Paul Simon lends voice to B.C. group’s anti-pipeline commercial (With video)

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Singer Paul Simon has added his voice to the lobby against oil tanker traffic on the west coast in a haunting new television commercial released on the 24th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

The singer directly approved the use of his song in the video created by Coastal First Nations, said CFN Executive Director Art Sterritt.

The two-minute video begins with footage of the Exxon Valdez, and overlays crackling audio of its first call to the coast guard, “we’ve fetched up hard aground…” with Simon’s haunting lyrics “Hello darkness my old friend,” from The Sound of Silence.

Sterritt wrote a personal letter to Simon outlining CFN’s position on oil tanker traffic in coastal waters and the potentially devastating effect of a spill on the Great Bear region’s ecosystem and the cultures and communities of the west coast.

They received Simon’s go ahead to use the song for a nominal fee — “about the price of nice dinner out,” said spokesperson Andrew Frank.

Sterritt said if you transpose the geographic area affected by the Valdez spill onto the area tankers would travel down the west coast, a spill could theoretically stretch from Prince Rupert to Vancouver.

The video, which urges BC residents to “vote for an oil-free coast” will be uploaded to YouTube today, and will air in some areas of northern B.C. starting Monday. They are hoping for an angel investor to help foot the cost of airtime in southern B.C.

Coastal First Nations recently withdrew from the federal review process for the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline.

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