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E-M:/ March 31: Robert Kennedy Jr speaking at Alma College



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Enviro-Mich message from "Rita Jack" <rita.jack@sierraclub.org>
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   I am notifying all Michigan environmentalists about
   an opportunity to hear Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speak
   at Alma College. I am including a press release.

   Contact: Skip Traynor
   Media Relations Editor
   (989) 463-7232 or traynor@alma.edu #040201 GE

   Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to Deliver Alma College Honors
   Day Address

   8pm March 31 in the Cappaert Gymnasium

   Emphasizing Alma College's mission to live
   responsibly as stewards of the world we bequeath to
   future generations, the College's Honors Day
   Committee has chosen Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to
   deliver the annual Honors Day Address March 31. He
   will receive an honorary degree April 1 from Alma
   College during Honors Day Convocation.

    

   Kennedy's front-line battle to save the environment
   runs parallel to the fight by Alma College faculty
   and students and community members to set a new
   course for the health of the Pine River in Gratiot
   County. In The Riverkeepers, a book Kennedy
   co-authored with John Cronin, the environmentalists
   wrote, "On behalf of their community they (New
   York's Hudson River Valley residents) challenged a
   status quo that said all was expendable in the name
   of business and profit. And they changed the destiny
   of a major American River."

   Alma College has built a reputation for developing
   community-based responses to local environmental
   problems and Kennedy's visit can help draw attention
   to some of the more serious issues, such as the
   Superfund cleanup sites at the former Velsicol
   Chemical plant in St. Louis and the closed Gratiot
   County Landfill. Alma College students and faculty
   have adopted the Pine River as a cause and are
   attempting to reverse half a century of
   environmental abuse of the watershed.
   College research and activism led to the formation
   of the Pine River Superfund Task Force, a community
   advisory group (CAG), that has forced State and
   Federal agencies to alter consent judgments, adjust
   cleanup plans and ensure citizen input in protecting
   the community's environmental health.

   When the EPA began a river cleanup to remove DDT in
   1998, faculty-directed student research and input
   from the CAG proved to be a thorn in the side of the
   Environmental Protection Agency and the State
   Department of Environmental Quality, but a champion
   for the county's citizens.

    

   Science student and faculty research forced the EPA
   to follow up on complaints of environmental
   contamination by Total Petroleum Co. resulting in
   the cleanup of one of the river's major tributaries.
   -More-Mobilizing public participation in the policy
   process, Alma political science majors and faculty
   were able to stop a flawed consent agreement.
   Refusing to be excluded, CAG members had major input
   into choosing more sensible, albeit costlier,
   cleanup methods.

    

   The CAG is pushing State and Federal agencies to
   clean for redevelopment the 52-acres of riverside
   land that has been the site of a chemical plant
   since 1935. The clay-capped, closed property is
   leaking an organic chemical cocktail of non-aqueous
   phase liquid (NAPL) consisting of DDT and
   chlorobenzene. The site is full of Polybromated
   biphenyls (PBB), Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB),
   Hexabromobenzene (HBB), Chromium IV and Lead.

    

   "The task force and the College are determined to
   use their resources to bring about the region's
   transformation from symbol of environmental abuse to
   one of good environmental stewardship," as stated on
   the Pine River Environmental Project Website.
   Earning a reputation as a resolute defender of the
   environment "whose message supercedes his golden
   name," according to Successful Meetings magazine,
   Kennedy has prosecuted governments and corporations
   for water pollution; argued cases to expand
   citizens' access to shorelines; and sued sewage
   treatment plants to comply with the Clean Water Act.
   The New York City watershed agreement, which he
   negotiated on behalf of environmentalists and city
   watershed consumers, is regarded as an international
   model in stakeholder consensus negotiations and
   sustainable development.

    

   Kennedy is the chief prosecuting attorney for the
   Riverkeepers and senior attorney for the Natural
   Resources Defense Council. He is a clinical
   professor and supervising attorney for Pace
   University School of Law in New York. He has worked
   on environmental issues across America and has
   assisted several indigenous tribes in Latin America
   and Canada in successfully negotiating treaties
   protecting traditional homelands.

    

   A graduate of Harvard University, Kennedy studied at
   the London School of Economics and received his law
   degree from the University of Virginia Law School.
   He received a master's degree in environmental law
   from Pace University School of Law.
   Alma College - A College of Distinction - is a
   four-year, liberal arts and sciences college in the
   middle of Michigan's lower peninsula offering a
   personalized education with uncommon opportunities
   that results in a life of extraordinary
   achievements. Founded in 1886 by the Presbyterian
   Church, Alma's mission is to prepare graduates who
   think critically, serve generously, lead
   purposefully and live responsibly as stewards of the
   world they bequeath to future generations.

    

   -30-

   Skip Traynor
   Alma College Media Relations Editor
   (989) 463-7232 or traynor@alma.edu
   Alma College - a College of Distinction

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Skip Traynor
 Media Relations Editor/Photographer
 Alma College Public Relations Office
 (989) 463-7232 or (989) 463-7327
 www.alma.edu
 Alma College: A College of Distinction



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