Editorial: Vail’s light-green mountain | VailDaily.com

Editorial: Vail’s light-green mountain

Vail Daily Editorial Board
Vail CO, Colorado

Four light bulbs?

As far as respected energy expert Randy Udall is concerned, that’s the most the wind turbines proposed for Vail Mountain will illuminate.

Vail Resorts has aggressively marketed the environmental initiatives it has undertaken in recent years: buying wind credits, serving organic food in its mountain restaurants and its green-as-can-be EverVail project. In fact, the company has at its Front Range headquarters held major press conferences ” starring governors and congressmen ” to announce each of its green programs.

But along with the apparently narrow environmental benefits of wind credits, four light bulbs is a bit disappointing from a company that has been positioning itself as a ski-industry leader when it comes to worrying about its impact on the Earth.

Four light bulbs seems to be proof that the real energy behind Vail’s windmills, which would tower 30-feet above the Eagle’s Nest area, is marketing. The turbines are more about being seen than being green.

Vail Resorts deserves some credit for bringing alternative energy into its deeply climate-dependent operations. The company should also be applauded for the “energy layoffs” it announced to its employees on Thursday. Vail Resorts will try to reduce its energy consumption 10 percent companywide.

But the company won’t be able to call itself an environmental leader until its windmills, solar panels or hydro-plants power four chairlifts or four restaurants rather than four 100-watt light bulbs.

We hope to see a more ambitious green program from the company that, while it drives the economy of our valley, has everything to lose from climate change. That means we’ll go down with Vail Resorts if its future alternative energy programs are as unaggressive as it currents efforts.

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