The editors of E: The Environmental Magazine seem so enamored with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. that they failed to realize their own cover story on the fact-challenged environmental crusader makes Kennedy look like one big hypocrite. Speaking of the Bush Administration, Kennedy was “quivering with rage” when he intoned: “Using what happened on September 11 to push forward their agenda is the most cynical thing I’ve seen in American history.” Yet, as the very same article reveals, Kennedy himself does exactly that.
Of course, the magazine didn’t mention the most obvious example of Kennedy using September 11 to advance his own agenda. Shortly after terrorists flew hijacked planes into the World Trade Center, The Des Moines Register reported: “Kennedy said large-scale hog producers were a greater threat to the United States and democracy than bin Laden’s terrorist network.”
What the article does discuss is Kennedy’s view that the Indian Point nuclear power plant on the Hudson River “should be closed down immediately” because “nobody knows whether or not a large commercial aircraft could break through the containment dome.” It’s not like Kennedy had that insight before September 11. An article on the Kennedy-run website CloseIndianPoint.org quotes him saying “The facts of 9/11 changes the risk assessment for nuclear power plants like Indian Point.”
Compounding his hypocrisy, Kennedy had been campaigning against Indian Point long before September 11, 2001, for reasons that had nothing to do with a terrorist attack. He wants to shut it down for trumped-up environmental reasons. In his stump speech, which predates 9/11, Kennedy tells the story of how pollution from Indian Point supposedly got so bad that a local suggested a terrorist act:
Somebody else said that they should float a raft of dynamite into the intake of the Indian Point power plant, which at that time was killing a million fish a day, taking food off their families’ tables.
While the article sings Kennedy’s praises for his arrest following a protest of naval exercises in Puerto Rico, it fails to mention that Kennedy got his start in the environmental movement fulfilling his community-service requirement after a heroin bust. Which is interesting because Kennedy also failed to mention this arrest in documents filed with the Oregon Department of Justice when his Waterkeeper Alliance applied for a license to solicit contributions from Oregonians.
Although Waterkeeper was required to provide a “complete explanation” of any instances in which officers have been convicted of a crime, the Puerto Rico incident is the only entry under Kennedy’s name. The group’s less-than-honest Oregon filing was made using a standardized form accepted by over 30 U.S. states; there’s no telling how many state Attorneys General have been taken in by Kennedy’s duplicity about his own past.