In the polarizing debate over the Keystone XL pipeline, environmentalists include Oscar-winner Robert Redford, who went on record during an interview with Variety’s PopPolitics on SiriusXM lambasting Republicans for their support of the pipeline.
Accusing Republicans of “living in the 1950s” in terms of their approach to environmental issues, Redford was particularly negative in his assessment of Republican Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader who has championed the coal industry.
“He represents the polluters’ interest because he is living in the 1950s,” Redford told Variety.
The pipeline would carry oil from tar sands in Canada to refineries on the southern coast of the United States, presumably boosting the economy (estimates of the jobs it would create are around 42,000 temporary positions during a two-year period) but also potentially contributing to climate change in a major way.
Redford, like other environmentalists weighing in on the issue, said he felt the pipeline would better serve Canada than the US, particularly since transporting the oil over long distances would be so damaging to the environment.
President Obama has remained on the fence regarding the issue, refusing to support or reject the proposed pipeline until a state department review is completed. However, as Republicans begin to move forward with a bill to force approval, Obama as said he will veto it.
In addition to being a frequent contributor to environmental debates, Redford is a trustee of the Natural Resources Council. He has previously expressed concern about Congressional action taken on environmental issues.