It’s been a few years since America’s pork producers suffered a sustained deluge of failed lawsuits from Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Waterkeeper Alliance, but that doesn’t mean that the group hasn’t been busy making life difficult for the families that bring food to America’s dinner tables.
The passage of time also doesn’t mean that Kennedy hasn’t continued making a fool of himself (he said that hog producers were “a greater threat to the United States and democracy than bin Laden’s terrorist network” only a few months after 9/11), this time by peddling dangerous conspiracy theories about vaccines and hypocritically trying to keep the “green” energy he professes to love from getting too close to his family’s estate. (Most of us have houses—it must be nice to have an “estate” or a “compound.”)
The latest target of the Waterkeeper Alliance’s lawsuit machine is the poultry farming community on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, who (like hog farmers) were treated to a “summit” complete with insults from Kennedy. Unfortunately, the Waterkeepers have the ear of Maryland’s Attorney General, who encouraged the assembled Waterkeeper supporters to step up the citizen lawsuits that could bankrupt family farmers.
In keeping with this new targeting, a local Waterkeeper accused the Hudson family (fourth-generation poultry farmers) of allowing runoff from a pile of chicken litter to enter the Chesapeake Bay. The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) investigated the allegation and found improperly stored treated fertilizer, not poultry litter. Indeed, MDE inspectors reported that “no animal manure piles were observed outside.” The Hudsons promptly complied with an MDE directive to move the fertilizer. Case closed, right? Wrong.
That didn’t stop the Waterkeepers from suing the Hudsons (and Perdue, whom the Hudsons supply). Even more outrageously, the Waterkeepers have used taxpayer-funded law clinics to do grunt work for their campaign against these family farmers, drawing an objection from Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (D).
Meanwhile, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. stands by an article alleging widespread collusion to cover up a link between vaccines and autism (a theory based on junk science) for which Salon.com issued multiple corrections and later retracted. In addition, Kennedy and Louis Moore Bacon, a hedge fund baron Kennedy called the Alliance’s “single largest supporter,” publicly advocate to keep the “green” energy the Alliance promotes away from their estates.
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