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Recreation Industry’s Gravest Threats Come from Global Warming “Solutions,” Senate Hearing Reveals
May 24, 2007

Posted by Marc Morano - Marc_Morano@EPW.Senate.gov - Posted at 9:48 AM ET

Watch Hearing Live at www.epw.senate.gov

[UPDATE: U.S. Carbon Emissions Fell in 2006 Despite Growing Economy ]

[UPDATE # 2: Read Senator Inhofe's Full Opening Statement ]

Today’s full committee hearing on "The Issue of the Potential Impacts of Global Warming on Recreation and the Recreation Industry" revealed that misguided government regulations may help steal part of the American way of life away from recreation seekers. Today’s hearing uncovered the dangers of so called global warming "solutions" as they may potentially impact the recreation industry.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said:

"The recreation industry’s true threats come not from climate change -- which has always changed and will always change -- but from the so-called global warming ‘solutions’ being proposed by government policymakers. Misguided efforts to ‘solve’ global warming threaten to damage the travel and recreation industry and consequently threaten the American dream."

 As Derrick Crandall, president of the American Recreation Coalition testified, the biggest threat to recreation may very well come from legislative "solutions" to climate change. "We ask the Congress to be wary of the danger of actions that would discourage healthy active lives and travel to see special places like national parks," Crandall said.

"The reality is that a reasonably fuel-efficient SUV – or even a large motorhome – gets more passenger miles per gallon when occupied by a family than does even the most fuel efficient car available today when occupied solely by a driver. And the benefits to the nation are large," Crandall explained.

"We ask your help in protecting the ability of Americans to purchase vehicles that meet these needs," he added.

Barry McCahill, the president of the SUV Owners of America, noted that the cars of yesteryear were able to tow large recreational trailer or boats, but current cars do not have the ability.

"Today, just one percent of cars have the capacity to tow a small trailer or fishing boat. Why? Because of Federal fuel economy mandates," McCahill testified.

McCahill also spoke about how the use of four wheel drive vehicles for towing recreational vehicles and trailers was a key component of the American dream by bringing "families together outdoors, having fun and creating memories."

"This lifestyle, along with boating, horse shows and many other forms of outdoor recreation, could disappear if fuel economy mandates are pushed to the extreme -- or at minimum a luxury that only the wealthy could continue to enjoy," McCahill testified.

The safety of four wheel drives vehicles over passenger cars was also an important consideration, according to McCahill.

"Based on 10 years of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that SUVs are 5-7 times safer than passenger cars," McCahill said.

"Declines in death rates (since 1978) have been largest for SUV occupants, showing that larger vehicles are safer than smaller ones," he continued.

"Thousands of lives have been lost because of unintended safety consequences from CAFE-induced vehicle downsizing. Whole forests have been decimated to print enough paper to explain its complexities," he added.

"We are not a one-size-fits-all society and light trucks fill an important economic and social niche," he concluded.

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