Movie icon Robert Redford is the latest celebrity to launch a stinging attack on Alberta’s oilsands and the Keystone XL pipeline, releasing a video Monday as part of a new climate change campaign.
In the video, Redford calls the oilsands “the dirtiest oil on the planet.”
“Developing the Canadian tarsands is destroying our great northern forest at a terrifying rate. It is producing enough carbon pollution to wreak havoc with our climate for decades to come. And the pipelines that carry this toxic tarsands fuel are a direct threat to our own drinking water supplies,” he says.
“Tarsands oil is exactly the type of dirty energy we can no longer afford. It may be great for oil companies, but it is killing our planet.”
The video is part of the National Resources Defense Council’s new DemandCleanPower website and comes amid continuing fierce debate over Calgary-based TransCanada’s proposed Keystone pipeline, which would carry bitumen from northern Alberta down to the United States Gulf Coast.
With environmental groups staunchly opposed to the pipeline, President Barack Obama’s decision on whether to grant approval has likely been pushed into next year.
The video by Redford — a longtime anti-pipeline activist — follows a denunciation of the oilsands by Canadian music legend Neil Young. In a Washington D.C. speech last week, Young compared Fort McMurray to Hiroshima.
“Fort McMurray is a wasteland. The Indians up there and the native peoples are dying. The fuel’s all over, there’s fumes everywhere,” he said.
In April, Premier Alison Redford said the province has to fight misconceptions about the province’s energy industry promoted by Robert Redford — a potential distant relative — and other celebrities.
“It’s fine for people who aren’t really impacted by this stuff to talk about why it shouldn’t happen, but these aren’t the people that are out talking to the thousand guys that want jobs — or to returning veterans who want to be able to work on pipeline construction or get trained in new technologies,” she told the Herald.
“Celebrities being celebrities will never change, but at the end of the day, it is important for us to speak for the people whose lives are actually affected by these decisions.”
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