Robert Redford blasts Obama’s environmental lameness

  • Published on September 6th, 2011

Bill McKibben may say he’s not going to attack President Obama, but other environmental activists aren’t being so shy. At the Huffington Post, actor/director/activist Robert Redford asks, “Is the Obama Administration Putting Corporate Profits Above Public Health?”

One reason I supported President Obama is because he said we must protect clean air, water and lands. But what good is it to say the right thing unless you act on it? Since early August, three administration decisions — on Arctic drilling, the Keystone XL pipeline and the ozone that causes smog — have all favored dirty industry over public health and a clean environment. Like so many others, I’m beginning to wonder just where the man stands. … Lobbyists from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and other powerful corporate interests have spent the summer pressuring the White House to kick new smog standards down the road. If we have to clean up the mess we make, they say, we won’t hire any new workers. Really? American companies can’t hire workers unless they’re allowed to make our air so dirty our people get sick, miss work and die? That’s nonsense. Companies hire workers to fill orders for their products and services. Cleaning up after themselves is a cost of doing business, and it’s a necessary cost. This isn’t about jobs; it’s about profits.

And over at Time magazine, the headline was even blunter: “Is Obama bad for the environment?”

Greens pondered aloud how a President they had worked so hard to elect, one who had pledged to put science before politics, could screw them over so badly — and they asked whether he was no longer worth the same effort in 2012. “Many MoveOn members are wondering today how they can ever work for President Obama’s re-election, or make the case for his to their neighbors, when he does something like this,” MoveOn executive director Justin Ruben said in a statement. “This is a decision we’d expect from George W. Bush.”

…”President Obama has come down on the side of the polluters and those extreme forces who deny the value of government safeguards,” wrote Natural Resources Defense Council president Frances Beinecke after Obama’s announcement.

One thing is certain – President Obama won’t win reelection unless his core voters stick with him. And as we saw during the 2010 mid-terms, he can’t just assume we’ll vote for him and not the other guy. Last year, a lot of our people just stayed home. If that happens again in 2012, it could spell electoral disaster.

President Obama has done a lot to protect public health and our environment. He’s championed clean-energy investments, high-speed rail and cuts in the carbon emissions that are warming our planet. He’s promoted efficiency gains in home and commercial appliances that will save us all billions of dollars each year. And the agreement he reached earlier this summer on vehicle gas mileage goals will cut our oil use by a breathtaking three million barrels a day by 2030. ….I have to believe that President Obama still knows it’s important to protect clean air, water and lands. Like so many, I’m waiting for him to stand up for all that. I’m waiting for him to stand up for our future. But we can’t wait forever.

It’s a powerful statement… read the whole thing. And then write President Obama and tell him he needs to stay strong on the environment – for all of us. Like what you just read? Like us on Facebook for more updates!

What else you can do about the tar sands pipeline: 

More on the Keystone XL action and the Tar Sands:

About the Author

Jeremy Bloom is the Editor of RedGreenAndBlue. He lives in New York, where he combines his passion for the environment with his passion for film, and is working on making the world a better place.

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