Michigan Gov. Whitmer wants federal relief for businesses hit by warm winters

Lansing — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is calling on federal lawmakers to develop new policies to provide relief for businesses impacted by exceptionally warm winters.

In a Wednesday letter to leaders in the U.S. Congress, the Democratic governor described high temperatures as a “likely increasing problem affecting winter tourism industries across the Midwest.” Her request came after the close of a winter season that brought record high temperatures, according to data from the National Weather Service.

“There is no denying it,” Whitmer wrote. “We are facing an unprecedented problem resulting in a devastating impact on our businesses and regional economies.”

In the four-page message, she said Marquette in the Upper Peninsula had reported 72.6 inches of snow this season, compared to 127 inches on average. Likewise, 16% of the Great Lakes froze over this winter, compared to 53% normally, she wrote.

The warmer-than-normal temperatures forced winter events that draw tourists to Michigan to be canceled and cut into the revenue of ski businesses.

The Michigan Snowsports Industries Association said some ski areas were not able to make snow before Christmas- and others lost all or most of their base prior to the Christmas-New Year holiday week, when the average ski area draws in about 22% of their winter revenue, according to Whitmer’s letter.

There is no “reliable or well-tailored tool for federal relief for businesses devastated by unseasonably warm winters,” Whitmer wrote. The impacts of climate change suggest the problem could worsen, she added.

Whitmer addressed her letter to U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, members of President Joe Biden’s administration and others.

EUP News Staff

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