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Robert F Kennedy Jr. Speaks at Canisius College

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. spoke about “Our Environmental Destiny” at the Koessler Athletic Center at Canisius College this past Thursday right here in Buffalo on Main St near Delavan Avenue. This is the latest in the William H. Fitzpatrick Lecture Series that hosts national speakers in politics, government, academia and media. It is free, and open to the public. The inaugural speaker in the series was former United States President Harry S. Truman in 1962. Former United States President Jimmy Carter spoke here in 1993. It continually amazes me the high level of world-class speakers that we get here in Buffalo almost every week.

 
Mr. Kennedy, environmental activist and attorney, was a roommate of Western New York regionalism advocate Kevin Gaughan while completing Harvard University – Mr. Gaughan was also in attendance. Mr. Kennedy studied at the London School of Economics, received his law degree from the University of Virginia Law School, and received his Master’s Degree in Environmental Law at the Pace University School of Law. He is also the senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, the largest environmental group in the country.  Early in his career Mr. Kennedy served as assistant district attorney in New York City. He is co-host of “Ring of Fire” on Air America Radio, their number one weekend show, and has published several bestselling books.
 
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Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper Booth
 
Waterkeeper Alliance and Buffalo Niagara Riverkeepers
 
Mr. Kennedy is president of the Waterkeeper Alliance, which is the umbrella group for all of the riverkeepers, soundkeepers and baykeepers. Mr. Kennedy mentioned the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper branch headed by executive director Julie O’Neill. Mr. Kennedy went on to say:
“Each Waterkeeper is a law enforcement group. We have great environmental laws in our country but they are seldom enforced and fortunately all of the major environmental statues have a citizen supervision that allows individuals, any individual, when there is a violation of the law, when there is criminal behavior, any citizen can step into the shoes of the United States attorney general and prosecute that polluter for injunctive relief and for penalties from the federal government. That’s what the keepers do, that’s the kind of niche that we fill. We are the largest water protection group in the world, we have 17 keepers, we have 200 of them across North America, 17 in Australia, probably 10 or 15 in Canada, most of the countries in Latin America and Europe, seven in Russia, and seven in China.”
 
The way out of our economic crisis is through investing in the new energy economy.

“I am also on the board for the largest Greentech Board in America which is Vantage Point Venture Partners which does mainly Green-tech energy stuff. I have been working with the Obama administration on the stimulus package and the energy bill as it relates to basically decarbonizing America’s energy system. The way out of our economic crisis is through investing in the new energy economy. The biggest drag on American capitalism today is our deadly addiction to foreign oil. We are borrowing a billion dollars a day in this country  mainly from nations that don’t share our values in order to import a billion dollars of oil from nations largely that don’t share our values. That’s a $700 billion export in American wealth every year, and that hemorrhage in wealth has beggared a nation that when I was a little boy owned half the wealth on the face of the earth. If we can decarbonize our society or  just even achieve a limited objective of ending our addiction to foreign oil, we immediately get a $700 billion dividend for our country. That is a fairly simple yet very achievable task.”
 
The electrons are hitting our planet for free every day. Once you build it the energy is free forever.
 
“I’m on the board of one company called Brightsource Energy which has just signed contracts for 2.3 Gigawatts in power (one gigawatt is a billion watts, and a common measure of energy) with Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas and Electric. We’re building that plant cheaper than you could build a coal plant or a nuke plant, it’s bigger than any coal plant and nuke plant, and once you build it the energy is free forever. We don’t have to cut down the Appalachian mountains, ship coal in coal cars across the country, pollute our waters, pollute our air, destroy our mountaintops. We don’t have to go to Saudi Arabia and punch holes in the ground, and refine the oil expensively, and ship it across the Atlantic, with military escorts, and get in periodic wars, and again have oil spills and stuff. It’s free. The electrons are hitting our planet for free every day. We have the 3rd best solar power resource of any country in the world.”  
 
We can have $170 billion in free money forever. It ends our addiction to foreign oil.
 
“My home in Mount Kisco, New York is really a power plant. It gets its heat and energy from geothermal and from solar, we generate more energy than we use. We have the technology available to do that with every American home with paybacks in about two years.  (Paybacks are the point at which you break even in your investment. So you end up with the same amount of money as you started with, but with the additional benefit of having the project that you have created at your disposal).  We get returns of $170 billion a year, and that’s just in home insulation and home efficiencies, he have a two year payback and then we can have $170 billion in free money forever. It creates millions of jobs that can’t be outsourced, they are American jobs. And that’s the way to restore our economy. And it ends our addiction to foreign oil. A lot of people say that this $700 billion that we just gave to bail out all of the crooks on Wall Street it’s going to take generations to pay that back. But it’s not going to take generations. It just takes one year with no foreign oil. And we can take the whole thing back.” 
 
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Canisius College Koessler Athletic Center sign
 
Please check back for an upcoming post for more of Mr. Kennedy’s comments.
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