Appalachian Basin

Mark Ruffalo, Incredible Hulk or Secret Agent Man?

Mark Ruffalo has been engaged in some strange behavior recently that, in any other circumstance, would suggest he was working on our behalf.  We haven’t hired him and there are no dirty tricks afoot, but our opponents could certainly be forgiven for wondering.

If recent behavior is any indication, Mark Ruffalo is acting like he’s a secret agent for the oil and natural gas industry.  The actor, who has played the “Incredible Hulk” on screen and on behalf of both NIMBY and opponents of natural gas development, has done some incredible things that can only be described as extremely helpful to our side of the debate.  Don’t be alarmed, though, if you’re on our side, because we’ve had nothing to do with any of this behavior.  Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean we haven’t appreciated it.

The most recent sign of strange activity by Sullivan County, New York, homeowner Mark Ruffalo came earlier this week when he and actress Darryl Hannah, expected by many to participate in a British Columbia sit-in to protest pipelines, didn’t show and sent letters instead.  Here’s how a columnist reported it in the Nanaimo Bulletin:

There was palpable disappointment among reporters when Greenpeace organizers clarified that U.S. actors Daryl Hannah and Mark Ruffalo weren’t actually going to join the sit-in against heavy oil pipeline proposals at the B.C. legislature on Monday.

I was disappointed too.

I would have liked to learn more about what a washed-up mermaid and an easily confused Incredible Hulk really believe about the North American oil industry. In the spirit of celebrity slacktivism, both sent statements of support.

Worse, Ruffalo’s wild-eyed, hair-on-fire statement was something Webster’s Dictionary might have used to define the word “exaggeration.”  Here are a few excerpts (emphasis added):

“Tar sands pipelines are an exercise in folly.  As the world inevitably transitions away from fossil fuels, a small group of corporate radicals is dead set on accelerating climate change in the biggest land grab and property rights infringement in history.

Real energy independence would be moving ourselves to wind, water and sun and get rid of the toxic, outdated and antiquated fossil fuel paradigm that continues to trample First Nation and land owner rights and destroy fresh water, fresh air and farm land.

This is hardly how one goes about winning friends and influencing people, but it seems to have become Mark Ruffalo’s modus operandi.   He did something similar earlier this year when he appeared on the Colbert Report:


This particular tirade was described by a friendly writer as follows (emphasis added):

Much like people who set out to expose Scientology and in the process become crazy-eyed zealots in their own right, the people who are against driving pipelines into shale … speak so intensely about the subject that it can be difficult to keep up with them.

For a good example, check out Mark Ruffalo…as he tries to explain the process of fracking to Stephen Colbert. Passionate to the point of incomprehension, Colbert had to gently break out of character to walk viewers through the issue while Ruffalo hyperventilated into a bag.

Breathlessly uttering false statements about Dimock water, now found by the EPA to be safe (including that from the homes of the infamous “brown-juggers”) makes even the strongest of supporters ask themselves – can I trust this guy?  No, you can’t.  Just last week our Joe Massaro detailed the real story behind the solar system Mark Ruffalo bragged about to Stephen Colbert, revealing that he did it with other people’s money and there’s no longer enough of that to go around.  After all, if a wealthy actor requires subsidies to make it all work, who’s going to finance the rest of us?

Mark Ruffalo may think he’s helping the cause of fighting fossil fuels and natural gas development, but what he’s really doing is demonstrating the shallowness of celebrity politics.   When you look closely at the Incredible Hulk all you see is “there’s no there, there.”


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