Rocket City Now
By Renata Di Gregorio

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – One of the country’s most widely-known environmentalists was in Huntsville Wednesday to encourage you to protect your drinking water.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. spoke at a Tennessee Riverkeeper event. He said every kid in Huntsville has the right to go fishing and bring that fish home for dinner without worrying about poisoning his or her family.

The Tennessee River Valley is one of the most biologically diverse river systems in North America, but that’s not why the Tennessee Riverkeeper group protects it.

“We do it because it’s our drinking water, for the sake of the people,” said David Whiteside, the group’s founder. “That being said, according to the EPA’s toxic release inventory data usually the Tennessee River comes out as one of the most toxic waterways in the country unfortunately.”

Kennedy is the founder of the Waterkeeper Alliance.

“We’re the community coast guard,” he said. “We represent all the people who want to see that river clean.”

Kennedy said this starts with holding lawmakers accountable.

“It’s not legal to dump toxics into a waterway and if you do you gotta clean it up,” he continued. “And unfortunately those laws are not enforced because the government agencies become captured by the industries they’re supposed to regulate.”

The activists told WZDX News that people are often presented the choice between jobs and clean water.

“And Riverkeeper really believes that’s a false choice,” Whiteside said. “You can have a clean air system and clean water supply as well as have a healthy economy and vibrant jobs.”

“The most important thing that you can do is get involved in the political system,” Kennedy added. “Tell your politician that you don’t want polluters in the state of Alabama, that you want fish that you can eat, you want your children to be able to breathe the clean air, drink clean water.”

Tennessee Riverkeeper has prosecuted over 40,000 Clean Water Act violations.

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