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Tipton urged to focus efforts on renewable energy

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An Open Letter to
Congressman Tipton:

I am writing to ask you to withdraw your co-sponsorship and support for HR 167, Stopping EPA Overreach Act of 2017, and instead concentrate your efforts on stopping global warming by bringing renewable, non-polluting sources of energy online as quickly as possible.

On Feb. 22 I saw something I still can't believe. Instead of people shoveling snow, as one would expect to see this time of year, I saw a man in Paonia mowing his grass! At my house, which is at 6,000 feet elevation, the thermometer registered 63°, 20 degrees above average.

On the same day in Milwaukee the thermometer hit 71°, the highest winter temperature ever recorded in Wisconsin. On Feb. 11, the town of Mangum, Okla., hit an all-time record high of 99°, more than 40° above average.

In Chicago there have only been nine days above 66° in the month of February in the past 145 years. This February, there were six consecutive days above 66°. Additionally, this is the first time in 145 years of record-keeping that Chicago has gone the entire months of January and February without a single day of snow on the ground -- not even a dusting of snow!

So far in the month of February nearly 6,000 record high temperatures have been set in the U.S. And records haven't been falling by just a degree or two; they have been shattered by 10° or more.

At the North Pole, the average winter temperature is 40° below zero. In December the temperature rose to 35° above zero -- that's 75° above average. That would be equivalent to a winter temperature of 104° in Paonia -- a temperature we don't even see here in the summer.

What's your response been to these alarming examples of global warming? On Jan. 24, you proposed the "Stopping EPA Overreach Act of 2017." This bill removes EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases and would prohibit climate change regulations from taking effect if they have a negative impact on employment.

For someone who is concerned with negative impacts on employment, this is a pretty idiotic thing to do. The increase in global warming that will result if your bill passes will destroy four major industries on the Western Slope -- ranching, farming, tourism, and skiing -- and the thousands of jobs these industries support.

Millions of dollars will be lost if warm winter weather causes our fruit trees to blossom prematurely, only to have the entire crop destroyed when the inevitable frost follows.

If insufficient snowfall, early melting of the snowpack, and shortening of the winter season continues, thousands of jobs will be lost when ranchers and farmers have insufficient water to irrigate their livestock, orchards, vineyards and vegetable farms.

We'll also lose jobs in the tourism and ski industries when winter is not long enough, cold enough, or snowy enough to support skiing.

To protect jobs and the economy on the Western Slope, we must do everything we can to combat global warming now. Congressman Tipton, please withdraw your support for HR 167 and instead concentrate your efforts on bringing renewable, non-polluting sources of energy online as quickly as possible.

Robin Smith

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