I think we need to "Occupy RFK, Jr. in White Plains." At this time, I don't mean for masses of people to invade RFK's physical space as been done everywhere in the past year. Maybe later. I mean we need to inundate Bobby's office with phone calls and emails telling him, "NO FRACKING WAY!"
On April 16, 2012, about ten of us including Patrick McElligott, Walter Hang, Sandra Steingraber, Bonnie Cannan, Lisa Barr, Ben Perkus and myself met for about three hours with Bobby Kennedy, Jr. in his office on the campus of Pace University in White Plains, New York to discuss the possibility of fracking in New York State. I, personally, came out of this meeting feeling that Bobby was, in his heart, against fracking. However, at this same meeting, when asked if he would sign Walter Hang's well known letter against fracking, a pledge to maintain the drilling moratorium pending resolution of the problems documented in the Withdraw the Revised Draft SGEIS coalition letter, which today has about 22,000 signatures, Bobby's response was:
"I do not see any reason why I would not sign the pledge." Bobby also said that he would have to check with Kate, meaning Katherine Hudson, Watershed Program Director of Riverkeeper, New York's "clean water advocate.
On Tuesday, June 26, Kate Hudson telephoned me to discuss the above. Ms. Hudson told me that Riverkeeper and Bobby Kennedy would sue the State of New York to stop fracking if Governor Cuomo issues fracking permits. When I asked Ms. Hudson why Bobby Kennedy would not sign Walter Hang's letter to withdraw the RD SGEIS, she told me that Bobby is essentially against fracking and had "relationships" that would allow personal lobbying to stop permits and, if Governor Cuomo issues fracking permits, Bobby Kennedy and Riverkeeper would sue! Hudson then emailed me the Riverkeeper link from Kennedy dated March 7, 2012 which states:
"My current position is that I oppose shale gas extraction by means of fracking unless and until the industry can prove it CAN and WILL be done safely for both human health and the environment.
I think that this position of Robert Kennedy, Jr. completely misses the point with Governor Cuomo essentially stating that he is ready to frack 5 counties in New York's southern tier!
I DO NOT feel that fracking can be done "safely for both human health and the environment" no matter how many "scientific" studies are done!
Bobby can stand tall against fracking if he wants to. He should! I know he has enormous family issues right now but Governor Cuomo's fracking timeline will not wait for Bobby. Here is my thought regarding a response to Kate Hudson. I think that people like Kennedy, who say they favor environmental values, still operate largely from their position of privilege which enables them to decide if and when they will support an issue publicly.
They have long records of looking as though they will go along and please but not until they feel no danger of jeopardizing their favors or privileges. In other words there are really no magic words or deeds we can do to assure any response we may want from Kate Hudson and indirectly by Bobby. He may decide to speak out about fracking but it might not be until two days before Cuomo issues fracking permits, or, the day after Cuomo gets elected president. To Kate: I understand you are calling to tell me that Robert Kennedy and his children have experienced a very traumatic event with the lose of their mother and want the summer to recover. I (We) have definite empathy for that sadness. We believe that Robert Kennedy, Jr. is against fracking and has stated so in our April meeting with Walter Hang & others.
Bobby wants to support his children. The way he could honor both is to renounce his support for fracking publicly and tell the Governor to do the same. This would undoubtedly be the most important act to assure his children's and all children in New York quality of life. He could then go away for his summer retreat with his ethics intact. We all know Governor Cuomo wants NYS residents/voters to go away on vacation when he pulls the trigger. Kate sent me an RFK statement that was dated March, 2012. Bobby left open the door that fracking was OK if there was a health study to say so, and, if there was scientific evidence to say it is good. We all know that is not possible. He is stalling, like Cuomo is but the only difference is, Governor Cuomo has the power and he will use it. Bobby, please come out once and for all and state what you said to me & 10 others on April 16, 2012 in White Plains: "No Fracking, No Way!"
To "Occupy RFK, Jr." please call and/or email Kate Hudson. Ask her to tell Bobby to sign Walter Hang's letter:
20 Secor Road
Ossining, New York 10562
"No Fracking, No Way!"