Michigan is known for four beautiful seasons, but pollution from burning fossil fuels threatens winter. This global issue affects families, communities and businesses. In Michigan, ski resorts experience climate change impacts firsthand, which is why we advocate for transitioning to clean energy.
At Crystal Mountain and Boyne Resorts we’re improving energy efficiency in snowmaking, grooming and turf maintenance; reducing fuel; implementing green building designs; and working with local utilities to increase our use of renewable energy.
In partnership with Cherryland Electric, Crystal runs on 62% zero carbon electricity. In 2017, we installed a geothermal system as part of our 31,000-square-foot expansion at the inn. Inside, lights switched to LEDs and lights in newer rooms are activated with room keys. We are also proud to have the first LEED-certified spa in the Midwest.
Earlier this year, Boyne Resorts announced a renewable energy purchase commitment with CMS Enterprises. As of Jan. 1, 2021, it entirely offsets electric energy consumption at properties throughout North America, while setting a goal of zero net carbon emissions by 2030.
As we continue our efforts, Congress must do its part by passing meaningful climate policies matching the scale of the problem. The bipartisan infrastructure deal includes improving and upgrading the nation’s grid infrastructure and resiliency and building EV (electric vehicle) infrastructure. Other policies such as clean energy tax incentives and a price on carbon pollution to incentivize emission reductions are also needed.
A steadily rising carbon price, or carbon tax, is an effective and efficient way to quickly reduce emissions. It sends a clear message throughout the economy that fossil fuels will get more expensive, therefore driving more innovation and investment in clean energy technologies. Introducing a carbon tax is instrumental in helping the U.S. meet its goal of 50% less emissions by 2030.
A carbon tax doesn’t require complex bureaucratic systems or infrastructure, and because Congress has constitutional authority to levy taxes, a carbon tax won’t face legal challenges. Unfortunately, Congress failed to pass climate legislation through regular order at the scale needed. Now, the most likely path appears through the budget reconciliation bill. Carbon pricing policy as part of Congressional budget reconciliation, referred to as the Build Back Better Act, could lower the price of the overall bill and ensure climate change is addressed without unnecessary government expansion.
While the House bill passed recently doesn’t include a carbon tax, reportedly, the Senate is still discussing it. One scenario is a $15 per-ton tax on the carbon dioxide content of fossil fuels that would escalate over time. To protect lower- and middle- income households from increased energy costs, carbon tax revenue is rebated back to households. A border carbon adjustment on imported goods rounds out the policy. It protects U.S. manufacturers and jobs, and goods exported from the U.S. to countries without an equivalent carbon fee receive a refund under this policy.
American citizens and businesses should want the U.S. to become a leader in the emerging clean energy economy. Addressing climate change is urgent. We ask Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters to support a price on carbon as part of budget reconciliation negotiations.
About the authors: Jim MacInnes is the CEO of Crystal Mountain. Stephen Kircher is the CEO of Boyne Resorts