Prof. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. gets involved in citizen efforts to challenge Alcoa’s federal relicensing

Pace Law School Prof. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., co-director of the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic, traveled to North Carolina last week to tour Badin Lake with Yadkin Riverkeeper Dean Naujoks. The Yadkin Riverkeeper, which has conducted studies linking PCBs in mussels and fish in the lake and beyond to the shuttered Alcoa aluminum plant, is fighting against the company’s federal relicensing.

According to an article in the Salisbury Post, the Yadkin Riverkeeper hopes Prof. Kennedy’s visit will raise public awareness of its cause. Kennedy is president of Waterkeeper Alliance, senior attorney for the National Resources Defense Council, and chief prosecuting attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper in New York. Time magazine named him one of its “Heroes of the Planet” for his work in restoring water quality to the Hudson River.

“To me, this is a criminal enterprise,” Kennedy said of pollution that gets into the food chain and has the potential to affect the health of the unborn and children. He added,“This is worse than robbing a bank.”

State agencies in North Carolina are in place to enforce water-quality laws, Kennedy said.

According to the article, Kennedy delivered a keynote address Thursday night at Wake Forest’s Wait Chapel, speaking on “The Green Gold Rush: A Vision for Energy Independence, Jobs and National Wealth.”

After his talk, he appeared at a $250-a-person cocktail reception at the Graylyn Conference Center in Winston-Salem, raising money for Yadkin Riverkeeper Inc.

“He’s an amazing advocate for clean water,” Naujoks said, adding Kennedy was excited to be on Badin Lake Thursday. “For me, it’s an honor to have him here. … He likes to come to the front lines to see what’s going on.”

“There are real laws and real victims,” he added.

 

 

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