Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is wrong

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s op-ed in the Ventura County Star of February 4, 2007 was an outrageous and hypocritical assault on the interests of the citizens of Ventura County who in good faith are trying to deal with the intricacies of our local and global energy needs.

Kennedy mistakenly calls " consideration of offshore liquefied natural gas facilities near Ventura County" courageous.† Yet at the same time he has worked to stop a much cleaner wind energy project near the Kennedy complex in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts warning that environmentalists†† "should be wary of lending support to energy companies that are trying to privatize the commons."† So according to Kennedy,†it’s ok to privatize our commons for a filthy LNG project but not ok to privatize for much cleaner wind in his back yard.

Regarding east coast wind, Kennedy is concerned that "the economic burden this project imposes on the Cape Cod community is enormous -- the injury to marinas, the injury to beaches, the injury to property values." Take, for example, the boating community, says Kennedy: "Why would they want to spend the three weeks of their vacation paddling around in the middle of an industrial zone when they could go someplace pristine?"

But what of our marinas, boaters and property values and why would Kennedy support elimination of the pristine character of the Santa Barbara Channel?

A†passage in the Grist reveals: 'Kennedy argues that the regulatory process should stipulate royalties and benefits to the locals who might suffer economic setbacks from the development. ‘What [Cape Wind is] trying to do is circumvent that whole regulations process and privatize a heavily utilized public trust resource and turn it into a private profit-making industrial facility. If you can do that offshore with a wind plant Why not build a liquefied natural gas processing plant?"'† Clearly, Kennedy views LNG as a negative in this context.

Ok, I get it, clean wind power is bad and LNG is even worse in Kennedy's back yard but support for permitting the largest polluter in Ventura County by his buddy Mati Waiya is "courageous" even when according to Waiya, "I took money (for Wishtoyo) from BHP Billiton…."

Kennedy's position suffers from lack of contact with Ventura County's real environmental heroes.  The real courage in this issue is constantly being shown by regular people who refuse to cave in to the largest mining company in the world.  Those are the voices that deserve to be heard on local energy issues.

By Alan Sanders
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