rfkjrYesterday, Salon carried an interview by David Tabot with Robert Kennedy Jr., a long-time environmental campaigner. It’s worth a complete read, but here are some key excerpts, emphasis mine:

  • The NRDC Web site lists over 200 environmental rollbacks by the White House in the last two years. If even a fraction of those are actually implemented, we will effectively have no significant federal environmental law left in our country by this time next year. That’s not exaggeration, it’s not hyperbole, it is a fact.
  • [Bush attaches] stealthy, anti-environmental riders to must-pass budget bills. In that way they can alter statutes without debate or public scrutiny. Furthermore, a lot of the environmental regulations are arcane and highly technical and require strict enforcement by the various agencies. The Bush administration is suspending enforcement or changing agency policies without altering the regulations. A lot of the changes are illegal, and groups like the NRDC will sue them and we will win the lawsuits — but that litigation process takes 10 or 12 years, and by that time the damage will be done.
  • The National Academy of Sciences predicts that 30,000 Americans a year will die because of the Bush decision [two weeks ago to abandon the ‘source performance standards’ that regulate air pollution].
  • [My father’s] book on organized crime was titled “The Enemy Within” — and I think the enemy within is still the greatest threat to our country, but it’s no longer the Mafia, it’s corporate control of our country and our communities, it’s the erosion of democracy. As Teddy Roosevelt said, American democracy will never be destroyed by outside enemies — but it can be destroyed by the malefactors of great wealth who subtly rob and undermine it from within. And I see that process happening today. And just as there were a lot of people who denied that the Mafia existed at that time, today there’s a huge lobby that is denying the fact that our democracy is really threatened by corporate control.
  • I helped Arnold [Schwarzenegger] put together an environmental policy, which Arnold read and then adopted. And it’s probably stronger than [Al] Gore’s policy.
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  1. katy says:

    Did your environmental policy include forest health or wildland fire-related issues? I’d be curious to read it. (I work in the wildland fire arena).

  2. katy says:

    (By ‘your’ I mean ‘you channeling bobby’) ;)

  3. Dave Pollard says:

    Katy: Since he’s legal counsel for NRDC and they have a set of position papers on the subject, I would expect he’s put it in front of Arnie. Let me know what you think of the papers, and tell us more about your interesting job!

  4. katy says:

    I have read some, but not all of NRDCs policy papers on wildland fire and I think they are consistant with my views. It will surprise you to learn that I am a little more extreme, however. (gasp! Not the Soul Eater!) I’m not as worried about people’s overpriced showcase homes as I am our diminishing resources. Isn’t California due to slide into the ocean anyway? I’m personally looking forward to beachfront Nevada. The surf lapping at the nuclear waste bunkers in Yucca Mountain, Nevada. (I’m kidding) I work in GIS/GPS fire support for a federal agency. I look forward to one day being fired for failing to learn to keep my mouth shut and my fingers off the keyboard.

  5. Dave Pollard says:

    Sounds fascinating, Katy. I read a novel about a year ago about a woman who worked in a fire lookout tower, and went slightly mad due to the isolation. I realize that’s a long way from what you do, but the reference to the fire support service reminded me of it. And since I once worked for a Canadian crown corporation on the West Coast, my guess is that your job must be in some ways fascinating, in others infuriating. Love to know more, if it doesn’t violate the Patriot Act of course ;-)

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