Robert Kennedy Jr: Green Visionary

Robert Kennedy Jr. won’t rest until his vision for a green economyis heard. He’s been visiting college campuses across the countryspeaking about the environment, energy, and the economy.

“Sound economic and environmental policies are intrinsically tied,and energy providers should reward customers for conserving powerrather than consuming it,” Kennedy recently told a college audience inPennsylvania.

His name recognition surely helps but this man is more than just aKennedy; he’s an environmental lawyer, a bestselling author, and servesas senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council and prosecuting attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper. Additionally, Kennedy is th President of Waterkeeper Alliance, a partner in Silicon Valley’s VantagePoint Ventures, and a professor at Pace University’s School of Law’s Environmental Litigation Clinic.

 "Good economic policy is identical to good environmental policy,"Kennedy told his audience in Pennsylvania. "A true free market promotesefficiency and the elimination of waste. We need to protect our naturalresources."

Kennedy built his reputation as a stalwart defender of theenvironment through a series of successful court cases as well as hiswork as an environmental activist.

His Pennsylvania talk was titled "Globalization and the Green Economy: A New Vision for American Leadership and Strength."

To that end, Kennedy said, “The nation needs to end its dependencyon oil, coal and nuclear power and instead invest in solar and windpower.  To do this, state and federal leaders must provide incentivesto those who opt for renewable energy and end subsidies for companiesthat pollute air and water.”

Kennedy said electric companies should make homeowners "energyentrepreneurs" and pay them for all of the solar-powered electricitythey produce, not just for a fraction of it.

Not afraid to take on his opponents head-on, Kennedy debated coal executive Don Blankenshipof Massey Energy in West Virginia in January. The two-hour forumincluded Kennedy assailing the coal industry’s highly mechanizedsurface-mining techniques while Blankenship took a different approach.

“Environmental concerns over the coal business are unfounded and anassault on American energy security and hardworking families who dependon coal for a living,” Blankenship said.

Kennedy gave an impassioned response.

“These companies are liquidating the state for cash,” he said. “Thecoal industry’s concerns about the survival of mining communities arespecious. Some 50 years ago, over 120,000 coal industry workers pulledthe resource from underground mines in West Virginia, Today, companieslike Massey Energy rely on contentious techniques like mountaintopremoval, in which explosives and vast machinery are used to lop offhilltops to expose coal seams for easy extraction.”

To listen to the debate go here.

Image courtesy of JSmith

With30 years of experience writing, Robert’s articles have appeared in theNew York Times, North American Windpower, and Distributed Energy.

He writes another blog on green building here:

Original Article on EnergyBoom


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