Hey, maybe those ski leases are on the table after all.

I heard something very interesting on the latest edition of “Vermont This Week,” the usually bland and boring (see below) Statehouse news roundup on Vermont PBS.

One of the topics was Auditor Doug Hoffer’s report on the state’s outdated and not very lucrative public-lands leases with our biggest ski resorts. One of the guests was Tim McQuiston, editor of Vermont Business Journal. He ought to have his finger on the pulse of the Vermont business community, right?

Conventional wisdom is that the leases can’t be reopened, because resort operators would have to agree to the move, and the Powers That Be don’t seem to be inclined to push the issue. McQuiston thinks otherwise:

I would suspect, in knowing a lot of these people, that they would come back to the table under reasonable circumstances. They know their industry has changed a lot.

Interesting. And what kinds of circumstances are we talking about?

There’s a lot of environmental law they have to comply with. Act 250 is still out there. They’re very involved with other regulatory entities.

So they might be willing to negotiate better lease terms if they get their way on some regulatory matters. That’s one of those good news/bad news situations, isn’t it? Redoing the leases would bring the state more revenue, but it opens the door to some backroom weakening of environmental standards.

Postscript. I say “Vermont This Week” is bland and boring because, well, it usually is. It comes across as overly scripted, and the panel acts like they’re walking on eggshells. Maybe this is a natural consequence of our political media tending to be on the young side, and having relatively little experience in a panel setting. But I do wonder if part of the problem is how the show is planned and produced. If there was more free interchange, if they tossed out the script once in a while, it’d become appointment television for geeks like me. As it is, I rarely watch. This morning, I was channel-surfing and happened to catch the rebroadcast. I don’t go out of my way for it.

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4 thoughts on “Hey, maybe those ski leases are on the table after all.

  1. waltermoses

    Trading environmental regulation for better terms on leases is a lousy deal for Vermont as most downhill ski areas are polluters of rivers and streams. Who was the official or agency that gave these out of state operators $5 million for new snow making machines? Can VPO
    enlighten us on that little donation ?
    Can’t afford universal healthcare!!!!!!!!! Right?

    Reply
  2. kevin ellis

    Re: Vermont This Week – you are soooo right. Redesign the program and you get better substance and more viewers. And it should be more than just journalists. It should include other geeks, political types and be more a free for all.

    Reply
  3. Cynthia Browning

    I have heard from reporters who appear on the show that there is a much more freewheeling discussion before and after airtime. Too bad we can’t eavesdrop on that. But I try always try to watch this to get the reporters’ perspectives on what happened, because I can’t be everywhere in the statehouse the way that they can. Sometimes it is sparkier and snarkier than others, but it gives a good baseline for the significant developments of the week.

    Rep. Cynthia Browning, Arlington

    Reply

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