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Tuesday, August 23, 2011
POW athletes to talk to Congress in D.C.

By Megan Michelson
ESPN.com

POW founder Jeremy Jones at the nation's Capitol last year. Jones will return to D.C. in September.

Athletes from Protect Our Winters (POW) will visit Washington, D.C., on September 14 after Congress returns to session from a month-long break. POW founder Jeremy Jones, snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler, skier Chris Davenport, and Aspen Skiing Company's Auden Schendler will travel to the U.S. Capitol to deliver a letter to the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives that opposes legislation that restricts the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to limit carbon pollution.

This marks the second time POW has visited Washington to meet with lawmakers about climate legislation. Last year, Jones, POW Executive Director Chris Steinkamp and other snowsports industry leaders went to D.C to show the film, 'Generations.'

"When we were in D.C. last year, all the congressmen said, 'We never hear from the wintersports community. You guys need to come back as often as you can,' " Steinkamp told ESPN. "So we figured before the season gets underway, we'd make an annual trip out of this. And we'd bring some more fire power."

POW is working with the Natural Resources Defense Council to meet with key decision-makers in Washington. A list of who they will be meeting with has not yet been confirmed.

"We bring a pretty unique perspective to this situation," said Steinkamp. "The snowsports community is one of the few groups of people who are actually witnessing climate change. And we're coming from mountain towns where climate change is going to hit us the hardest. If we want them to fight for clean energy, they need to hear from us, and our perspective."

Bleiler recently sent out an email urging wintersports industry leaders and professional riders/skiers to sign the letter drafted by POW. "... The House GOP is now moving quickly to pass a bill that would permanently stop the EPA from regulating CO2," Bleiler wrote. "As a winter sports community, we're starting to see the effects of climate change already. Keeping these regulations in place is one of the last, and most effective chances we have to protect our lifestyles, our jobs and the economic vitality of our mountain communities."

There are actually several bills that deal with EPA regulations that will face the Senate floor this fall. One such bill, H.R. 910, which prevents the EPA from regulating greenhouse gasses from sources like power plants and oil refineries, earned approval in the House in April and goes to the Senate floor this fall.

Megan Michelson covers action sports for ESPN.com.