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How climate change could affect Maine's ski industry


BRIDGTON, Maine (NECN) -- This is the kind of winter where you may have heard some people ask "what global warming?"

We've certainly had a lot of snow and cold days but scientists are still pointing to an overall picture that shows the planet is warming. Today in Portland, groups concerned about the threat of climate change say New England's winter sports industry is at risk.

A group of ski professionals, scientists and environmentalists joined together in Portland Friday to call attention to the threat of climate change on New England's winter sports industry.

According to Gordon Hamilton of the Climate Change Institute, "The parts of Maine that will warm the fastest are the northern and western portions of the state where the ski resorts are." 

But it's not just skiing. Snowmobiling, which relies entirely on natural snow, would suffer - as would cross country skiing, and even ice fishing. The economic impact would be great. Winter sports in the Northeast bring in more than $7 billion dollars a year.

The Natural Resources Council of Maine is urging the state's senators to strongly support new rules being proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency that would regulate carbon emissions on new power plants. The agency is also working on
rules for existing power plants.

The NRCM says cutting those emissions is a key component to slow down global warming. At Shawnee Peak, the threat of warmer winters is a consideration as they upgrade snowmaking eqiupment that works in warmer temperatures.

Admittedly it's hard to focus on climate change when the mountain looks the way it has this March, but many believe if you don't plan now, the next generation of winter sports fans will never see it this way.

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