Home Mens Interest Protect Our Winters Hosts D.C. Lobby trip

Protect Our Winters Hosts D.C. Lobby trip


In August 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act was passed. This marked a significant step forward in climate legislation. However, the success of the IRA depends on the responsible development and deployment clean energy. This will require radical changes in the electric grid.

Last month, Protect Our Winters (POW) held a Lobby trip in Washington, D.C. Fourteen of POW’s athlete, scientist, and creative Alliance members, and five of POW’s Brand Alliance members showed up on the Hill to meet with Biden Administration agency officials and members of Congress. The trip’s purpose was to examine how to support IRA initiatives through promoting clean energy infrastructure, and expanding clean power transmission. 

“[POW is working at the federal level to try to] Remove barriers erected by local communities. Local communities don’t want to see big power lines going through [their community], but we need those power lines to bring clean energy from big solar wind farms to metropolitan areas or population centers where that energy is needed,” explains Gus Schumacher, an American cross-country skier and POW Alliance member.

The POW team holds their banner in front of the “Mountains and Clouds” sculpture at the United States Capitol campus. [Photo] Iz La Motte

Over the course two days, POW members attended 36 different meetings in total, including with 22 Democrats and 14 Republicans. Different Alliance members attended meetings that were relevant to them. Schumacher, for example, had the opportunity to meet with Rep. Mary Peltola, a member of Congress from Alaska, and Senator Lisa Murkowksi.

“I always feel like the meetings with Alaska representatives are cool,” Schumacher says. “It feels like they listen to me [as their own constituent]. POW met Rep. Peltola for the first time on this trip. She’s really fighting for salmon and sustainable fishing, and I think she could be a really good partner for POW in the future.”

Amie Engerbretson was another POW athlete who attended the June Lobby Trip. She is a professional skier of big mountains. Engerbretson, who joined POW as a member in 2016, has tried to use her skills in the mountains for climate advocacy.

“Going into the unknown with a lot of uncertainty and feeling very intimidated is a staple of my existence [as an athlete],” Engerbretson explains. “And I’ve learned that this is also a useful skill in climate advocacy. I used to always think that I didn’t belong in this conversation and didn’t belong in D.C. But what I learned along the way is that government and politics is for everyone.”

Not only has Engerbretson found that she can have a voice in politics, she’s also aware that being a renowned athlete can help open doors.

Amie Engelbretson is embracing a brand new territory, the U.S. capital. [Photo] Iz La Motte

“POW gets really good meetings because people want to meet the athletes,” she says. “And the conversations tend to be really cool and engaging. Being in these meetings is really all about making a connection and trying to build a relationship… I find that lawmakers are intrigued by the POW athletes, [our] Experiences [our] They have a connection with their district. We have many stories and see a lot. This can be an exciting change-up for the lawmakers.”

Engerbretson was raised in Tahoe, California. He has observed how climate changes affect the recreational opportunities and economic foundations of mountain communities. Policies that can help small communities make the transition to clean energy are therefore important.

“The erraticness of the extreme winters and extreme droughts [where I live in Tahoe] is really stark and it’s continuing to change,” Engerbretson explains. “Yeah, my sport is being affected… but seeing my community and the economy of my community, it just seems like they’re bouncing on a thin wire that can snap at any moment.”

Motivated by her observations of climate change in the mountains and in her community, Engerbretson has drawn on POW’s knowledge and resources to develop the skills needed to find her lever of power and take action. POW, which has been lobbying for change at all levels of government since 2013, has now shifted its focus to systemic change.

“POW has become more and more focused over the years on really working at the systemic level [to initiate change],” Engerbretson says. “This involves working on legislation and realizing that policy is where real change and difference is made.”

POW will follow-up with newly-established contacts in D.C., as they continue to advance policies supporting the development and deployment clean energy initiatives.

Anneka Williams, a backcountry skiing enthusiast, scientist and writer, is inspired by her time in the mountains to write and care about the environment. Originally from Vermont’s Mad River Valley, Anneka is currently based in Salt Lake City.

Lobby trip in Washington D.C. Lobby Trip first appeared on Backcountry Magazine.

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