Radiohead Singer Speaks Out Against Tar Sands, Keystone XL Pipeline


Thom Yorke, lead singer of Radiohead, let fans know exactly how he feels about the Alberta tar sands and the U.S. government’s pending decision to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, a project that would transport toxic crude oil across thousands of miles of American countryside.

“President Obama is soon to make a decision on whether to press one of THE big red climate self destruct buttons,” Yorke wrote on the band’s blog Thursday in a post titled ‘Real vs. Astroturf.

Obama is “under considerable pressure from a fake grassroots campaign funded by um…certain interested parties (its called Astroturfing) into allowing the Tar Sands nightmare to go ahead,” Yorke continued. The singer also encouraged his fans and readers to educate themselves about the tar sands and to think about taking action to stop them.

“If you don’t know anything about the Tar Sands have a quick google…as seems to be the way of politics this won’t happen unless a strong show of resistance can be seen to help obama say no.”

The Keystone pipeline crosses crucial areas like the Oglalla Aquifer where a spill would be disastrous—and though the pipeline companies insist they are using ‘state of the art’ technologies that should leak only once every 7 years, the precursor pipeline and its pumping stations have leaked a dozen times in the past year. These  local impacts alone would be cause enough to block such a plan. But the Keystone Pipeline would also be a fifteen hundred mile fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the continent, a way to make it easier and faster to trigger the final overheating of our planet, the one place to which we are all indigenous (from

Yorke’s post also included links to a massive civil disobedience campaign being organized by environmental leaders and tar sands opposition organizations.

And this isn’t the first time the Radiohead front man has used his band’s massive audience to further pro-environmental goals: In March 2010, he took to Radiohead’s site with a ‘Sticky Tar Chart Rant‘ after the Canadian Government’s demand to increase carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at the 2010 Copenhagen Summit. A post later in the same month asked people to see how their banks may be investing their pensions, adding “if you have one, in the Tar Sands of Canada … that is messed up. Your pension won’t be worth s— if you don’t have a planet to live on.”

Related Reading:

Lies, Leaks Discovered In U.S.-Canada Keystone Pipeline

Avatar Director Disapproves Of Canadian Tar Sands

Scandals Surround Tar Sands Promotion

State Department Withholds Information On Tar Sands Oil Pipeline


Image Credit: Flickr – angela n.


William C
William Cabout a year ago

Thank you.

W. C
W. Cabout a year ago

Thanks for the information.

Duane B.
.5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Joe R.
Joe R7 years ago

Thanks Thom for putting your voice to environmental causes! (Thanks for the article Beth.)

Dan W.
Dan W.7 years ago

My brother, Tom Weis, is trekking from Canada/Montana border to Texas on his "Rocket Trike" bring awareness to local towns along the proposed pipeline route. For more info and to read his journal, go to: Please also LIKE his facebook page:

Patricia Hughes
Patricia Hughes7 years ago

This is all about the Keystone Pipeline XL which the Republicans are trying THIS WEEK to attach to any bill passed in Congress. We need to storm Congress and the White House with Call and emails NOW.

Read more:

Carole R.
Carole R7 years ago

Noted. It is a tough issue ... to tour or not to tour?

Grace Adams
Grace Adams7 years ago

Sure it would be better if Radiohead could stick to broadcasting music and skip touring, but would that be feasible. Maybe on net, what they are doing is the best that can be done on this issue.

Ernie Miller
william Miller7 years ago

I tend to agree with the man all of you people that call him a hipricate because he tours. Need to take into consideration one persone of his stature speaking out has on a large population. it is like your greedy corperation that buy carbon creddist from people that actually make a differance so you can green wash your company making it look like you are doing something when in fact you arent.

Patrick F.
Patrick f7 years ago

There is a big difference between listening to the radio or tv and seeing someone live in concert. Are you suggesting that the world come to a halt if it involves using some fossil fuels? The key, I think, is using ff in moderation, they are not just jetsetting all over the world, they are also bringing education to people, that has to count for something.