Poll: How Can RFK Jr. Best Serve Our Country?

6 12 2008

We’re curious to know your thoughts. What would you like to see RFK Jr. do next? After you’ve voted in the poll, please post a comment below explaining how you voted and why.

The “Fearless” Kennedy

19 04 2008

(No caption necessary. This photo speaks for itself.)


If RFK was the so-called “ruthless” Kennedy, you could call his second son the “fearless” Kennedy.

Considering what the conversation on this blog has been centered on for the past couple of weeks (freedom from fear), our readers may find this week’s Huffington Post article about RFK Jr. particularly interesting.

Reading over this and other coverage around the blogosphere lately, it seems like we’re all basically wrestling with the same questions and thinking the same thoughts that people in 1968 did. There’s plenty of frustration, anger and bitterness to go around this election year, too. Demands for dramatic, sweeping change. Talk of revolution in the air.

Perhaps we experienced some kind of collective “A-ha!” moment when the 40th anniversary of MLK’s murder came around recently (did we suddenly remember what a real hero was?). 

Could it be that Americans are finally starting to realize that we must make a choice — to fear or to fight — and that we can’t have it both ways?

Like any good soldier will tell you, nobody can fight worth a damn if they are consumed by fear. Nor can one feel afraid when they have the courage of their convictions. 

When you’ve been to the mountaintop, you’re not fearing any man. You know the difference between fighting and violence, and that “peaceful revolution” is not an oxymoron.

It’s time for us to lose the fear which has held us back for far too long and to get mentally, physically and spiritually prepared for the fight of our lives. Because we’re in it now, and there’s no turning the other cheek this time. We must understand that We, the American People, are in a defensive (NOT offensive) position – we’ve been pushed to the wall and have no choice but to fight our way out of this.

If we don’t fight now, it simply means we have decided that America is no longer worth fighting for.

I refuse to accept that. And I doubt that Mr. Kennedy would ever choose defeat by default, either.

It’s time for all of us to make that critical choice — and soon! — to choose courage over cowardice; patriotism over partisanship; duty over dissuasion; information over infotainment. It’s time to choose bravery over Britney, and America over apathy.

— Ed.


By Alison Rose-Levy

“Most Americans know more about Britney Spears than we do about global warming,” Robert F. Kennedy told the thousands people gathered at last weekend’s annual Being Fearless conference, hosted by the Omega Institute.

Forty years ago when the boomer generation saw its heroes gunned down one-two-three (JFK, MLK, RFK), many hung up the marching shoes and turned towards the inner journey. If we couldn’t face a scary world, at least we could control our own minds. Like Big Sur’s Esalen, the Omega Institute served as a safe place to escape the modern maelstrom, find community, and rediscover inner resources.

But as third generation self-help advice proliferates on the internet, many maturing seekers recognize the it’s not enough to heal ourselves, we have to face the fear, and take action to heal the world that is.

“This is the worst administration in American history–it’s put the worst polluters in charge of all areas of government” Robert F. Kennedy Jr told the conference attendees. As Kennedy, Valerie Plame Wilson, and others modeled a caring, balanced, and integral activism, they nudged the self-help movement out of its chrysalis and into the us-in-action movement. The recurring message was: “You have to speak truth to power. You must act.”

Back in my parent’s day, Kennedys in their prime were entrusted to lead, due to their rare ability to marry hope with competency and offer an accurate diagnosis and cure for our national ills.

In today’s harsh world, the Kennedy warrior of this generation is critiqued, maligned, ridiculed, and often censured by the mainstream news media when he offers an accurate (though discomfiting) analysis of environmental rollbacks, public health care policy, and their attendant health impacts. When Kennedy gave New York Times’ editors an array of DNA, animal, epidemiological, and biological studies that document the link between mercury and neurological disorders, they were so “hostile and antagonistic it was like talking to a brick wall,” Kennedy reported. In the past, the news media looked for investigative pieces. Today they look the other way, uncritically accepting government studies.

“The US has privatized safety research and by extension, the regulation of toxins. Expecting objectivity under these conditions is naïve at best,” says Kennedy, one of the few to connect the dots as:

• Campaign contributors are given posts in oversight of the industries they represent, where they
• Rewrite governmental regulations to protect their industry rather than the public good, resulting in:
• Environmental pollution, misuse of resources, and health care polices harmful to childhood and adult health

“We need to protect the environment not because we love trees–but because we love people,” Kennedy points out. A believing Catholic he questions those who thump the bible, and go on to plunder and pollute the Creation for cash.


The multiple crises we face all occur because vested media conglomerates have replaced a watchdog press, Kennedy says.

Goodbye to investigative journalism, foreign news bureaus, and fair reporting. Hello to misinformation, one-sided spins and cheap entertainment, appealing to the reptilian brain.

What happened? As part of the right to use public airwaves, network television was formerly mandated to provide news coverage even at an economic loss, Kennedy reminds us. But that ended in 1988, when Ronald Reagan abolished the Fairness Doctrine, which permitted broadcasters to cut back their news divisions and abdicate their responsibility to inform. Today, the CBS news bureau which formerly boasted Edward R. Murrow and others, is rumored to be seeking to outsource its reporting to CNN.

“We’re the most entertained, and least well informed country on earth.” Kennedy told the crowd. “Misinformation undermines democracy,” as 30% of Americans get their information from biased talk radio.

The boomer generation has to face facts: on our watch, this country took a very bad turn. The time has come to second activists like Kennedy and make our numbers count. In the allied areas of the organic food movement, integrative health care, health care policy reform, environmental activism, food and agricultural policy, media reform, election and judicial activism and other key arenas, many are carrying the meditation cushion into activism.


Story from The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alison-rose-levy/america-the-entertained-r_b_97000.html

The Next President’s First Task – A Manifesto by RFK Jr.

15 04 2008


Bobby Kennedy Jr.

Bobby’s latest article in the May 2008 Green issue of Vanity Fair reads more like his own campaign platform than it does advice to our next president (whomever that may turn out to be). Give it a read below and let us know your thoughts.


By Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Vanity Fair, May 2008

Last November, Lord (David) Puttnam debated before Parliament an important bill to tackle global warming. Addressing industry and government warnings that we must proceed slowly to avoid economic ruin, Lord Puttnam recalled that precisely 200 years ago Parliament heard identical caveats during the debate over abolition of the slave trade. At that time slave commerce represented one-fourth of Britain’s G.D.P. and provided its primary source of cheap, abundant energy. Vested interests warned that financial apocalypse would succeed its prohibition.

That debate lasted roughly a year, and Parliament, in the end, made the moral choice, abolishing the trade outright. Instead of collapsing, as slavery’s proponents had predicted, Britain’s economy accelerated. Slavery’s abolition exposed the debilitating inefficiencies associated with zero-cost labor; slavery had been a ball and chain not only for the slaves but also for the British economy, hobbling productivity and stifling growth. Now creativity and productivity surged. Entrepreneurs seeking new sources of energy launched the Industrial Revolution and inaugurated the greatest era of wealth production in human history.

Today, we don’t need to abolish carbon as an energy source in order to see its inefficiencies starkly, or to understand that this addiction is the principal drag on American capitalism. The evidence is before our eyes. The practice of borrowing a billion dollars each day to buy foreign oil has caused the American dollar to implode. More than a trillion dollars in annual subsidies to coal and oil producers have beggared a nation that four decades ago owned half the globe’s wealth. Carbon dependence has eroded our economic power, destroyed our moral authority, diminished our international influence and prestige, endangered our national security, and damaged our health and landscapes. It is subverting everything we value.

We know that nations that “decarbonize” their economies reap immediate rewards. Sweden announced in 2006 the phaseout of all fossil fuels (and nuclear energy) by 2020. In 1991 the Swedes enacted a carbon tax—now up to $150 a ton—and as a result thousands of entrepreneurs rushed to develop new ways of generating energy from wind, the sun, and the tides, and from woodchips, agricultural waste, and garbage. Growth rates climbed to upwards of three times those of the U.S.

Iceland was 80 percent dependent on imported coal and oil in the 1970s and was among the poorest economies in Europe. Today, Iceland is 100 percent energy-independent, with 90 percent of the nation’s homes heated by geothermal and its remaining electrical needs met by hydro. The International Monetary Fund now ranks Iceland the fourth most affluent nation on earth. The country, which previously had to beg for corporate investment, now has companies lined up to relocate there to take advantage of its low-cost clean energy.

It should come as no surprise that California, America’s most energy-efficient state, also possesses its strongest economy.

The United States has far greater domestic energy resources than Iceland or Sweden does. We sit atop the second-largest geothermal resources in the world. The American Midwest is the Saudi Arabia of wind; indeed, North Dakota, Kansas, and Texas alone produce enough harnessable wind to meet all of the nation’s electricity demand. As for solar, according to a study in Scientific American, photovoltaic and solar-thermal installations across just 19 percent of the most barren desert land in the Southwest could supply nearly all of our nation’s electricity needs without any rooftop installation, even assuming every American owned a plug-in hybrid.

In America, several obstacles impede the kind of entrepreneurial revolution we need. To begin with, that trillion dollars in annual coal-and-oil subsidies gives the carbon industry a decisive market advantage. Meanwhile, an overstressed and inefficient national electrical grid can’t accommodate new kinds of power. At the same time, a byzantine array of local rules impede access by innovators to national markets.

There are a number of things the new president should immediately do to hasten the approaching boom in energy innovation. A carbon cap-and-trade system designed to put downward pressure on carbon emissions is quite simply a no-brainer. Already endorsed by Senators McCain, Clinton, and Obama, such a system would measure national carbon emissions and create a market to auction emissions credits. The supply of credits is then reduced each year to meet pre-determined carbon-reduction targets. As supply tightens, credit value increases, providing rich monetary rewards for innovators who reduce carbon. Since it is precisely targeted, cap-and-trade is more effective than a carbon tax. It is also more palatable to politicians, who despise taxes and love markets. Industry likes the system’s clear goals. This market-based approach has a proven track record.

There’s a second thing the next president should do, and it would be a strategic masterstroke: push to revamp the nation’s antiquated high-voltage power-transmission system so that it can deliver solar, wind, geothermal, and other renewable energy across the country. Right now, a Texas wind-farm manager who wants to get his electrons to market faces two huge impediments. First, our regional power grids are overstressed and misaligned. The biggest renewable-energy opportunities—for instance, Southwest solar and Midwest wind—are outside the grids’ reach. Furthermore, traveling via alternating-current (A.C.) lines, too much of that wind farmer’s energy would dissipate before it crossed the country. The nation urgently needs more investment in its backbone transmission grid, including new direct-current (D.C.) power lines for efficient long-haul transmission. Even more important, we need to build in “smart” features, including storage points and computerized management overlays, allowing the new grid to intelligently deploy the energy along the way. Construction of this new grid will create a marketplace where utilities, established businesses, and entrepreneurs can sell energy and efficiency.

The other obstacle is the web of arcane and conflicting state rules that currently restrict access to the grid. The federal government needs to work with state authorities to open up the grids, allowing clean-energy innovators to fairly compete for investment, space, and customers. We need open markets where hundreds of local and national power producers can scramble to deliver economic and environmental solutions at the lowest possible price. The energy sector, in other words, needs an initiative analogous to the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which required open access to all the nation’s telephone lines. Marketplace competition among national and local phone companies instantly precipitated the historic explosion in telecom activity.

Construction of efficient and open-transmission marketplaces and green-power-plant infrastructure would require about a trillion dollars over the next 15 years. For roughly a third of the projected cost of the Iraq war we could wean the country from carbon. And the good news is that the government doesn’t actually have to pay for all of this. If the president works with governors to lift constraints and encourage investment, utilities and private entrepreneurs will quickly step in to revitalize the grid and recover their investment through royalties collected for transporting green electrons. Businesses and homes will become power plants as individuals cash in by installing solar panels and wind turbines on their buildings, and by selling the stored energy in their plug-in hybrids back to the grid at peak hours.

Energy expert and former C.I.A. director R. James Woolsey predicts: “With rational market incentives and a smart backbone, you’ll see capital and entrepreneurs flooding this field with lightning speed.” Ten percent of venture-capital dollars are already deployed in the clean-tech sector, and the world’s biggest companies are crowding the space with capital and scrambling for position.

The president’s final priority must be to connect a much smarter power grid to vastly more efficient buildings and machines. We have barely scratched the surface here. Washington is a decade behind its obligation, first set by Ronald Reagan, to set cost-minimizing efficiency standards for all major appliances. With the conspicuous exception of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s California, the states aren’t doing much better. And Congress keeps setting ludicrously tight expiration dates for its energy-efficiency tax credits, frustrating both planning and investment. The new president must take all of this in hand at once.

The benefits to America are beyond measure. We will cut annual trade and budget deficits by hundreds of billions, improve public health and farm production, diminish global warming, and create millions of good jobs. And for the first time in half a century we will live free from Middle Eastern wars and entanglements with petty tyrants who despise democracy and are hated by their own people.


Environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is president of the Waterkeeper Alliance, a non-governmental organization that promotes clean water throughout the world.




RFK Jr. Feels The Chill In Iowa (And Everywhere Else)

4 12 2007

RFK Jr. autographed photo 


The good news is: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has recieved more ink in the past week for his endorsement of Hillary Clinton than in the five months since his headline-hogging speech at LIVE EARTH.

The bad news is, much of the ink was thrown on him. From the New York Times to the Des Moines Register to the blogosphere, this was everybody’s week to hurl a few tomatoes at RFK Jr. And while smears from the likes of Dick Morris and Sean Hannity always come with the dinner, this time the liberal and progressive left got into the act as well.

Now Kennedy’s taking a beating from the very base of supporters he will have to count on if/when he decides to run for public office someday. He’s been called everything from “traitor” to “sellout” by the same people who up until recently thought of him as a saint.

All things considered, it’s been a rough week for Bobby, with slings and arrows coming from every direction, perhaps even some unforeseen.

While stumping for Hillary in Iowa, things got even uglier. Mother Nature, perhaps as unmoved by this horserace as we are, decided a massive winter storm might spice up the proceedings a bit. Letting loose a barrage of ice and snow which forced the closure of airports and the cancellation of campaign rallies across the state, she surely must have watched the candidates’ mad scramble with some measure of amusement.

Rather than focusing on Kennedy’s endorsement of Clinton, most media outlets chose instead to dredge up some controversial remarks RFK Jr. made in Iowa five years ago as the angle of their coverage. (For those who may not remember, he had told an Iowa crowd that “large-scale hog producers are a greater threat to the United States and U.S. democracy than Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network.”)

The New Snark York Times was probably the worst offender, managing to work the old hog farm fracas into both the headline and the lede paragraph of what should have been an article about Kennedy endorsing Hillary Clinton for president. (“Will Kennedy’s Remarks Hog The Attention In Iowa?” NYT, Nov. 29, 2007) And of course, the paper was quick to remind readers that RFK Jr.’s comments were once denounced as “idiotic,” “ridiculous,” and “one of the crudest things ever said in Iowa politics.” Ouch.


Robert F. Kennedy Jr., january 2007

After a week like that, have we any positive words to offer him? What counsel would we give RFK Jr., who dipped one toe tentatively into these troubled political waters only to get it scalded? Is there anything we can say that might buck the guy up a little and encourage him to not abandon the idea of a future candidacy?

All the usual advice sounds cliche’: “Keep your chin up.” “Don’t let the bastards get you down.” “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” “Keep fighting the good fight.” “Stay focused on the big picture,” etc…and so forth…just doesn’t cut it. It’s a struggle to find the right words.

But if I had the chance to offer Mr. Kennedy a bit of my own high-priced advice (which is always dispensed here free of charge with a money-back guarantee if not completely satisfied) — were he to consult me as his own personal Oracle, Swami, and Magic 8-Ball all rolled into one and ask, “O Merlin, how do I extract the sword from this f%*&in’ stone?” — I would tell him:

Somewhere in the world is a tree that has been struck by lightning in such a way that the scorch marks show your initials. Find that tree.

Somewhere in this world, there is a treasure that has no value to anyone but you, and a secret that is meaningless to everyone except you, and a frontier that possesses a revelation only you know how to exploit. Go in search of those things.

Somewhere in this world, there is a person who could ask you the precise question you need to hear in order to catalyze the next phase of your evolution. Do what’s necessary to run into that person.

And if all of the above just sounds like a load of pagan New Age claptrap to you, well… maybe it is. Let me rephrase this cosmic message in more earthly terms:

Lieutenant General Ricardo S. Sanchez, who was the supreme commander of U.S. troops in Iraq from June 2003 to July 2004, thinks his government has made tragic mistakes. Citing “a catastrophically flawed war plan,” he said, “There has been a glaring display of incompetent strategic leadership from our national leaders.”

Think of Sanchez as your role model for the coming year ahead, Bobby. I hope he inspires you to do the following things: (1) raise a critique of a group or institution you’ve been an instrumental part of; (2) rebel against the faulty execution of an idea you support; (3) put your service to moral truth above blind loyalty.

I think you’ll easily catch the not-so-hidden meaning in this metaphor.

Do what’s inside you, not what others expect of you. Stay true to yourself and you can’t lose!

But the best advice I can think of comes from one of your Uncle Jack’s favorite poems. Written during his first year in Congress, he took these words to heart and would quote them for the rest of his life:

So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.

 — Robert Frost, “Choose Something Like A Star” (1947)

Raves for RFK Jr. in Detroit

11 11 2007

RFK Jr. in Detroit, Nov. 7, 2007

PHOTO CAPTION: Kennedy addresses a capacity crowd at Wayne State University, November 2, 2007. Photographs by Marvin Shaouni.


If the overwhelmingly favorable reports we’re getting about Bobby’s latest appearance at WSU are any indication, he made a lot of new fans in Detroit this past week.

The local press accounts so far have been outstanding (yes, even hardenend old reporters can still be wowed from time to time): the Metro Times Detroit called his speech “nothing less than spellbinding.” Nearly every article we’ve seen suggests that if this man doesn’t run for president (to roughly paraphrase Shakespeare), our country is seriously out of joint.

Wanted to share a couple of particularly good excerpts from this week’s coverage here on the blog. First up, a taste of Metromode Media‘s Q&A With RFK:

“The Kennedys are by far the closest America gets to an actual royal family. Their political reach is far, wide and bi-partisan, and they have been influencing this nation in one way or another for half a century…

…Stepping out from behind the shadow of his uncle Ted, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has become one of the more prominent members of the family. No stranger to the public eye, nor to controversy, his notoriety is surprising given his apparent lack of interest in running for public office. This approach has afforded him a strong platform on environmental issues that is swayed by neither public opinion polls nor party lines…

RFK: Ultimately, Detroit is a maritime city. It is located where it is because of its proximity to the river and lakes, a nexus between Great Lakes. That’s part of its culture, of the city’s history.

If you look around the country, all of the great urban resurrections that have occurred over recent decades have begun with the restoration of the relationship between the city and its waterfront. Baltimore, San Francisco, San Antonio, Boston have all have made great efforts, focused urban renewal efforts connected to their waterfronts.

What happened during the 20th Century was that in these port cities, including New York City, the public was cut off from the waterfront. In New York, the biggest port in the world, there was no way for the public to access the waterfront. Only one [of the five boroughs] is connected to the mainland and yet people had completely lost their relationship to the water. In recent years, an effort has been made to build waterfront public parks and the public has flooded to them.

We’ve also seen this up and down the Hudson. The Hudson was polluted and its least valuable land was the closest to the river. Now it’s the most expensive land that is near the river. And towns themselves are experiencing revitalization and rebirth efforts.

MM: As rustbelt cities like Detroit work hard to regain population lost over the past half-century while desert metropolises like Phoenix and Las Vegas boom and sprawl, it appears that the US is headed down a scary path…Can you share your thoughts on the subject?

RFK: It’s backwards.

Ultimately, in Detroit, the city’s water is going to dictate its health. [We have an] enormous problem in the Southwest with sprawl development that is irrational, dangerous and careless.

The Colorado River is drained dry, it never reaches the city, evaporating ignominiously in the desert. The Ogallala Aquifer, which provides most of the irrigation water to the American Midwest is being sucked dry in Arizona, with water 100 feet below initial levels. Population increases increase water demand from Louisiana to Texas, and global warming is causing the evaporation of major reservoirs.

There’s a train wreck coming, and the cities that are going to end up with the strongest economies are those with the strongest environmental base, and Detroit can be one of those cities. Detroit has a future based on its waterways, and its water is the best investment that Detroit can make right now: restoring public access to waterways and fighting pollution in waterways.

Detroit — looking at its landscapes and surroundings — is one of the greatest places to live, and that value will be recognized by the marketplace and by people.

MM: What would be your advice for policy makers and business leaders as to where Michigan should go and how to get there in the world of alternative energy?

RFK: Look around. The states with the strongest economy are the states that have invested in energy efficiency. California has the strongest economy and Californians use half the energy per capita as the rest of the country.

One way is to decouple utility profits from sales of energy. Utilities make money by selling you more and more energy, which is not encouraging good social behavior. California utilities are making money by conserving. The utilities are paid premiums for getting their consumers to reduce the amount of energy they use. The utility makes money by doing good things rather than things damaging to society.

Another way is net metering. If an individual installs power generation capacity, like solar or a windmill, he can sell energy when he is not using it. The utility has to buy that energy back, which would encourage millions of Americans to make their homes into power plants.

This is good for the country because it makes us much less vulnerable — not only less dependent on foreign oil — but less vulnerable to terrorist attacks. It’s an easy thing to bomb a power plant, but much less difficult to bomb a million homes.

And there is the automobile, which accounts for 47% of our energy use. Detroit has fought fuel economy standards for 30 years and it has not only damaged our country enormously, but it has made it so Detroit is much less competitive with Asian and European manufacturers.

[Because of emission standards,] it is almost impossible for any American car to be sold in China. That is a billion auto consumers over the next three years that Detroit has no access to.

That couldn’t possibly be good business logic. Detroit automakers dug their own grave.

…Investment in the environment does not somehow diminish our nation’s wealth. It is an investment in infrastructure, like telecommunications and roads. It ensures the economic vitality of our generation and the next generation.

Read the full MM interview with Bobby here.

And from the Metro Times Detroit, we get this enthusiastic account:


“News Hits has listened more than its fair share of speeches over the years, but we can think of few that compared with the one Robert F. Kennedy Jr. gave at Wayne State University last week.

Speaking without notes to an overflow crowd of more than 800 people, Kennedy effortlessly covered a vast amount of territory, touching on topics environmental, historical, political, theological and personal, weaving it all together in a way that was nothing short of spellbinding…

…One of the biggest applause lines of the night came when he laid part of the blame for this on a “negligent and indolent press that has simply let down American democracy.”

Calling the White House press corps a “karaoke group for Karl Rove,” Kennedy said the national media — controlled by a handful of corporations and anything but liberal — share responsibility for the war in Iraq because they failed to expose the lies used to justify our invasion.

“We are,” he said, “the best-entertained, least-informed people on Earth.”

These disparate themes were tied together by the overarching issue of corporate control of government, which Kennedy described as the definition of fascism.

…Talking about this country’s use of torture to pry information from captured enemy combatants, and how such actions diminish us in the eyes of the world, Kennedy quoted the line: “America is a great country because it is a good country, and if we ever stop being good, then we stop being great.”

As we sat there listening to this, News Hits found itself wishing that this Kennedy were following in the footsteps of his father and uncle by pursuing the presidency. We’re betting it was a thought that passed through the mind of everyone who heard his speech.

During a question-and-answer session, someone did ask if he thought about running for office. Kennedy replied that he’s supporting Hillary Clinton, and that, if she wins, it’s possible he’ll seek the U.S. Senate seat from New York — a seat once held by his father — that will need to be filled.

Afterward, in a talk with reporters, News Hits asked Kennedy if he ever worries that maybe we’re reached a tipping point in this country, that the corporate grip on power is too tight to be pried loose, and that the public has become too dumbed-down to see through the fog of propaganda we’re subjected to?

The look he gave in response made us think that he’s never been plagued by that sort of pessimism. But he was too polite to chastise. All he did was say, `You have to keep trying.'”

Check out the full story from Metro Times Detroit here.

How many more newspaper, radio and TV journalists, internet bloggers, fans, friends and folks around the world have to yell: “Run, Bobby, Run!” — before he actually does it?

Hang in there, America. This race ain’t over `til it’s run. 

“And when the ghost has vanished, what do we see standing before us? A young hero thirsting for revenge? A prince by birth, happy to be charged with unseating the usurper of his throne? Not at all!

Amazement and sadness descend on this lonely spirit; he becomes bitter at the smiling villains, swears not to forget his departed father, and ends with a heavy sigh:

`The time is out of joint; O cursed spite! That ever I was born to set it right!'”

Goethe on Hamlet (pub. 1796)



Copyright RFKin2008.com. Article excerpts and photographs are the property of their respective owners. All Rights Reserved.

Kennedy Warns of Pollution Dangers From Poultry Farms

24 10 2007

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.


The Waterkeeper Alliance, an international environmental group co-founded by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., is organizing an “Eastern Shore Poultry Summit” Nov. 1 at the Wicomico Civic Center in Salisbury, MD, the Baltimore Sun reported today.

The point of the event is to raise awareness of water pollution that runs off large poultry farms, and try to find solutions, said William J. Gerlach, attorney for the eight-year-old advocacy organization.

Among the speakers at the day-long event will be Kennedy, a co-founder and chairman of the group; Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler; and Bill Satterfield, director of the Delmarva Poultry Institute, a farming trade organization.  “We’d like to start a dialogue among everybody – so we invited the Delmarva Poultry Institute, not just environmental activists,” said Gerlach.  ”Hopefully there will be good discusion and we will build from it.” 

Gerlach said he hopes to encourage Maryland  to issue factory-style water pollution control permits to large poultry farms, increase the enforcement of water pollution laws, and to allow public access to the nutrient management plans that farmers are supposed to follow.

The Sun reported on Oct. 14 that the poultry industry on Maryland’s Eastern Shore produces about a billion pounds of manure a year, and is a significant source of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. But Maryland has been slower than other states, including neighboring Pennsylvania, in requiring factory-style pollution control permits for large poultry businesses. The state is now considering these permits, along with inspections by the state’s environmental enforcement agency and fines of up to $32,500 for allowing manure into streams. (Yes, you read that correctly) But farmers have complained that chicken houses don’t pollute like factories, and that family farms shouldn’t be burdened with excessive regulation.

The Poultry Summit is open to the public, and runs from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Wicomico Civic Center. The cost is $25. The group held similar “Hog Summits” to address animal waste pollution in North Carolina, Iowa and Pennsylvania from 2002 to 2005.