Citing that good environmental policy is identical to good economic policy, environmental advocate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., told attendees at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition (AIHCE) that big business should be held accountable for environmental injury.
Kennedy was the keynote speaker at the last general session of AIHCE yesterday in Orlando, Fla.
Kennedy''s speech was centered around the fact that this nation has environmental laws to protect the health of every American and everything should be to preserve those.
"In the 70s, Americans demanded environmental rights and the government responded by creating EPA and 28 major environmental laws over the next 10 years," said Kennedy. "Other nations around the world, such as China and Bangcock, who don''t have those laws, suffer from environmental injury, which has matured into economic catastrophe. If we didn''t'' have those laws in this nation, the same thing would have happened to us."
Kennedy emphasized that federal laws are in place to allow citizens to participate in the decisions that govern their communities, and these laws should not be ignored by big business.
"On Capital Hill they would like to give laws to the states for more community control, but the real outcome will not be community control, it will be corporate control," said Kennedy. "Federal laws are made to put an end to corporate blackmail and to give us the ability to control our destiny."
Kennedy challenged corporate companies who pollute the air and risk the lives and health workers and the community to pay the cost of doing business.
"A company does not have the right to endanger the air or workers to make a profit," said Kennedy. "The people shouldering the burden of environmental injury are those who can least afford to get sick. Most toxic waste dumps end up in poor areas where the community is too poor to defend itself."
Kennedy concluded by saying that Americans have an obligation to the next generation and as a community everyone should realize how the decisions made about the environment effect others.
by Virginia Sutcliffe