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MoveOn’s Ride To a Green Future:

The Waxman-Markey Clean Energy Bill (H.R. 2454) is currently in the House of Representatives, awaiting a vote. In support of this legislation, and to recognize green businesses and organizations in Santa Monica, MoveOn.org held a press conference on June 18 at the foot of the world’s only solar-powered Ferris Wheel at Santa Monica Pier’s Pacific Park.

“This pier is the center of sustainability in Santa Monica,” said MoveOn media organizer Bill McCarthy. He cited, in addition to the wheel, the solar panels at the nearby Lobster Restaurant, the SMURRF urban runoff facility just east of the pier, Heal the Bay’s Aquarium, and the Office of Sustainability.

These facilities, along with Solar Santa Monica, Sustainable Works, and David Hertz of Environmental Architecture, received letters of recognition from MoveOn.

Accepting the certificates were Kristin Wasiluk of Pacific Park, Susan Munves for Solar Santa Monica, Randi Parent for Heal the Bay Aquarium, Gil Borboa for SMURRF, Susy Borlido for Sustainable Works, Lucas Goettsche for Studio of Environmental Architecture,  and Jack De Nicola and Lynne Thomas for The Lobster.

Mayor Ken Genser, Councilmember Kevin McKeown, and MoveOn Council Coordinator Tom Clay spoke about the Waxman-Markey legislation.

Genser mentioned that Santa Monica was the first city to purchase its electricity from renewable sources, that it has the most LEED certified buildings of any American city, and that it partners with the Chamber of Commerce to promote over 30 green businesses. “We in the city strongly support the Waxman-Markey bill,” he added. “It’s a great step toward moving the country toward sustainability.”

McKeown noted that the sense of hope that began with the election of Barack Obama as president must be carried on with the passage of an undiluted clean energy bill. “We can’t let this bill be watered down. We need to have a real energy bill, not one filled with loopholes.”

Clay said that the bill is “about 900 pages” and was greeted with enthusiasm by MoveOn members when they met with Henry Waxman in April of this year. Since then, the bill has gone to committee and in Clay’s words, has been “significantly weakened” by pressure from oil and coal lobbyists.

“The bill is still very worthwhile,” Clay continued. “But we need to see it strengthened.” MoveOn believes this can be done with amendments that would make the legislation fall into line with Obama’s goals of rebuilding the economy and creating clean energy jobs.

Following the press conference, attendees were invited to both a reception at The Lobster, and to take free rides on the Ferris Wheel. A number of brave souls were seen lining up for the solar-powered ride.

For more information, and to read the text of H.R. 2454, go to govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h111-2454.

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