Gold Medal Olympians Urge U.S. Senate to Pass Climate Legislation This Year

Bode Miller, Julia Mancuso, Ted Ligety, Hannah Kearney Cite Impacts of Climate Change and Threats to Winter Sports and Local Economies

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Firsthand, we are seeing shorter seasons, declining snowpack and earlier snowmelt.

Washington, DC (Vocus) April 22, 2010

Four well-known U.S. Olympians today 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 U.S. 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.

Note to Editors:
Photos of the four Olympians and a PDF of their letter are available upon request.

About World Wildlife Fund:
WWF is the world’s leading conservation organization, working in 100 countries for nearly half a century. With the support of almost 5 million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, halt the degradation of the environment and combat climate change. Visit http://www.worldwildlife.org to learn more.

Learn more about WWF’s efforts to secure Senate passage of clean energy and climate legislation at http://www.ActForOurFuture.org.

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