Sunday, July 20, 2014

"Anti" Kennedy's big times

Robert Kennedy Jr. has been influential, directly and indirectly, in a number of stories lately

Directly in the Washington Post's Robert Kennedy Jr.’s belief in autism-vaccine connection, and its political peril:
Sen. Barbara Mikulski listened impassively as Robert Kennedy Jr. made his case. He had to talk over the din in the marbled hallway just outside the Senate chambers, where he was huddled with Mikulski, two of her aides and three allies of his who had come to Washington for this April meeting.
Kennedy, a longtime environmental activist and an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council [NRDC], had thought Mikulski would be receptive to an issue that has consumed him for a decade, even as friends and associates have told him repeatedly that it’s a lost cause. But she grew visibly impatient the longer he talked. 
...As the meeting broke up, Mikulski’s brusque disposition toward Kennedy softened. “We miss your uncle here every day,” she said, referring to Sen. Edward Kennedy...
Keith Kloor's entire article is worth a read (he has also written a related Deliberating Over Kennedy’s Thimerosal Book)

The WP article does mention that this Kennedy, along with his work for NRDC, "sits on the boards of several green tech companies and is heavily involved in solar and wind power construction projects."

The NRDC was featured in a New York Times article on the key lobbyists behind the Environmental Protections Agency (EPA) proposal to curb emissions from power plants:
It was a remarkable victory for the Natural Resources Defense Council...
The group’s leaders understand the art of influence: In successfully drafting a climate plan that heavily influenced the president’s proposal
It's nice when the folks you are lobbying still remember your uncle - particularly if you sit "on the boards of several green tech companies."

This Kennedy is also influential with a lobby group called "Waterkeeper". I was surprised by Lake Ontario Waterkeeper President Mark Mattson during a program when he referred to Robert Kennedy Jr. as his boss.

Image from State proposes Indian Point shutdown in warm months
The actual Waterkeeper of this Kennedy had, in my opinion, a huge victory this week in its ongoing fight against nuclear power, as they've convinced New York state's Department of Environmental Conservation to recommend shutting down the plant during the peak demand summer demand months - under the pretense of protecting some fish.
Indian Point is but one New York state nuclear power plant facing the possibility of closure under the governorship of another son of a somebody armed with a law degree and a disposition to claim a knowledge of science, and a dislike of nuclear power - Andrew Cuomo.

Exelon is trying a new approach to make the Ginna nuclear power plant, financially viable, which was the topic of the recent, Exelon appeals to New York to keep nuclear plant running. If Ginna falls look for the James A. Fitzpatrick plant to fall soon after.

Waterkeeper Ontario has been successful in bringing this poison to Canada, as a recent ruling from the Federal Court indicated. Waterkeeper, along with Greenpeace, found success at the federal court fighting a project not likely to happen anyway; the ruling is being cited as setting a precendent to drive up the potential costs, and thus kill, the refurbishment of Darlington - which did look set to happen.

The fight against nuclear seems to me related to the campaign against thimerosal.

  • ill effects being claimed are controversial at best, kooky at worst
  • linear no threshold (LNT) is the emotion, more than the thought, which is simply the simplistic desire to judge everything as bad or good
  • the argument for action includes no consideration of the ill effects of the substitute.
Kloor's Washington Post article notes some of the effects being attributed to anti-vaccination campaigning:
A 2013 study in the journal Pediatrics found that recent cases of whooping cough occurred in pockets where vaccine resisters were located. Public health experts blame recent measles outbreaks on resisters. Both diseases were almost wiped out in the United States until the vaccine fear struck.
The impacts of Robert Kennedy Jr.'s energy efforts haven't exactly been benign either. The Ivanpah solar thermal power plant - which Kennedy described in 2010 as a "combination solar/gas plant" - opened earlier this year. It has been credited with, among other things, incinerating birds.
The Ivanpah solar thermal power plant in the Southern California desert supplies enough carbon-free electricity to power 140,000 homes. For birds, bats and butterflies, though, the futuristic project is the Death Star, incinerating anything that flies through a “solar flux” field that generates temperatures of 800 degree Fahrenheit when 300,000 mirrors focus the sun on a water-filled boilers that sit on top three 459-foot towers.
“It appears Ivanpah may act as a ‘mega-trap,’ attracting insects which in turn attract insect-eating birds, which are incapacitated by solar-flux injury, thus attracting predators and creating an entire food chain vulnerable to injury and death,” concluded scientists with the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory...  -How to Stop Solar-Power Plants From Incinerating Birds

for more on the Indian Point Power Plant issues, see View: Keep Indian Point open all year

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