More From RFK, Jr.: Factless Diatribes of a Leftist Enviromentalist

The daily diatribes from environmentalists against President Bush are predictably devoid of facts, and a major speech recently by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, was no exception.

In fact, Kennedy’s rants in many cases were so disconnected from reality that one wonders whether he has any command of the issues, or simply feels no responsibility to present his views with even a thin veneer of fact, or both. In many cases, his charges against the Bush Administration, which are generally representative of national environmental groups, were simply bizarre, raising serious questions about the intellectual character of the modern environmental movement.

You read Examples 1 & 2 here.

Here’s a third — this one concerns his bloviations on the history of New Source Review enforcement cases.

Example #3:

RFK, JR.: “…they’re going to make billions of dollars through the waiver of new-source performance standards, which is the part of — the principal, fundamental compromise that allowed the Clean Air Act to pass was this obligation that the old, dirty dinosaur plants would not have to clean up right away, but they would have to clean up whenever they added capacity so that it wouldn’t add pollution. And most of them were in violation of that, or many of them were in violation of that…They were being prosecuted during the Clinton administration by the Justice Department. The Justice Department lawyers, when the Bush administration came in, were ordered to drop the cases.”

FACT: Justice Department lawyers “were ordered to drop” the NSR cases?

It’s difficult to convey how preposterous this statement is. As he is wont to do, Mr. Kennedy speaks boldly and authoritatively, yet has no grasp of the history of this issue.

To review: in May of 2001, the National Energy Policy Development Group recommended that the Attorney General “review existing enforcement actions regarding New Source Review to ensure that the enforcement actions are consistent with the Clean Air Act and its regulations.”

No “order to drop the cases” there.

So what did the Attorney General find in January 2002? “The Department has reviewed the applicable law, agency action, and representative pleadings filed in the pending cases and hereby reports that EPA reasonably may conclude that the enforcement actions are consistent with the Clean Air Act and its regulations.”

And the result? The Bush Administration pressed forward in several instances, reaching NSR settlements with Southern Indiana Gas and Electric; Wisconsin Electric Power Co.; PSEG Fossil; and, in the largest settlement of its kind, a $1.2 billion agreement with Dominion Virginia Power Co. to cut emissions from eight coal-burning facilities.