deaths, a variety of ecological disruptions, and all the economic fallout that goes along with these.

"So this isn't just about the caribou. It's about how we're selling out our children by ruining their chance for the kind of prosperity we enjoyed. It's about how we're selling out our industry and all the other aspects of the West's ski tourism economy ... because we're too lazy or arrogant to make any sacrifice at all, even the relatively painless ones."

When business leaders like O'Donnell begin to stake out positions like this, it's a sure sign the political winds are shifting.

[Technorati tags: ]