Robert Redford calls spill a wake-up call

By Garance Franke-Ruta
It's not at Katrina levels yet -- have you seen a telethon? -- but a steadily growing chorus of Hollywood celebrities is angling for a role in the response to the oil spill more than a month after the blowout at BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling station opened a gusher in the Gulf of Mexico.

Actor Kevin Costner, star of "Waterworld," in mid-May donated to BP six experimental oil-extraction machines from Ocean Therapy Solutions, in which he is a major investor, having developed an interest in oil spill clean-up technology in the wake of the Exxon Valdez disaster in 1989. "Titanic" and "The Abyss" director James Cameron organized a meeting of deep-sea experts at the Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday and has spoken candidly about his feeling that efforts to stop the spill were run by "morons."

Now actor Robert Redford, an oil-field "roustabout" worker in his teens, has released a video for the Natural Resources Defense Council, of which he is a trustee, calling the oil spill a wake-up call and asking viewers to write their congressional representatives in support of clean energy and climate change legislation.

"Maybe we needed it to be that bad to wake us up and put pressure on these companies and the government," he said in the ad "The Fix," which railed against the public relations efforts of oil companies to rebrand themselves as conservation or human-energy businesses and politicians who are "in collusion" with the energy companies. Such rhetorical flourishes make him "want to throw up," he said.

"We have to stop listening to the self-interested propaganda of oil companies and their parrots in Congress. It's bad for our health. If there's a lesson in all of this, its that we have to get off of our dependence on oil," he said.

June 4, 2010; 1:05 PM ET  | Category:  artsandliving
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One way to get free of our dependence on oil is to raise the gas tax - and because this is seen as radical, an incremental approach might prove more effective in getting this done.

If we can find the will to raise our gas tax two cents every quarter, consistently, until all our carbon emissions are mitigated, all alternative fuels developed, all mileage standards raised as fully as possible, all public transportation developed and all roads and law enforcement is fully funded, then we will have made a decent beginning toward bring some real change to bear around this longtime stain to our environmental conscience.

Two cents every quarter will barely be noticed, but will raise billions for the above causes, and will have a modifying effect on prices and consumption overall. If we had implemented such an incremental tax 15 years ago, we would have 60 cents a gallon that would be paying our deficit, building our roads, cleaning our beaches, enforcing our laws, and helping to regulate our gas prices.

Instead, we have allowed our oil corporations to write laws that siphon record profits to their shareholders, wreak havoc on the environment, and put millions of livelihoods on the line...

Now is the time to get serious about these things - even when BP says they're footing the bill - they're also protecting their over the top, obscenely record profits by saying so.

Real change to how it all works is not in their best interest...

Posted by: thanksforfish | June 4, 2010 5:50 PM

Can we try plugging the hole with a junk shot made up of all these brainless Hollywood idiots — starting with Mr. Sundance?

Posted by: thebump | June 4, 2010 7:37 PM

In order to save our planet for our heirs 1000 years from now, we must begin to end fossil fuel use. Not so sure nuclear is the answer as the unnatural heat coming from reactors is far greater than natural degradation of radioactive substances. Nuclear power in the meantime is far better than the destruction caused by fossil fuels to our environment and health. Going green could reduce fossil fuel consumption by about half with wind, solar, biomass and biofuels. Geothermal transfer another 15% but can't be used everywhere. Insulation and high efficiency appliances etc. could save another 20%. A commercial fusion reactor produces light waste easily handled but may be a century away. Nuclear power can easily produce hydrogen from distilled water making our motor fleets use a clean energy source. As long as fossil fuels are cheaper and we have the moneychangers in charge profits will drive the type of energy production not what is best or possible. Carter's 2 billion/year for alt. energy was scrapped by O'Neill and Reagan when it could not compete with $15/bbl oil. At $140/bbl alternative becomes cheaper than fossil fuel oil. The air quality and health problems caused by burning carbon which is cheapest are never figured into the consumption costs. Natural gas extraction injects chemicals which will destroy aquifers, so there are limits on areas for production (we now have passed Russia as the largest natural gas producers). We use 25% of the oil in the world having only 6% of the reserves, meaning we can never drill our way out of the problem. We must begin now to address the destruction caused by our selfishness or there won't be anything left in a millennium.

Posted by: jameschirico | June 5, 2010 12:44 AM

Any bet that "Robert" has a private jet? 3 or 4 cars, big house..yeah..tell the rest of us how to live..

Posted by: economy48 | June 5, 2010 8:14 AM

I am going to make this very simple! I know there must be an expert out there somewhere who can explain this to me. There is a 20 inch pipe running from the seabed to the oil reserve that is two and a half miles below the seabed, 13,000 feet. The only thing necessary to stop the flow is to equalize the pressure. Why does our military not have the capability to set off a small conventional explosion at the wellhead that could go just deep enough to allow the tons of settling debris to close that hole and collapse the pipe? I don't know the actual engineering but I am betting a charge directed into the hole would not have to penetrate more than 1000 feet to completely seal it. Are they trying to save the well at the expense of the entire Gulf of Mexico?

Posted by: sfcgcarrier | June 5, 2010 8:41 AM

I hope we listen to, and learn from, this wake up call after 30 years of deregulation and ignoring other calls.

"In 1985, OTA issued a report cautioning about the lack of preparedness and knowledge regarding potentially “catastrophic oil spills from offshore operations.” OTA could not follow up on this report, as the oil companies went into deeper seas, because it was silenced in 1995."

See http://www.nader.org/index.php?/archives/2189-Time-for-OTA.html#extended

One of Coach Wooden's maxims is

"Failing to prepare is preparing to fail."

Boy scouts are taught "Be Prepared."

Posted by: LVL1 | June 5, 2010 11:10 AM

Nukes or a fantastically virulent and deadly plague are the ONLY ANSWER.

I prefer nukes!

Now, about Redford? And his degree is in................?

Posted by: muawiyah | June 5, 2010 5:03 PM

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