Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

  • Aired:  06/01/11
  •  | Views: 21,944

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. says mountaintop mining is not a good thing for American democracy. (6:26)

EVERYBODY.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

FOLKS, MY GUEST TONIGHT SPEAKS

OUT AGAINST THE EVIL OF

MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL.

BUT I LIKE TO THINK OF IT AS

FLAT LAND ENHANCING.

PLEASE WELCOME ROBERT FM

KENNEDY, JR.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

GOOD THE SEE YOU AGAIN

MR. KENNEDY.

PLEASE, NO FORMALITY.

NOW, SIR, YOU'RE A LAWYER.

YOU'RE AN ENVIRONMENT ACTIVIST,

YOU'RE PRESIDENT OF THE WATER

KEEPER ALLIANCE AND YOU'RE ALSO

FEATURED IN A NEW DOCUMENTARY

FILM CALLED "THE LAST MOUNTAIN:

A FIGHT FOR OUR FUTURE" WHICH

OPENS IN SELECT CITIES FRIDAY.

LET'S TAKE A QUICK LOOK AT THE

CLIP.

>> COAL RIVER MOUNTAIN IS OUR

LAST GREAT MOUNTAIN IN THE

VALLEY THAT HASN'T BEEN BLASTED

TO ASHES.

[BLAST]

>> I KNOW THAT WE LIVE IN A VERY

INTELLIGENT COUNTRY THAT HAS THE

ABILITY TO CREATE ENERGY WITHOUT

BLOWING UP MOUNTAINS.

[EXPLOSION]

>> THESE COAL COMPANIES ARE

ABSOLUTELY RAPING AND STEALING

THE LAND, WEAR AND AIR THAT ALL

OF US THOUGHT WAS OURS.

>> PEOPLE HAVE HAD ENOUGH, AND

THEY'RE STANDING UP TO THE COAL

COMPANIES.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

THAT'S PRETTY DRAMATIC.

WHAT I GOT FROM IT WAS: THINGS

BLOW UP REAL GOOD.

[LAUGHTER]

PRETTY AWESOME EXPLOSIONS IN

THIS MOVIE, RIGHT?

>> THERE ARE A LOT OF

EXPLOSIONS.

MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL IS A VERY

DESTRUCTIVE FORM OF STRIP

MINING.

AND OVER THE PAST TEN YEARS,

FOUR COAL COMPANIES HAVE LEVELED

AN AREA OF THE APPALACHIANS

LARGER THAN THE STATE OF

DELAWARE.

IF YOU WENT OUT HERE TO THE

HUDSON AND FILLED 100 FEET, WE

WOULD PUT YOU IN JAIL, BUT IN

APPALACHIA, THEY'VE BLOWN UP

FIVE OF THE BIGGEST MOUNTAINS IN

WEST VIRGINIA AND THEY'VE FILLED

2,500 MILES OF RIVERS AND

STREAMS.

IT'S ALL ILLEGAL BUT THEY GET

AWAY WITH IT.

THEY BREAK THEIR BUSINESS

PLAN -- THE BUSINESS PLAN OF

THESE COMPANIES LIKE MASSEY

COAL, WHICH IS A CRIMINAL

ENTERPRISE, IS TO BREAK THE LAW

AND SUBVERT DEMOCRACY TO GET

AWAY WITH IT.

>> Stephen: THAT'S EASY TO

SAY.

HASN'T THE FREE MARKET DETERMINE

COAL IS AMERICA'S FUTURE?

WE ARE THE SAUDI ARABIA OF COAL,

ARE WE NOT?

ARE WE NOT, SIR IN WE'VE GOT ALL

THE COAL THAT WE NEED FOR 250

YEARS, AND WHATEVER IT TAKES TO

MAINTAIN ENERGY INDEPENDENCE.

EVEN IF IT MEANS BENDING THE

RULES OR FILLING IN A FEW

VALLEYS.

DON'T WE NEED THE LOOK AFTER

AMERICA'S FUTURE?

>> IF WE HAD A TRUE FREE MARKET

IN THING JOY SECTOR, COAL COULD

NOT SURVIVE FOR A MINUTE.

IT'S THE MOST CATASTROPHICALLY

EXPENSIVE WAY TO BOIL A POT OF

WATER THAT'S EVER BEEN DEVISED.

WE CAN MAKE ENERGY A LOT CHEAPER

WITH WIND, WITH SOLAR, WITH

GEOTHERMAL, WITH ALL KINDS OF

RENEWABLES.

>> LET ME GUESS, HEMP, SOMETHING

LIKE THAT?

>> Stephen: REALLY?

WIND MILLS?

WIND MILLS ARE CUTE, OKAY.

I LIKE HOLLAND.

I LIKE WOODEN SHOES.

BUT YOU'RE TALKING KID MILLS.

NEXT THING YOU KNOW POT AND

PROSECUTION IS FREE.

IT SEEMING LIKE... HERE'S WHY IT

OFFENDS ME, SIR.

IT SEEMS LIKE A EUROPEAN ANSWER.

>> WELL, IT'S ACTUALLY... IF YOU

LOOK AT WHERE OUR ENERGY IS

COMING FROM, IT'S NOT A

PATRIOTIC THING TO BLOW UP AN

ENTIRE MOUNTAIN RANGE.

THE PURPLE MOUNTAINS MAJESTY OF

OUR COUNTRY.

>> Stephen: WHAT'S THE HARM IN

BLOWING UP THESE MOUNTAIN

RANGES.

DON'T GET ME WRONG, BUT THEY'RE

A RENEWABLE RESOURCE.

TECTONIC MOVEMENT.

WILL GROW A NEW SET OF

MOUNTAINS.

WHAT'S THE HARM?

WHO IS BEING HURT REALLY?

>> AS THIS MOVIE SHOWS, THE

PEOPLE IN AN LATCHBACK ANYONE

WHO GETS IN THE WAY OF COAL,

DESPITE THE MANTRA OF THE

INDUSTRY, WE BRING JOBS.

>> Stephen: THAT'S WHAT I

HEAR.

>> IN FACT, THEY BRING POVERTY

AND THEY DESTROY JOBS.

WHEN MY FATHER WAS FIGHTING

STRIP MINING IN APPALACHIA BACK

IN THE '60s, THERE WERE

151,000 UNIONIZED MINE WORK

CENTERS WEST VIRGINIA DIGGING

COAL OUT OF TUNNELS IN THE

GROUND.

TODAY BECAUSE OF A STRATEGY BY

THIS INDUSTRY, IF THEY'RE TAKING

TWICE AS MUCH COAL OUT OF WEST

VIRGINIA AS THEY WERE IN 1960,

BUT THERE ARE ONLY 15,000 MINERS

LEFT AND ONLY HALF ARE

UNIONIZED.

>> Stephen: THAT'S THE FREE

MARKET.

>> THEY BLOW UP EVERY DAY IN

WEST VIRGINIA, THEY DEBT NIGHT

2,500 TONS OF AMMONIA NITRATE

EXPLOSIVES, THE EQUIVALENT OF A

HI ROCHEA BOMB ONCE A WEEK, AND

THEY'RE BLOWING THE TOPS OFF THE

MOUNTAINS TO GET AT THE COAL.

THEN THEY TAKE THE ROCK, DEBRIS

AND RUBBLES WITH THESE HUGE

MACHINES AND SCRAPE IT INTO THE

ADJACENT RIVER VALLEY.

THEY FLATTEN AN AREA LARGER THAN

THE STATE OF DELAWARE.

THAT'S NOT GOOD FOR ANYBODY IN

OUR COUNTRY.

>> Stephen: IF THESE POOR

PEOPLE IN WEST VIRGINIA ARE NOT

GETTING JOBS, IF THEIR LAND IS

BEING RAPED, WHY DON'T THESE

POOR PEOPLE JUST HIRE LOBBYISTS?

LAFTD LAUGHTER

TO FIGHT THE COAL COMPANY'S

LOBBYISTS?

AGAIN, THAT'S THE FREE MARKET.

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

WELL, YOU KNOW, THAT'S HOW

DEMOCRACY WORKS IN WEST

VIRGINIA.

IT'S REALLY NOT A DEMOCRACY

ANYMORE.

YOU HAVE A FEW LARGE COAL

COMPANIES WHO HAVE SUBVERTED

DEMOCRACY AT EVERY LEVEL.

THEY'VE CORRUPTED THE JUDGES.

THEY'VE CORRUPTED THE PUBLIC

OFFICIALS.

AND AS WE SHOWED, TWO-THIRDS OF

THE PEOPLE IN WEST VIRGINIA

OPPOSE MOUNTAINTOP MINING, BUT

THERE IS NOT A SINGLE POLITICIAN

THAT OPPOSES IT BECAUSE THEY'VE

BEEN PURCHASED BY THE COAL

INDUSTRY.

THAT'S NOT A GOOD THING FOR

AMERICAN DEMOCRACY AND A

DEMOCRACY IS SUPPOSED TO BE

ABOUT PEOPLE, NOT ABOUT HOW MUCH

MONEY YOU HAVE.

>> BUT THE RECENT DECISION OF

CITIZENS UNITED SAYS THE

CORPORATIONS ARE PEOPLE, TOO,

AND THE AIM OF MONEY THEY HAVE

DETERMINES HOW MUCH SPEECH THEY

HAVE, AND SO CORPORATIONS JUST

HAPPEN TO BE BETTER AT TALKING

THAN PEOPLE ARE.

>> WELL, THAT'S A GOOD POINT

ACTUALLY.

>> THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

SO FEW PEOPLE SAY THAT.

THANK YOU, MR. KENNEDY.

ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR.

THE MOVIE IS "THE LAST MOUNTAIN"

OPENING IN SELECT CITIES THIS

FRIDAY.

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

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