Robert F. Kennedy Jr. stopped in California yesterday to offer an Orange county lawyers’ group his thoughts on the brewing brouhaha over proposed toll roads in the area and a strong dose of his trademark environmental activism.
Before his speech at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Irvine to members of the Public Law Center, which helps low income Orange County residents obtain legal help, Kennedy spoke briefly to a reporter about Orange County’s environmental future:
“Good environmental policy is always identical to good economic policy, 100 percent of the time,” Kennedy said. “You measure the economy by how it produces jobs and how it preserves value, assets of the community.– “On the other hand, if we do what they’re urging us in Washington to do — treat the planet as if it’s a business in liquidation, convert resources to cash as quickly as possible — a few years of pollution-based prosperity can generate cash flow, but our children are going to pay for our joy ride with denuded landscapes and huge cleanup costs. It’s a way of loading the cost of our prosperity on the backs of our children.”“A good example is the (proposed Foothill South) toll road. It’s going to enrich a few developers by impoverishing the population of California, diminishing the quality of life. But it’s also going to impoverish the state. It’s a bad economic choice, for the reason that it’s a bad use of resources.”
The toll road would slice through the middle of San Onofre State Beach park, and has provoked strong opposition from activists, surfers and State Parks. Toll road builiders say they will mitigate any environmental damage.”Those parks generate billions of dollars every year,” Kennedy said. “There are 80 million visitors to California parks (each year), $6 billion in returns for merchants, businesses and the state of California. This is one of the most visited parks in the state. To convert it to pavement is a crime.”
Kennedy was skeptical of the toll road builders’ contention that Foothill South would ease traffic problems, and said Orange County should look for other solutions.”There are lots of ways to solve traffic problems,” he said. “We need to start being imaginative, not just the same formula again and again — destroying life in California.”
Source: Orange County Register