Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Join me in the fight to protect our environment, our democracy, and our American values.
Homepage Action About Articles Press & Interviews
Make New York the solar hub for the East Coast
June 14, 2013

Albany lawmakers are on the verge of passing solar legislation that promises to allow New Yorkers to lower their energy bills...
read more ›
Utility deal company has
deceitful past

Times Union
June 6, 2013

This month, New York's Public Service Commission will decide whether to permit a Canadian holding company, Fortis Inc., to acquire Central Hudson, the electric utility serving 375,000 mid-Hudson homes and businesses. read more ›
Solar Panels for Every Home
The New York Times
December 12, 2012

We donít think much about pitch pine poles until storms like Hurricane Sandy litter our landscape with their splintered corpses and arcing power lines. read more ›
A President Breaks Hearts
in Appalachia

Washington Post
July 3, 2009

Mountaintop removal coal mining is the worst environmental tragedy in American history. When will the Obama administration finally stop this Appalachian apocalypse? read more ›
Hope in the Mountains
Washington Post
March 25, 2009

Yesterday was a great day for the people of Appalachia and for all of America. In a bold departure from Bush-era energy policy, the Obama administration suspended a coal company's permit read more ›
Block the Vote
October 30, 2008

Will the GOP's campaign to deter new voters and discard Democratic ballots determine the next president? read more ›
Palin's Big Oil infatuation
Los Angeles Times
September 24, 2008

I was water-skiing with my children in a light drizzle off Hyannis, Mass., last month when a sudden, fierce storm plunged us into a melee of towering waves, raking rain, painful hail and midday darkness broken by blinding flashes of lightning. read more ›
Obama's energy plan would create green gold rush
August 25, 2008

Barack Obama is a transformational figure in American history who's been able to excite the same intensity of feeling among Americans as I saw during my father's 1968 campaign and my uncle John F. Kennedy's 1960 campaign. read more ›
A Wilderness, Lost in the City
New York Times
May 29, 2008

MANY people are astounded to learn that there is a teeming wildlife preserve in New York City. Ridgewood Reservoir on the Brooklyn-Queens border is an oasis where an amazing range of plant and animal species thrive in a verdant landscape of steep hills and narrow valleys amid the city’s paved sidewalks.
read more ›
The Next President's First Task:
A Manifesto

Vanity Fair
May 2008

In early May, 100 of the nation's top business leaders gathered for a summit at a private resort nestled on 250 acres in California's Napa Valley. The attendees, gathered at the invitation of Silicon Valley venture capitalists, included CEOs and other top executives from such Fortune 500 corporations as Wal-Mart, Proctor & Gamble and BP.
download pdf ›
Michael Bloomberg

I've long argued that one of our most critical environmental issues is the challenge of making our cities attractive, enriching and safe places to live. The best cure for destructive sprawl is to build cities people don't want to abandon, places where they can live healthy, fulfilling lives in densities that don't devour our landscapes, pave our wilderness and pollute our watersheds, air and wildlife.
read more ›
Global Warming: A Real Solution
Rolling Stone
June 18, 2007

In early May, 100 of the nation's top business leaders gathered for a summit at a private resort nestled on 250 acres in California's Napa Valley. The attendees, gathered at the invitation of Silicon Valley venture capitalists, included CEOs and other top executives from such Fortune 500 corporations as Wal-Mart, Proctor & Gamble and BP.
read more ›
Texas Chainsaw Management
Vanity Fair
May 2007

Spinning the revolving door between government and business as never before, the White House has handed more than 100 top environmental posts to representatives of polluting industries. read more ›
America's anti-torture tradition
Los Angeles Times
December 17, 2005

It is nice that the Bush administration has finally been pressured into backing a ban on cruel and inhumane treatment of prisoners. But what remains shocking about this embarrassing and distasteful national debate is that we had to have it at all.
read more ›
An Ill Wind Off Cape Cod
The New York Times Company
December 16, 2005

As an environmentalist, I support wind power, including wind power on the high seas. I am also involved in siting wind farms in appropriate landscapes, of which there are many. But I do believe that some places should be off limits to any sort of industrial development.
read more ›
Deadly Immunity
originally published on
June 16, 2005

In June 2000, a group of top government scientists and health officials gathered for a meeting at the isolated Simpsonwood conference center in Norcross, Ga. Convened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the meeting was held at this Methodist retreat center, nestled in wooded farmland next to the Chattahoochee River, to ensure complete secrecy.  read more ›

Download RFK's original research paper: Tobacco Science and the
Thimerosal Scandal .pdf ›
Heated battle
New York Daily News
September 24, 2005

Global warming has made hurricanes worse. Virtually all accepted climate models say warming ocean-surface temperatures amplify the intensity (though not necessarily the frequency) of hurricanes and other storms. Hurricanes are giant engines fueled by heat, and warm water is steroids for storms. read more ›
Agencies Lack Credibility
USA Today
July 5, 2005

The success of our vaccine program rests firmly on the credibility of public health agencies. But the once sterling reputations of agencies such as the CDCP, FDA and the IOM have been badly damaged by the release of transcripts of secret meetings that show government officials conspiring with the pharmaceutical industry to hide the damning results of data showing dramatic increases in neurological disorders among children exposed to thimerosal. read more ›
Studies on Autism
New York Times
July 2, 2005

To the Editor: Re "On Autism's Cause, It's Parents vs. Research" The thimerosal debate does not pit parents against science but against public health authorities who rely not on science but on the reputations of their agencies to exonerate thimerosal - a mercury -containing preservative once used routinely in vaccines - despite scientific proof that it causes brain disorders. read more ›
Autism, Mercury, and Politics
The Boston Globe
July 1, 2005

Mounting Evidence suggests that Thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative in children's vaccines, may be responsible for the exponential growth of autism, attention deficit disorder, speech delays, and other childhood neurological disorders now epidemic in the United States.
read more ›
The Junk Science of
George W. Bush
The Nation
February 19, 2004

Today, flat-earthers within the Bush Administration--aided by right-wing allies who have produced assorted hired guns and conservative think tanks to further their goals--are engaged in a campaign to suppress science that is arguably unmatched in the Western world since the Inquisition. read more ›
Crimes Against Nature
Rolling Stone
December 11, 2003

For more than thirty years, landmark laws have protected America’s environment. In 2001, George W. Bush, financed by the energy industry and his supporters on the far right, launched a campaign to sabotage these safeguards and steal the national treasure read more ›
Why Are We in Vieques?
Outside Magazine
October 2001

For decades, the U.S. Navy has used a verdant, biodiverse Puerto Rican island as a target-practice bull's-eye, raining high explosives onto an idyllic tropical landscape. What's a loyal citizen to do when his government seems so thuddingly wrong? Sometimes even a lawyer's gotta break the law.
read more ›

Make New York the solar hub for the East Coast | link ›

June 14, 2013

by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Albany lawmakers are on the verge of passing solar legislation that promises to allow New Yorkers to lower their energy bills, deliver billions of dollars in economic investment, create thousands of new local job opportunities, modernize New York's aging power infrastructure, and ensure a reliable clean energy supply in the state for generations to come. There's strong bipartisan support for this bill, but precious little time remains on the state legislative calendar to enact the New York Solar Bill before lawmakers adjourn for the summer. So they must act fast.

The bill would extend Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's successful NY-Sun Initiative, which began in early 2012, for another 10 years. A public-private partnership, that program is well on its way toward meeting its initial goal of quadrupling the amount of solar installed in New York by 2015 (from the amount installed just four years before). In just its first year, the state saw a 91 percent increase in solar power investments over the previous year, at $257 million. And to date, the state has installed enough solar energy to power 27,000 homes, as well as put 3,300 New Yorkers to work in the state's growing industry.

The New York Solar Bill provides the last piece of the puzzle by providing industry the long-term certainty to invest, scale up, and make the state a regional hub for solar development and clean energy jobs.

Extending the NY-Sun program for a decade would exponentially build on this progress. Specifically, it is expected to:

* Save New Yorkers billions on their energy bills, by reducing the need to fire up the dirtiest and most expensive power plants.

* Create thousands of new local jobs in solar installation, maintenance and manufacturing.

* Spur millions of dollars of investment in the state's emerging clean energy economy.

* Provide enough clean, reliable electricity to power 400,000 New York homes.

We have the political will to capture these benefits for our state. So much so, in fact, that the bill has already unanimously passed the State Senate and it has support from a coalition of businesses, trade associations and environmental groups. A similar bill is expected to pass the Assembly shortly. But time is not on our side -- between now and the scheduled end of the session, June 20, Cuomo and leadership in both houses must come together and hammer out a three-way agreement if this program is to become law.

Superstorm Sandy exposed major vulnerabilities in the state's aging power grid, knocking out electricity for some residents for weeks. This disaster made it all too clear that we need to invest in an electricity delivery system that is more resilient, clean and reliable. Solar energy can help get us there. And with storms in the region expected to only get more frequent and intense -- predictions for this year's hurricane season are already ominous -- there's no time to waste.

The clock is also ticking on an opportunity to leverage federal funding that can help advance this program, and make private investments go further. A federal solar tax credit that expires in 2016 would help lower the upfront installation costs of solar projects for customers, thereby ensuring New Yorkers get even more bang for every buck invested under this program. Other states, including California, New Jersey and Massachusetts, have established long-term solar policy goals in order to take advantage of this federal tax credit opportunity and encourage billions in private solar investment. New York would be remiss not to seize the same opportunity as those states by enacting the New York Solar Bill before the legislature leaves town.

We're counting on our representatives in Albany to show their constituents that they can in fact lead on clean energy, and to not miss their chance to enact such a widely popular policy. To do so would be to let enormous economic, resiliency and clean energy benefits pass us by. And that's not something New York can afford to do.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

June 14, 2013