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Redford to Obama: Show leadership on energy

Incredibly, there are still no signs that the massive environmental calamity in the Gulf will prove a real game changer, as the Beltway cliche has it, in the Senate's ongoing climate change debate. President Obama, for instance, has not used the spill in any meaningful sense to rally the public behind energy reform.

Now a very high profile figure is stepping forward to urge Obama to do just that: Actor and environmental activist Robert Redford.

Redford is starring in a new ad, to be unveiled today, urging Obama to show leadership on the issue. The spot is being aired by the Natural Resources Defence Council on national and D.C. cable, and an official sends over the Redford script:

The Gulf disaster is more than a terrible oil spill. It's the product of a failed energy that puts oil company profits ahead of people and the environment.

America needs safe, clean and renewable energy -- not more oil spills.

That means politicians in Washington have a choice: keep bowing to the demands of Big Oil, or stand up for the American people.

You can tip the balance.

Tell President Obama to lead America toward a clean energy future.

I've watched the video, which I'll have for you shortly, and as always, Redford is very compelling. In addition to the NRDC, other groups to be at today's presser are League of Conservation Voters and the Blue-Green Alliance, an enviro-labor partnership. They will be urging Obama to use his bully pulpit and his sway over elected officials to push the Senate to act on climate change this year.

The push suggests that environmental groups are going to ratchet up the pressure on Obama to seize on one of the most devastating environmental disasters in history to change the conversation on energy once and for all. Good.

By Greg Sargent  |  May 18, 2010; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Climate change , Senate Dems  
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"Incredibly, there are still no signs that the massive environmental calamity in the Gulf will prove a real game changer..."

Oh, just wait. Wait until the underwater plumes of oil surface. It already appears to be fouling Key West. What is going to stop it from laying waste to the entire East Coast? When the extent of this disaster is fully realized, this will be a MAJOR game changer not only in D.C., but globally.

This will make the Valdez spill look minor by comparison. This will change our perception of drilling and the use of fossil fuels forever.

Posted by: Gasman1 | May 18, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Get serious! Obama is in the pocket of America's class of wealth. A man won't change his Actions (Obama is a man of words, not action) when he is paid otherwise - apology to Bierce.

If we spent an equal amout of spill-cleanup on solar hydrolysis-hydrogen, we'd have a renewable clean energy source. HOWEVER, that would take money out of the pockets of the Class of Wealth. IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN. Obama may speak the words, but he will not take action. It's another Jeckyll and Hyde moment for Obama.

Posted by: rjmmcelroy | May 18, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I think Gasman is dead right. I fear the worst from this disaster. I saw the NOAA spokeswoman on the PBS Newshour last night: She said that the risk of oil showing up in the Keys was exaggerated. Two hours later, tarballs were washing up on Smathers Beach. I don't trust the info we are getting either from BP or NOAA and that makes me very worried that this thing is far worse than we imagine. Time for the White House to take this over and tell us what is really going on, or to tell us honestly that they don't know. Meanwhile, I believe that other deepwater drills are operating in the Gulf. That must stop immediately.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 18, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Yesterday was the 28th day that the BP oil spill was allowed to pour into the gulf waters.

Does President Obama not recall what happened to President Carter as the Iran Hostage dragged on, and the media started announcing this is day.... of America held hostage.

President Obama wake up. Ya can't stop da leak with a commission of inquiry.

The only way to stop da leak, is to stop da leak.

How will it look if another one blows, and you still have not stopped the first one. What the hell are you waiting for.


Day twenty nine that BP has held the gulf coast hostage.

Pretty soon that huge oil slick is going to smother your presidency.

Posted by: Liam-still | May 18, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Slave Sargent:
"I've watched the video, which I'll have for you shortly, and as always, Redford is very compelling."

Compelling? To moonbats, perhaps.

The fact of the matter is that this has-been hasn't been "compellling" since "A Bridge Too Far"...and he frankly wasn't all that compelling in that role, either, underplaying it as he did.

He's just another wealthy old ex-hippie trying desperately to stay "relevant" and atone for his selling-out by spending OTHER peoples' money.

What a putrid old buffoon.

Posted by: Bilgeman | May 18, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Bilgey obviously rooted for the Bolivians in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 18, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"He's just another wealthy old ex-hippie trying desperately to stay "relevant" and atone for his selling-out by spending OTHER peoples' money."

Do you realize how pathetic this sounds in the face of the BP disaster? How much of "other peoples' money" is this oil spill going to suck up? You are truly an ideological moron. Somebody tries to do something helpful and all you can do is attack him as an "old ex-hippie." You know what this country needs? A lot more "hippies."

Posted by: wbgonne | May 18, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

The reason that this is going to take hold is that it is going to decimate other industries like commercial fishing and tourism. Those business interests are now in direct competition with the oil industry and the big oil is NOT going to easily dismiss this. Those industries probably employ more people than oil and might even represent a larger segment of the economy overall. Those industries have more of a direct economic impact here in the U.S. as their effects ripple through the economy. Those folks employed - or soon to be formerly employed - in those industries are unlikely to give big oil a pass.

Those shilling for big oil will soon be like the pariahs that the pro-Hitler folks became once WWII really got under way. I'll bet big money on that.

Posted by: Gasman1 | May 18, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

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