In an unprecedented move, and arguably the first of its kind, the city of Aspen, Colorado has decided to sever ties with the United States Chamber of Commerce. In the past, Homer, Alaska has severed ties; however Aspen is important because it was done specifically due to environmental policies. The city backed by the Mayor, Aspen Ski Company, Auden Schendler, and other influential community members decided upon this after years of disagreements with the agency.
The movies shocking because of how few instances this occurred, let alone due to environmental differences. The US chamber of Commerce is generally known to have conservative values, lobbying for less stringent environmental regulations, lower minimum wage, lower benefits, and such with the aim to make companies more money. These conservative values are why the city of Aspen has decided to sever ties to facilitate stronger environmental regulations. I feel that this is a move to create buzz. Many Americans do little to educate themselves on real issues and do even less to make a difference. The city of Aspen has put the story out there and has made it a public issue.
Aspen has the luxury of being Aspen. The allure of the city and their affluent lifestyle attracts many who are educated and affect policy decisions. The effect this move will have will hopefully garner support to affect change.
Aspen Ski Company has made a similar move in the past. Several years ago, there was a bill in the senate that if passed, would enact more stringent air quality measures nationwide. Aspen Ski Company through its weight behind the bill and lobbied with environmental organizations to pass the bill. In an unprecedented event of a ski area lobbying for environmental measure, widespread support was seen. The thing about Aspen, is that it is well Aspen. The image of the town and ski areas has gotten a lot of respect worldwide. As a result, many influential individuals listen closely when the town and ski company convey their own comments on a matter.
I hope this move, to sever ties with the Chamber of Commerce, will have similar effects when lobbying for stringent air quality measures. I believe that if towns like Aspen do this, support will continue to grow and eventually the voices of the people will be too loud to ignore.
Aspen, Colorado Leaves U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Over Climate Change Dispute