- The Washington Times - Friday, March 7, 2014

It looks like actor and new Oscar laureate Jared Leto isn’t quite on the same page with most of his audience when it comes to the Keystone XL pipeline.

Mr. Leto, who won an Academy Award earlier this week for his performance in “Dallas Buyer’s Club,” was one of a dozen activists who signed a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry calling the proposed pipeline “an even bigger mistake” than the Vietnam War.

But his sharp criticism comes as support for the project has hit a two-year high, with two-thirds of adults polled saying they want President Obama to approve the 1,700-mile pipeline, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Friday.

The survey found that 65 percent of those surveyed favored the pipeline’s construction, up 6 percentage points from 2012. Eighty-five percent said they agreed it would create jobs, and 62 percent felt strongly that it would do so, according to the survey by Langer Research Associates.


The poll and letter came as the State Department was flooded with responses this week on TransCanada’s proposed Canada-to-Texas pipeline. Industry groups said they planned to deliver 1 million comments in favor of the pipeline by Friday’s deadline.

Mr. Kerry is expected to offer a recommendation to Mr. Obama in about 60 days on whether to sign off on the pipeline, which would carry crude from the Canadian tar sands fields to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico.

Also signing the letter to Mr. Kerry were self-described “young American leaders” Conor Kennedy, grandson of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy; Adam Gardner of the band Guster; Isabel Grantham, daughter of influential investment manager Jeremy Grantham; and Billy Parish, founder of a solar-energy investment firm.

The letter compares the pipeline issue to Mr. Kerry’s opposition in the 1970s to the Vietnam War.

“In 1971, when you were roughly our age, you asked, ‘How can you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?’” says the letter to Mr. Kerry. “We stand at such a point today, with respect to an even greater challenge, an even bigger mistake — the imminent threat of catastrophic climate disruption.”

Even a Friday post on the left-wing website ThinkProgress criticized the letter for going too far.

“But the comparison — between a pipeline carrying oil and a war that dragged on for years and claimed millions of American and Vietnamese lives — is unfortunate, not least because it’s not really accurate,” said the critique by Annie-Rose Strasser.