Kennedy urges protection of rivers

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LOUISVILLE, Ga. - Environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. told friends of the Ogeechee and Canoochee rivers last week that the resource of water belongs to the people and should be safeguarded for future generations.

"We are reminding people that they own this water," said Mr. Kennedy at an event organized by the Ogeechee-Canoochee Riverkeepers. "It doesn't belong to the government. It doesn't belong to Georgia Power or any industrial farm. It belongs to the people. This is in the Magna Carta, every state's constitution."

The scion of one of the country's highest-profile political families lamented that, in recent years, the environmental movement has been painted as a plank solely in the Democratic platform, when it has nothing to do with political orientation.

"There is no such thing as a Republican or Democratic child," Mr. Kennedy said. "But environmentalists are being marginalized as tree huggers. There is nothing radical or militant about wanting clean water and clean air."

One of the founding members of the original Riverkeepers' Organization, Mr. Kennedy was the keynote speaker at a fundraiser at Old Town Plantation.

Also featured was author Janisse Ray, who wrote Ecology of a Cracker Childhood and Pinhook: Finding Wholeness in a Fragmented Land. She is a founding member of the Altamaha Riverkeeper and board member of the Satilla Riverkeeper.

"It was extraordinarily successful," said Ogeechee-Canoochee Riverkeeper Chandra Brown of last Saturday's event that raised about $150,000. "We raised a lot of money, but it was also about building support and raising awareness."

The money, she said, will support the organization's three goals: Awareness programs directed at the schools; monitoring the river and responding to complaints; and advocacy work to help shape the state's water use plan.


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