Robert Redford Blames Cheney for America's 'Failed Energy Policy'

Actor Robert Redford lambasted America's energy plan that he claimed led to the Gulf disaster, laying the responsibility at the feet of former Vice President Cheney. Appearing Monday night on "Anderson Cooper 360," Redford blamed the Gulf oil spill not only on BP, but also because of the "failed" energy policy that led to this disaster.

'There's a lot being said about BP, and there's a lot of truth that's finally bubbling up to the surface," Redford acknowledged. "But what I'm more interested in is – is looking at it from a historical point of view and trying to connect some dots about how we got here."

"Look, I think one of the reasons we're in this problem is because we have not only a failed energy policy, but we have an energy policy – because of the way it was designed, and who it was designed by, Cheney – it's sick and it's dangerous."

Redford, who supports Obama's drilling moratorium,  mandated that America must shed its current energy policy and adopt a new one. He rebuked the present policy as an unholy alliance of sorts between Congress, the government, and Big Oil.

He gave the example of the US Minerals Management Service (MMS) as an example of a government agency that was asleep at the wheel in its oversight of oil companies.

"Look, all that stuff has come out, and it's painfully obvious what's happened – the corruption that came with MMS as a result of Dick Cheney and how he engineered this whole thing," he maintained.

Redford's solution? Get rid of former Vice President Dick Cheney – who's been a private citizen for 17 months now – and his cronies.

"You've got to get rid of Cheney and every – and all the horses he came in with. You've got to get rid of his energy policy. It's bad for our health. It's bad for our economy. It's bad for our future."

A transcript of Anderson Cooper's interview with Robert Redford, which aired on June 21, at 10:22 p.m. EDT, is as follows:

ANDERSON COOPER, host: As you look at BP's response to this spill, what stands out? I mean -- I think, for a lot of people on the ground here, it's the lack of transparency that we have seen. What surprises you about the way BP has handled this so far?

ROBERT REDFORD: Nothing.

What I'm kind of interested in here is, you know, there's a lot being said about BP, and there's a lot of truth that's finally bubbling up to the surface. But what I'm more interested in is -- is looking at it from a historical point of view and trying to connect some dots about how we got here.

And, you know, when you stop and think about BP's promises and the consequence of the collusion between government, Congress and big oil companies, what you get is what we've got: a failed energy policy -- a terrible energy policy -- that allowed this to happen.

And so, I think, I'm interested in seeing if we can get to the public, connect the dots as to how we got here because we -- there have been other disasters despite what they're saying that have happened.

COOPER: It's interesting because -- I mean, Senate Republicans told the President last week, look, focus on the oil spill right now, not on an energy bill. They say the President can't afford any distractions until this is under control.

You say the opposite. You say this is the time to focus on an energy bill.

REDFORD: Look, I think one of the reasons we're in this problem is because we have not only a failed energy policy, but we have an energy policy -- because of the way it was designed by who it was designed by, Cheney -- it's sick and it's dangerous. And any energy policy that's designed behind closed doors with oil, gas and coal companies is bound to end up being a disaster of some sort.

So, I think, we need a new energy policy. And I don't think it's next week, or next year or even -- it's now. If we miss this opportunity, we're missing an incredible opportunity. And history will probably tell us that.

So, get rid of this energy policy. It's a disaster.

COOPER: Do you think President Obama has shown leadership in that direction? I mean, he talked -- he didn't really give any details last week about what he wants to see in an energy bill. Were you satisfied with what you heard? Or were you looking for more specifics?

REDFORD: No, I wasn't satisfied with what I heard. I'm somewhat sympathetic to what the guy's dealing with because he had all these other issues that were paramount when this thing came forward. And I don't think he or the administration was quite prepared. Nor do I think BP was prepared. Nobody was prepared.

I think he's trying to do the best he can, but I think he's got to do more. And I think if he thinks that he's going to push something through with any kind of bipartisanship, I think it should be clear by now that there's so many voices coming at him from the other side -- the voices that, for me, is coming out of the Ice Age, you know, that he should forget about that.

He better grab this moment. And I think the public is going to have to push him to push Congress. But he better push them.

COOPER: Obviously, around here, the drilling moratorium, the deepwater drilling moratorium is hugely unpopular. There are a lot of jobs at stake here, there's people suing in courts to try to get this thing overturned -- although that seems unlikely to happen. We'll have a ruling probably by tomorrow.

You, obviously, I'm guessing, support the moratorium. Why?

REDFORD: Well, I support the moratorium, because I think there's so many disasters that have occurred in the past when we've been lied to about the fact that they would not happen. They have happened. Why have they happened? Because of the collusion between government, Congress and the big oil companies.

So, I think -- look, we're not going to get rid of oil. I mean, we should accept that. I accept it. I worked in an oilfield as a kid.

But I think what we're asking for now is a new energy policy. And I think that -- I'm totally sympathetic to the people in the Gulf who have lost their jobs, their way of life, environmental devastation and so forth. I understand the voices that want to not have a moratorium because they think it's going to help jobs.

But I think the first thing that should happen is that we have got to figure out -- first of all, make sure BP pays every dime that's owed to these people. My heart goes out to the people on the Gulf. And they need to be paid. And Obama has to push them to do it.

Second, we've got to figure out how it happened. Why did this happen when we were told over and over again it wouldn't happen?

COOPER: And in terms of oversight by the government -- I mean, clearly, the government, both under the Bush administration and even under the Obama administration, have not done as much in terms of reforming MMS. I mean, MMS, which has now been renamed today, has essentially, you know, been kind of a lap dog.

REDFORD: It has. Look, all that stuff has come out, and it's painfully obvious what's happened -- the corruption that came with MMS as a result of Dick Cheney and how he engineered this whole thing.

You got to get rid of Cheney and every -- and all the horses he came in with. You got to get rid of his energy policy. It's bad for our health. It's bad for our economy. It's bad for our future.
And I think the administration has to step up, get tough, get quick, and be very clear about what they're prescribing. I think they have to be very clear about why there should be some moratorium, like should Shell be allowed to drill up in the Alaskan refuge? No, not yet. We got to get some facts in order first.

COOPER: Robert Redford, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.

REDFORD: You're welcome.
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014