Fighting for the Waxman-Markey climate bill may be sexy and hip (and worthwhile), but here in the Roaring Fork and Vail Valleys of Colorado, without much fanfare, we are engaged in some trench fighting to solve climate change.

Vail ColoradoA view from one of the ski lifts at Vail in Colorado.Courtesy Pravin8 via FlickrThe battle: trying to elect progressive board members to the rural coop (Holy Cross Energy) that supplies power to  the heart of ski country and and two of the largest, and most high profile, ski resorts in the United Sstates — Aspen and Vail. It’s a tough fight because nobody knows about it. Yet the stakes are huge: climate change threatens this major part of colorado’s economy, and the utility has bought into a big chunk of yesterday in the Comache 3 coal plant.  

Meanwhile, Holy Cross’ board president recently said that “civilizations have historically thrived in warmer periods as opposed to ice ages.” (Perhaps, but it’s not clear that Holy Cross’s two largest customers, both ski areas, or the thousands of employees that work there, would concur…). Never mind climate change, that coal fired power is going to get pretty pricey very soon. 

The fight goes on mostly behind the scences because utility politics has never really grabbed the public’s fancy. (It doesn’t help that Holy Cross failed to mention the board election or the opportunity to run for a seat in its newsletter to customers. And then there’s the fact that the coop sends out rebate checks DURING the election period, an act that almost certainly favors the incumbents.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Nonetheless, the fight–for democracy and climate stability–goes on, and if you want more details, check out this recent article from the Colorado Independent: Ski-country electric co-op prez hit for anti-Ice Age, pro-coal rhetoric.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations DOUBLED!