Any time an environmental activist leader ends his comments by claiming, “That’s not an exaggeration,” you can be sure what you just heard was more style than substance. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. used these words in an interview with a Canadian journalist last month. Here’s what he said:
“President Bush has a secret war against the environment. It is a stealth attack. He’s now eviscerating America’s environmental laws. He has 100 proposed rollbacks of environmental regulations that, even if just a portion goes through, by this time next year we will have no federal environmental laws. That’s not an exaggeration.”
No federal environmental laws? By this time next year? If only a portion goes through? What kind of controlled substance was this guy on? (Actually, we know the answer to that one.)
Scare tactics like these have a long and storied history in the environmental movement. They’re used in order to grab headlines, build reputations, attract celebrity endorsements, and (of course) raise money. The truth, it seems, is secondary.
Kennedy has apparently forgotten that there’s an entire multi-billion-dollar federal bureaucracy devoted to environmental protection — one that shows no sign of losing its power. The U.S. government enforces hundreds of environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the Safe Drinking Water Act … and the list goes on. The Federal Register includes literally tens of thousands of pages of environmental rules and regulations. And the Environmental Protection Agency spends over $7.5 Billion dollars enforcing them every year.
We suppose it also wasn’t an exaggeration when Kennedy compared American hog farmers to Osama bin Laden, or claimed the Clean Water Act “was supposed to eliminate all discharge of pollutants by 1980.”
Somebody rein this guy in. He’s gone hog wild.