Kennedy son at Rivier to promote new book

NASHUA – If Robert F. Kennedy Jr. were a woman, he could not have children. He’s eaten too much fish.

Kennedy said he recently had his mercury level tested and discovered that his body contains three times the safe amount. The doctor told him a pregnant woman with such a high level would have a child with brain damage.

Kennedy, an environmental attorney and son of former U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, said the level of mercury in fish is just one reason he is dissatisfied with President Bush’s environmental policy.

“We are living today in a science fiction nightmare,” Kennedy said of the current state of the environment.

Kennedy will be in Nashua on Thursday to explain why he feels that way. As part of a national college tour for his book, “Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush and His Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Our Democracy,” he will speak at Rivier College at 4 p.m. in the Dion Center.

A book signing will immediately follow the speech.

The book, released Aug. 3, examines the influence large corporations have had over environmental laws during the Bush administration. Kennedy claims Bush aids corporations that pollute, like coal mining companies, because they contribute millions of dollars to his campaign.

Maria Comella, a New Hampshire spokeswoman for Bush, could not comment on Kennedy’s book, but said the president has worked to protect the environment during his term by proposing legislation like the Clear Skies Act. She said because of Bush’s leadership, the country now has cleaner air, water and land.

“This president put forth one of the most aggressive environmental laws in history,” Comella said.

Steve Lynn, assistant director of student life for Rivier, arranged for Kennedy to speak at the college.

He said colleges constantly receive advertisements from brokers about possible lecturers, but this one particularly caught his attention because of its relevance to the upcoming election.

“We’re lucky to have him come to our campus and speak about these pertinent issues,” Lynn said.

Lynn said Kennedy was not invited just to promote his book, although some of that will happen. He was invited as a way to encourage students to get involved in the election and give them a chance to hear about important issues.

Although Kennedy’s book is critical of the Bush administration, Lynn said Kennedy is focused on environmental, not partisan, issues.

Kennedy said the book is intended to shed light on the true nature of Bush’s environmental policy.

“I’ve supported both Republican and Democratic candidates. This is not a partisan attack on the president,” Kennedy said.

The college will hold a voter registration drive after the speech and book signing. The event is open to both students and the general public.