It seems that Bill Clinton basically restored world peace last week when he brought home two American journalists from North Korea. But it’s now known that entertainment mogul and film producer Steve Bing (Beowulf, The Polar Express) was responsible for footing the bill for the plane. Bing has been an influential Democratic fundraiser in the past but he’s a pretty quiet guy so I’m not sure many people know how environmentally-minded he has been over the years.
His Shangri-La Construction only tackles energy efficient buildings and aircraft hangars and works to ensure the promotion of green collar jobs while keeping costs equivalent to traditional methods. The company was responsible for the construction of Burbank Airport’s Hangar 25, the “most sustainable airplane hangar in the world.”
Shangri-La Industries hired a lobbying firm this year and has spent at least $100,000 lobbying Washington on energy efficiency in buildings and airplane hangars. While he might be pushing pork for profit I have to say that it’s better than investing his cash in, I don’t know, oil/tobacco/nukes?
If you’re still skeptical, his flagship company, Shangri-La Entertainment, was also the go-between for $40.1 million of the total $45.7 million that was raised to support a 2006 California ballot initiative that sought to tax companies drilling for oil in California. Despite his efforts, the measure failed.
For a producer who is independently wealthy to throw his weight behind serious issues like a drilling tax and foot the bill for a company committed to 100% LEED construction is pretty noteworthy. At least in my notebook. It looks like he’s working on expanding to become Shangri-La Solar too.
Now if only he could bankroll some R&D on a fleet of garbage-powered planes to keep in the hangars for any future international rescue missions…
The above image is a detail from a rendering of Hangar 25 via Shangri-La Construction.