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Dave Matthews Band "offsetting" its tour pollution

June 29th, 2006

By Camille Drummond

062906.jpg NEW YORK (Reuters) - American rockers the Dave Matthews Band and its fans have been bad for the environment since 1991, and now the group is making amends.

In a move to help ease global warming, the band will participate in a carbon dioxide emissions "offsetting" program that will eliminate pollution equivalent to 36 million average car miles, or about what the band, and its fans, have produced on the road over the past 15 years.

According to NativeEnergy, the energy company from which the band is buying offsetting "credits," some 90 percent of CO2 pollution from a single concert comes from fan travel alone.

Funds from the band's purchase of the credits will directly fuel construction of renewable energy generators, whose electricity will displace energy that would otherwise come from polluting coal-fired plants, and thus reduce CO2 and other pollution on behalf of the band and its fans.

Initiatives such as NativeEnergy's allow greenhouse gas producers to buy and sell emissions credits. Companies that exceed emission levels, for example, can buy credits from the producers who have reduced their pollutants.

"As artists we need to act now to slow global warming. Carbon offsets are one thing we can do to help and we felt working with NativeEnergy was a good place to start," the band said in a statement released by the company.

While NativeEnergy did not disclose the amount the band will pay for the credits, the company's online calculator showed it would cost a minimum of $216,000 to offset so many tons of CO2.

The offsetting credit program is not the first time the band has agreed to right a previous environmental wrong: In April 2005, the band paid $200,000 to settle allegations that one of its tour bus drivers dumped up to 800 pounds of liquid human waste off a grated bridge spanning the Chicago River, drenching passengers on a sightseeing boat below.

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