Actor and environmentalist Robert Redford has stepped out against the controversial Angwin eco-village, announcing that he will join the local group Save Rural Angwin.

An eight-year resident of the Napa Valley, Redford will serve on SRA’s 13-member Advisory Council, leading the group in its efforts to defeat the eco-village proposal.

“I believe that the citizens of Napa Valley, from American Canyon to Calistoga, care about preserving our beautiful agricultural and rural heritage,” Redford said in a prepared statement. “That is why I am happy to join the Advisory Council of Save Rural Angwin in its efforts to preserve this naturally carved land-basin from development.”

Members of the Advisory Council also include Meade Baldwin, Carl Benson, Guy Kay, Robin Lail, Dick Maher, former Napa County Supervisor Mel Varrelman and vintners Jon-Mark Chappelet, Hugh Davies, Mary Novak, Dario Sattui, John Shafer and Barbara and Warren Winiarski.

“Redford’s leadership will help make all citizens of Napa Valley aware of the fact that, to some degree, we are all stewards of the land,” said Donna Morgan, a member of the SRA steering committee and longtime resident of Angwin.

Redford — an Academy Award-winning film actor, director, producer, businessman and philanthropist — has championed various environmental causes for the last 35 years.

He was named by Time magazine as one of their Heroes of the Environment in a 2007 feature that cited his work on issues such as global warming and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

Time also noted his efforts to keep 1.7 million acres in Utah from development, a move that was unpopular with Utah residents, especially cattlemen and states-rights activists.

Redford will also be honored by Duke University this week or lifetime achievement in the arts. Duke’s LEAF award recognizes artists who promote environmental awareness and stewardship.

Officials from Pacific Union College, the institution proposing the 380-unit environmentally friendly eco-village, appear unfazed by Redford’s recruitment.

“As a member of the community, Mr. Redford is certainly welcome to participate in this discussion, and he has an open invitation to come  and speak with the college about his concerns and ideas,” said Julie Lee, spokeswoman for PUC.

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