Robert F. Kennedy Jr. visits Huntsville to talk about environmental issues

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was in Huntsville Wednesday evening to celebrate Earth Day. Kennedy came to the Rocket City to promote the local non-profit environmentalist group, Tennessee Riverkeeper.

In an interview with WHNT Kennedy spoke about the Tennessee River. Kennedy criticized companies for polluting the river and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management for not enforcing the law. The environmentalist activist says more needs to be done to protect Alabama's public waterways.

"The right has been stolen by the people of Alabama by polluters by 3M down in Decatur. Even up here in Huntsville, 15 miles up the river from Decatur, the fish have dangerous levels of mercury in them," says Kennedy.

He believes environmental issues are not a partisan topic saying everyone benefits from the fight to keep chemicals from being dumped in our rivers.

"People in this state are catching catfish from that river and eating them. They should not be eating poison. Nobody in this state whether you`re Republican or Democrat wants their kids eating poison," says Kennedy.

Kennedy says state and federal environmental laws are efficient, but those with power aren't enforcing them.

Kennedy argues the purpose of the law isn't to over-regulate industry, but rather just make sure companies aren't polluting public resources.

"We all want the government to do its job and stop the polluters. But unfortunately, the agencies, ADEM particularly in this state has become the poster child for agency capture. It`s become a sock puppet for the polluters that it's supposed to regulate," explains Kennedy.

His goal is for Alabamians to stand up for themselves.

"It's more important to change the politicians than it is to change your light bulb or your automobile. The other thing people ought to do is to join and support your local riverkeeper. Tennessee Riverkeeper is doing what the people of Alabama want done on that river," says Kennedy.

Kennedy's godson David Whiteside created Tennessee Riverkeeper in 2009. For more information on how to get involved with the environmentalist group, click here.