It looks like our old friend reporter Bruce Finley from the Denver Post is adding to his extensive body of work covering questionable claims of the environmental industry. The latest dispatch from Finley describes the efforts of the Mountain Pact, which seems to be a loose affiliation of Western mountain towns that claim to be harmed by global warming. Included in this group’s Steering Committee are the bastions of conservative thought (ok not really) – Aspen, Vail, Durango, the Lake Tahoe Region, Park City, Utah. (Read: all the towns too rich to care about the rising cost of energy.) From the Mountain Pact website:
“Mountain communities are feeling the impacts of a changing climate. From reduced snowpack and protracted droughts to increased flood risk and more severe wildfires, towns and taxpayers across the West are bearing the growing financial costs of adapting to a changing climate.”
Because of the perceived damage done to these small towns by the energy industry, Mountain Pact affiliates are sending letters to Congress this week hoping to extract royalties from coal producers for problems such as “catastrophic wildfire, the spread of the mountain pine beetle epidemic, and reduced snowpack.” Of course the proximate cause of these plagues is climate change, specifically climate change caused by coal fired power plants, which happen to be one of our safest, least expensive, and most reliable means of electricity production (what do you really think powers all of those Teslas?). Nevermind that the mountain pine beetle epidemic is actually exacerbated by such environmental shenanigans that prevent forestry companies from working with the state forestry folks to maintain healthy forests.
While their logic for seeking reparations from the coal industry is a bit fuzzy, it is crystal clear that the Mountain Pact overlooked some of the most obvious reasons that these mountain towns are struggling, such as a complex patchwork of changing regulations that make it harder to mine natural resources in those areas, the geographic remoteness of these towns, and Americans’ changing preferences about where they spend their tourism dollars. And, let’s not forget that these rabidly liberal towns have created such high regulatory bars for small businesses that it’s difficult to believe anyone would even try to set up shop.
We find it ironic that signatories to the Mountain Pact mission such as Aspen, with its dazzling array of massive second homes and an airport packed to the gills with private jets on any major holiday, seem quick to point the finger at producers of American energy, when the people populating those cities are some of the most intense personal consumers of energy. Maybe they should look in the mirror before they start working to make energy more expensive for the middle class.