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WPA Environment Poster
1.21.05
Science and Health:
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
More on This Story:
Biography

NOW's David Brancaccio talks with prominent environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Recently Kennedy was tested for mercury and learned that his blood level was nearly double the EPA's safe limit. "The environmentalists are dismissed as tree huggers," says Kennedy. "But there’s nothing radical about clean air and clean water for our children."

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.'s Reputation As A Resolute Defender Of the environment stems from a litany of successful legal actions. Mr. Kennedy was named one of TIME magazine's "Heroes for the Planet" for his success helping Riverkeeper lead the fight to restore the Hudson River. The group's achievement helped spawn more than 125 Waterkeeper organizations across the globe.

Mr. Kennedy serves as Senior Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, Chief Prosecuting Attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper and President of Waterkeeper Alliance. He is also a Clinical Professor and Supervising Attorney at Pace University School of Law's Environmental Litigation Clinic and is co-host of Ring of Fire on Air America Radio. Earlier in his career he served as Assistant District Attorney in New York City. He has worked on several political campaigns including the presidential campaigns of Edward M. Kennedy in 1980, Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004.

He has worked on environmental issues across the Americas and has assisted several indigenous tribes in Latin America and Canada in successfully negotiating treaties protecting traditional homelands. He is credited with leading the fight to protect New York City's water supply. The New York City watershed agreement, which he negotiated on behalf of environmentalists and New York City watershed consumers, is regarded as an international model in stakeholder consensus negotiations and sustainable development. He helped lead the fight to turn back the anti-environmental legislation during the 104th Congress.

Among Mr. Kennedy's published books are the NEW YORK TIMES' bestseller CRIMES AGAINST NATURE (2004) THE RIVERKEEPERS (1997), and JUDGE FRANK M. JOHNSON, JR: A BIOGRAPHY (1977). His articles have appeared in THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, LOS ANGELES TIMES, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, NEWSWEEK, ROLLING STONE, ATLANTIC MONTHLY, ESQUIRE, THE NATION, OUTSIDE MAGAZINE, THE VILLAGE VOICE, and many other publications. His award winning articles have been included in anthologies of AMERICA'S BEST CRIME WRITING, BEST POLITICAL WRITING and BEST SCIENCE WRITING.

Mr. Kennedy is a graduate of Harvard University. He studied at the London School of Economics and received his law degree from the University of Virginia Law School. Following graduation he attended Pace University School of Law, where he was awarded a Masters Degree in Environmental Law.

He is a licensed master falconer, and as often as possible he pursues a life-long enthusiasm for white-water paddling. He has organized and led several expeditions in Canada and Latin America, including first descents on three little known rivers in Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela.

More from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.:

Protecting America's Rivers

Every year American Rivers solicits nominations from thousands of river groups, environmental organizations, outdoor clubs, local governments, and taxpayer watchdogs for the America's Most Endangered Rivers report. The ten most endangered rivers in 2004 are:

You can find out more about preserving America's rivers from the National Park Service's Wild and Scenic River Program

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