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As the presidential race continues to narrow to a statistical dead heat, Robert Redford on Friday became the latest Hollywood celebrity to throw aside earlier reservations about President Barack Obama and to wholeheartedly endorse his reelection.
Redford, a passionate environmentalist, fiercely opposed the Obama White House a year ago on a number of energy-related issues, particularly construction of the Keystone pipeline across the upper prairie. But on Friday, blogging for the Huffington Post, Redford hailed the president’s record on a number of other environmental and conservation issues and drew pointedly critical comparisons with Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s positions on the same questions.
“While President Obama is moving us forward, Mitt Romney would take us back,” Redford said. “He’d roll back every step of progress we’ve made — not just in the last four years, but the last 40 years.”
Redford wrote of how his own engagement with environmentalism began “in the early days of my acting career in 1962, when Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring made its way onto best-seller lists and college campuses and into living rooms across America. . .The story of that movement still represents for me who we are as a country: a people dedicated to something greater than ourselves, and a nation that recognizes our responsibility to each other.”
The superstar actor/director argued that, “In this election, only President Obama shares those values and the belief that our kids and grandkids should grow up with living, natural places to explore. Yosemite, the Great Lakes and the Everglades should always be places we can visit and wonders that inspire — not just photos of what used to be.
“Shortly after taking office, President Obama signed one of the largest expansions of wilderness protection in a generation, setting aside more than 2 million acres as protected wilderness, conserving more than 1,000 miles of rivers, authorizing a 26-million-acre conservation system of historically significant landscapes and adding thousands of miles of trails,” Redford wrote on the Huff Post Green page. “The President has set historic standards that by 2025 will double the distance our cars and trucks will be able to go on a tank of gas, reducing our reliance on foreign oil by 2.2 million barrels per day and saving each of us thousands of dollars at the pump.”
He added that Obama “made the single largest investment in clean energy of any other president, helping to double the amount of electricity we generate from wind and solar, strengthening our global economic competitiveness and supporting nearly a quarter of a million American jobs.”
Redford contrasted Obama’s environmental accomplishments with policies Romney has advocated during the campaign, particularly on energy and urged his readers to use early voting as one of the ways to keep the Republican nominee from “buying the keys to the White House.”
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