Sunday, January 30, 2005

RFK Jr Bashes Bush for 'Crimes Against Nature'

RFK Jr Bashes Bush for 'Crimes Against Nature'
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Kennedy believes most Americans, Republicans as well as Democrats, are environmentalists who support strong laws that protect nature.

But the majority of voters in November selected a president that Kennedy considers the single biggest hazard to the environment.

If the American people are so firmly behind the environment and environmental protections, why did they re-elect Bush?

Kennedy, who is speaking at the Wheeler Opera House today at 5:30 p.m., explained that paradox when reached on his cell phone while he rode the Ruthie's chairlift on Aspen Mountain yesterday.

He placed a big share of the blame for Bush's re-election squarely on the shoulders of the media.

It's more common to hear the media accused of a "liberal bias," but Kennedy claimed conservative influences have prevailed since 1987 when a policy called the Fairness Doctrine was abolished.

The Reagan administration gutted requirements that forced television stations to provide multiple sides in political coverage and required them to cover topics of community interest.

And looser controls on content freed the broadcasters to focus on "sex and celebrity gossip" rather than issues of public interest, Kennedy said.

So reporters trip over one another to cover the Kobe Bryant rape case and the Lacy Peterson murder case, but they "haven't done their job to tell the American public that the administration is destroying the environment," Kennedy said.

Kennedy considers this "a very troubling time" because of numerous ways that "corporate cronyism" dictates the Bush administration's actions without proper exposure.

Bush's "Healthy Forest Act," which was passed under the guise of thinning forests near populated areas to reduce risks of wildfires, is really an effort to weaken forest protection laws, he said.

Kennedy further noted that Steven Griles, deputy secretary of the Interior Department, is a former mining industry lobbyist.

He questioned whose interest Griles looks out for while he oversees management of millions of acres of public lands, including Bureau of Land Management holdings throughout western Colorado and Utah.

"The polluters have been put in charge of the agencies that are supposed to protect the public from pollution," he said.

They timed it to coincide with the Winter X Games so the message could directly and indirectly reach the broad, young audience that's invaded Aspen.

Kennedy, 51, is a senior attorney with the NRDC as well as the chief prosecuting attorney for an organization called Riverkeeper.

He is also founder and president of the Waterkeeper Alliance, which fights to protect the health of waterways across the country.

The NRDC is also in town for the X Games to raise awareness about global warming, according to John Steelman, the council's program manager.

He said he is convinced the ski industry isn't participating to "green wash" or make itself appear to be concerned about environmental issues to improve its image.

More than 70 ski areas, for example, endorsed federal legislation to reduce greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming.

Summarized by Copernic Summarizer


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