March 13, 2007 / 10:24 PM / in 11 years

Gore gets a hand from Congress for climate concert

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former U.S. Vice President and environment crusader Al Gore still has some pull in Washington, D.C. — getting a venue for a rock concert.

Former U.S. vice president Al Gore arrives at Belgium's Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt's office, ahead of their meeting in Brussels March 7, 2007. Former U.S. Vice President and environment crusader Al Gore still has some pull in Washington, D.C. - getting a venue for a rock concert. REUTERS/Yves Herman

The former Democratic presidential candidate had wanted to highlight the need to address global warming by staging one of seven worldwide “Live Earth” concerts on the National Mall in the U.S. capital on July 7.

But two events already are scheduled for that day on the Mall so Gore reached out to a close friend in Congress, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, to use the front lawn of the Capitol — albeit a much smaller area.

Reid of Nevada and Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine have introduced a resolution in the Senate offering the Capitol grounds for the event. It would also have to pass the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Senator Reid is supporting this event as a way to bring attention to this global issue,” said spokesman Jim Manley.

Two other events are scheduled for July 7 on the approximately 300-acre area that stretches from the Washington Monument area to the Capitol lawn: the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival and a rally by a religious group.

“We have to consider applications in the order they are received,” said Bill Line, a National Park Service spokesman. “We received both of those applications well in advance, months and months, of any phone call” from the concert promoters.

He urged the organizers to consider the nearby football stadium FedEx Field, though it only can hold about one-fifth of the 500,000 people who may attend.

A spokesman for “Live Earth” was not immediately available for comment. Slated to play are the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kelly Clarkson, Foo Fighters, Melissa Etheridge, and close Gore friend rock star Jon Bon Jovi, among others.

In addition to the planned Washington concert, the others will be held in cities on the other six continents: Shanghai, Sydney, Johannesburg, London, Brazil, Japan and Antarctica.

Concert organizers have said more than 1 million people would attend the shows and another 2 billion will watch or hear it via the Internet, television, radio, and wireless services.

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