Wednesday, June 15, 2016

AAEA President A Featured Speaker at NBCC 24th Annual Conference


Johnson Publishing Sells Ebony to Clear View Group

Chicago-based Johnson Publishing has sold Ebony, its African-American lifestyle magazine, and the now digital-only Jet magazine to Clear View Group, an Austin, Texas-based private equity firm, for an undisclosed amount.  Johnson Publishing will retain its Fashion Fair Cosmetics business and its historic Ebony photo archives, which remains up for sale. The deal, which closed in May, also included the assumption of debt.
A family-owned business throughout its history, Ebony has documented the African-American experience since it first hit newsstands in 1945. It has shaped culture ever since, coming into its own as it reported from the front lines of the civil rights movement during the 1960s in powerful photos and prose.
In recent years, though, Johnson Publishing has seen declining media revenues as it struggled to evolve from print to digital platforms.
Linda Johnson Rice, chairman of Johnson Publishing and daughter of founder John Johnson, will serve as chairman emeritus on the board of the new company.
The new publishing entity, Ebony Media Operations, will maintain the magazine's Chicago headquarters and its New York editorial office, as well as much of the current staff, according to Michael Gibson, co-founder and chairman of African-American-owned Clear View Group.  It is the first investment in the publishing business for Clear View.
Cheryl McKissack, who has served as chief operating officer since 2013, will assume the role of CEO of the new publishing entity under Clear View, operating out of the magazine's Chicago office. Kierna Mayo is stepping down as editor-in-chief of Ebony to pursue other opportunities, Gibson said.
Chicago-based Kyra Kyles, who has headed up digital content for Ebony and Jet since last June, will add the role of editor-in-chief of Ebony, Gibson said.
Desiree Rogers, the former social secretary for President Barack Obama who has been steering Johnson Publishing since 2010, will remain CEO, focusing on the cosmetics business, which represents about half of the company's total revenue.
In January 2015, Johnson Publishing put its entire photo archive up for sale, hoping to raise $40 million. The historic collection spans seven decades of African-American history, chronicling everyone from Martin Luther King Jr. to Sammy Davis Jr.  The collection is still for sale.  (Chicago Tribune, 6/15/2016)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

SCOTUS Leaves Intact EPA Mercury Rule

The Supreme Court on Monday left intact a key Obama administration environmental regulation, refusing to take up an appeal from 20 states to block rules that limit the emissions of mercury and other harmful pollutants that are byproducts of burning coal. The high court’s decision leaves in place a lower-court ruling that found that the regulations, put in place several years ago by the Environmental Protection Agency, could remain in effect while the agency revised the way it had calculated the potential industry compliance costs. The EPA finalized its updated cost analysis in April.

Power plants are the largest source of mercury in the United States. Mercury is a neurotoxin that can damage children’s developing nervous systems, reducing their ability to think and learn. All told, for every dollar spent to make these cuts, the public is receiving up to $9 in health benefits.

In March, a month after voting againsy the Clean Power Plan — the Obama administration’s signature regulation on climate change — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. rejected a separate request to stay the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards rule.

More than 20 states had joined a lawsuit opposing the MATS rule, arguing that the controversial pollution controls mandated by the regulation are too expensive relative to the health benefits.

The White House and environmental groups argued that the rule was not only economically sound, but also an important public health measure. Decades of mercury pollution from coal-burning also has contributed to elevated levels of the toxin in fish. In April, the EPA issued an updated analysis of the estimated costs and benefits of the regulations, arguing that the cost for the industry to comply would amount to a fraction of annual revenue and probably would not lead to steep increases in customer bills. As the fight over the MATS rule has worked its way through the courts in recent years, many utilities have already complied with the new requirements.  (Wash Post, 6/13/2016)

Friday, June 10, 2016

Energy

PRESIDENT'S CORNER

By Norris McDonald

I have worked on energy issues for 36 years and felt that I had a pretty good handle on the issue until recently.  Now don't get me wrong, energy has always been a complex issue area, but lately things have gone upside down on me. The biggest confounding variable in my energy thinking has been the mixed phenomenon of fracking and horizontal drilling.  This technology changed the entire American energy game.

Fracking has been around for decades but when it was combined with horizontal drilling, it revolutionized the recovery of natural gas and petroleum. About a million wells used fracking before it was seriously applied to horizontal drilling.  Now, instead of being dependent on Arab or OPEC nations for oil, America is exporting oil and natural gas.  Amazing.  I am still trying to digest the full implications of how this technology has revolutionized American energy policy.

I also suspect that although only one percent of our electricity is currently generated by oil, I think this will go up by several percentage points in the next decade.

Below is some interesting energy information from the U.S. Department of Energy Energy Information Administration.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Americans use many types of energy

Petroleum, natural gas, coal, renewable energy, and nuclear electric power are primary sources of energy. Electricity is a secondary energy source that is generated from primary sources of energy.

Energy sources are measured in different physical units: liquid fuels in barrels or gallons, natural gas in cubic feet, coal in short tons, and electricity in kilowatts and kilowatt hours. In the United States, British thermal units (Btu), a measure of heat energy, is commonly used for comparing different types of energy to each other. In 2015, total U.S. primary energy consumption was about 97.7 quadrillion (1015, or one thousand trillion) Btu.

In 2015, the shares of total primary energy consumption of the five energy-consuming sectors were:

  • Electric power—39%
  • Transportation—28%
  • Industrial—22%
  • Residential—7%
  • Commercial—4%

  • The electric power sector generates most of the electricity in the United States, and the other four sectors consume most of the electricity it generates.

    The pattern of fuel use varies widely by sector. For example, petroleum provides about 92% of the energy used for transportation, but only 1% of the energy used to generate electricity.

    Domestic energy production is equal to about 91% of U.S. energy consumption


    In 2015, energy produced in the United States was equal to about 89 quadrillion Btu or about 91% of U.S. energy consumption. The difference between production and consumption was mainly in net imports of petroleum.

    The three major fossil fuels—petroleum, natural gas, and coal—accounted for most of the nation's energy production in 2015:

    The mix of U.S. energy production changes


    The three major fossil fuels—petroleum, natural gas, and coal—have dominated the U.S. energy mix for more than 100 years. Several recent changes in U.S. energy production have occurred:

    • Coal production peaked in 2008 and trended down through 2015. Coal production in 2015 was about the same as production was in 1981. The primary reason for the general decline in coal production was the decrease in coal consumption for electricity generation.

    • Natural gas production was higher in 2015 than in any previous year. More efficient and cost-effective drilling and production techniques have resulted in increased production of natural gas from shale formations over the past ten years.

    • Crude oil production generally decreased each year between 1970 and 2008. In 2009, the trend reversed and production began to rise. More cost-effective drilling and production technologies helped to boost production, especially in Texas and North Dakota. In 2015, crude oil production was at nearly the same level as in 1972.
    • Natural gas plant liquids (NGPL) are hydrocarbon gas liquids that are extracted from natural gas before the natural gas is put into pipelines for transmission to consumers. NGPL production has increased along with increases in natural gas production. In 2015, NGPL production was about two times greater than it was in 2005.

    • Total renewable energy production and consumption both reached record highs of about 9.7 quadrillion Btu in 2015. Hydroelectric power production in 2015 was about 18% below the 50-year average, but increases in energy production from wind and solar helped to increase the overall energy production from renewable sources. Energy production from wind and solar were at record highs in 2015.

(EIA)

Electricity Generation By Energy Source

In 2015, the United States generated about 4 trillion kilowatthours of electricity.1  About 67% of the electricity generated was from fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and petroleum).
Major energy sources and percent share of total U.S. electricity generation in 2015:
  • Coal = 33%
  • Natural gas = 33%
  • Nuclear = 20%
  • Hydropower = 6%
  • Other renewables = 7%
    • Biomass = 1.6%
    • Geothermal = 0.4%
    • Solar = 0.6%
    • Wind = 4.7%
  • Petroleum = 1%
  • Other gases = <1 li="">
Preliminary data; based on generation by utility-scale facilities.

(EIA)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

New York Mayor Should Support AAEA-Drafted EJ Bill

Letter of Support

Mayor Bill de Blasio
City Hall
New York, NY  10007

Re: Environmental Justice Act [Int. No. 886]

The African American Environmentalist Association supports Council Member Inez Barron’s Environmental Justice Act [Intro 886]. The legislation has numerous cosponsors and I sincerely hope that it will be passed by the council and that you will sign it into law.  We encourage you to let the New York City Council know that you support the legislation and intend to sign it upon its passage by the Council.

Your OneNYC was recently the recipient of harsh criticism from environmental justice activists who said that it does not reflect equity.  The criticism can be silenced if you support this legislation, which assures that the executive agencies and environmental justice activists will work together to bring about a just future.

The legislation is vitally important in protecting communities throughout New York City.  At present, there is no national or state law that protects these communities.  Int. No. 886 is a local law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to identifying and addressing environmental justice issues. Int. No. 886 sets up an interagency task force to develop agency-wide plans to assure that environmental justice in incorporated into the planning and implementation of agency duties. The legislation also creates an associated environmental justice advisory board, reflecting geographic balance, comprised of pertinent committee chairs or their designees, appointments from environmental justice community boards health or environmental committees, at least seven appointees who are directors, members or employees of environmental justice organizations and at least two appointees who are directors, members or employees of organizations engaged in research related to human health.

I drafted the Environmental Justice Bill for Councilman Charles Barron in 2003 and Councilmember Charles Barron introduced the bill (Int. No. 404) in 2004 with seven cosponsors.  After meeting with Councilwoman Inez Barron in 2014 to request re-introduction of the legislation and after much review and revisions by the Committee on Environmental Protection, Councilwoman Barron introduced the legislation that we are considering today. 

We encourage you to let the New York City Council know that you support Int. No. 886 in order to help accelerate passage of this legislation.

Sincerely yours,

Norris McDonald

President

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Guy Williams New President & CEO of Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice

Guy Williams
Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice (DWEJ) today announced that Guy O. Williams will become its first full-time President and CEO. Williams previously worked as a consultant and special advisor to the DWEJ Board of Directors and has worked closely with the organization since 2011.
The creation of this new position is driven by DWEJ’s desire to utilize organizational best practices. For the past five years, as special advisor to the Board of Directors, Williams has provided leadership that has positioned DWEJ to play a major role in Detroit’s transformation to a global model of sustainable redevelopment and a place where all thrive in environmental, economic and social health.
A graduate of Bucknell University, this summer Williams will be honored with the prestigious Bucknell University Alumni Board of Directors Award for Service to Humanity. Named 2014 Michigan Green Leader by the Detroit Free Press, Williams currently serves on the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Board of Directors and Chair Emeritus of the Great Lakes Leadership Academy Board of Governors. A Director on the Boards of Eastern Market Corporation and Pesticide Action Network North America, he also serves on the Advisory Board for the Center for Urban Responses to Environmental Stressors and the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessment Center.
A frequent speaker and presenter at conferences locally and nationally, Williams is known for his commitment—both in the trenches and at the table—to fostering clean, healthy and safe communities through innovative policy, education and workforce initiatives. Over the years, he has gained the respect of people at all walks of life, from residents of Detroit to policy makers in Lansing and community leaders across the country, making him a powerful change agent.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

AAEA Submits Comments to Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Excerpts:

According to 2010 Census data, 53 percent of the U.S. population residing within a 50-miles radius of IP2 and IP3 (approximately 17,231,000 individuals) identified themselves as minority.  With such a large minority population within this 50-mile radius of Indian Point 2 and Indian Point 3, environmental justice merits more scrutiny.  AAEA has provided such information for more than a decade.  The short version is that the major benefits of the plant should be included in the impact analysis.



We do not understand the NRC’s seeming reluctance to include these benefits in its environmental assessments.  IP2 and IP3 prevent significant numbers of hospitalizations and deaths from asthma and other respiratory and pulmonary problems.  Such benefits speak directly to the importance or renewing the operating license for the facility.

FULL COMMENTS

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Flint Water Crisis Fight In Senate Threatens Energy Bill

The fight over the water crisis in Flint, Michigan is threatening to tank the Senate’s energy bill [S. 2012Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015]. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who has taken the lead in negotiating for Flint aid with Republicans, has warned that her caucus could block the energy bill if it isn’t satisfied with the aid package for Flint.
Democrats want a $600 million aid package, with $400 million to match state funds to repair and replace old pipes in the city and the balance going to a research and education center on lead poisoning.
Republicans oppose the cost of the package and are angered by the threats to delay the underlying bill, which has had bipartisan support. The bill includes a number of measures aimed at modernizing the country’s energy systems and policy.
The water supply for Flint, a city of 100,000 people, was switched by an emergency manager appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2014 from Detroit’s municipal supply to the Flint River for budgetary reasons.  Water from the Flint River is more corrosive; without the proper corrosion controls, it caused lead from old pipes in the city to leach into the drinking water, making it far too dangerous to drink.
Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has introduced a compromise package worth $200 million that would expand loan programs to help out Flint and other cities with lead problems. But it would use money taken from the Energy Department’s advanced vehicle manufacturing loan program, a high priority for Michigan.  Michigan’s delegation took that as an insult.
Two officials involved in the water crisis — the former emergency manager for Flint, Darnell Earley, and Susan Hedman, the EPA regional director who resigned in January — declined invitations to testify.  Chaffetz subpoenaed the two to appear before members. (The Hill, 2/3/2016)

Friday, January 29, 2016

AAEA Presents Testimony At EJ Bill Hearing Before New York City Council

          AAEA President Norris McDonald testified before the New York City Council Committee on Environmental Protection on Thursday, January 28, 2015.  According to committee Chairman Costa Constantinides, it was the first time in the history of the committee that someone testified by Skype [McDonald was in California].

McDonald drafted the Environmental Justice Bill for Councilman Charles Barron in 2003 and Councilmember Charles Barron introduced the bill (Int. No. 404) in 2004 with seven cosponsors.  After meeting with Councilwoman Inez Barron in 2014 to request re-introduction of the legislation and after much review and revisions by the Committee on Environmental Protection, Councilwoman Barron introduced the legislation that we are considering today.  The legislation has 37 cosponsors.


Inez Barron & Charles Barron

The New York EJ legislation is patterned after a national EJ bill I drafted that we still need to get passed in the U.S. Congress.  AAEA formed the Environmental Justice Coalition to work for the passage of the national legislation.  The national bill, New York bill, Maryland bill and Mt. Vernon bill are listed in the Environmental Justice Coalition blog.[1]


Costa Constantinides

The Bills


Int. No. 886, sponsored by Councilwoman Inez Barron, is a local law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to identifying and addressing environmental justice issues. Int. No. 886 sets up an interagency task force to develop agency-wide plans to assure that environmental justice in incorporated into the planning and implementation of agency duties. The legislation also creates an associated environmental justice advisory board, reflecting geographic balance, comprised of pertinent committee chairs or their designees, appointments from environmental justice community boards health or environmental committees, at least seven appointees who are directors, members or employees of environmental justice organizations and at least two appointees who are directors, members or employees of organizations engaged in research related to human health.

Int. No. 359, sponsored by Environmental Protection Committee Chairman Costa Constantinides, is a local law to amend the New York City charter and the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to requiring a study of potential environmental justice communities in New York City and the publication of the results of such study on the city’s website. Int. No. 359 calls for a study of potential Environmental Justice communities in New York City, an identification of pollution sources, recommendations to mitigate adverse environmental impacts and a publication of the results of the study on the City’s website.

Recommendations


AAEA supports both bills and McDonald provided specific recommendations that would improve the legislation.  Although we like the Environmental Working Group and the Advisory Board provisions of Int. No. 886, the bill needs additional protections for vulnerable communities.  The additional protections from our national legislation that should be included in Int. No. 886, include:

Providing a citizen lawsuit provision to allow potential victims of environmental race discrimination to enforce the EJA and the regulations promulgated thereunder.

Providing a citizen endorsement provision to allow potential beneficiaries of nonpolluting economic development to enforce the EJA and the regulations promulgated thereunder.

Establishing the criteria for determining potential violations and endorsements based on comparative community health statistics, comparative community pollution sources and comparative community economic development.

Addressing: acts of discrimination and investigating all community complaints and recommendations related to development projects, whether filed before or after issuance of construction and operating permits.

Empowering citizens, and DEP at the request of citizens, to obtain injunctions to prevent construction and operation of discriminatory polluting facilities and operations that violate the EJA regulations.

Empowering citizens, and DEP at the request of citizens, to endorse the construction and operation of nondiscriminatory nonpolluting facilities and operations that do not violate EJA regulations.

Providing a definitive permitting process regarding demographics for citizens, developers, government agencies and investors.

Directing the DEP to develop EJA regulations.

Int. No. 359 should include types and amounts of pollution at the sources called for by the bill.  AAEA produced pollution studies[2] for Washington, DC that included types and amounts of pollution at each facility listed as an emitter.  It will be very helpful to affected citizens to have this sort of information at their disposal.

AAEA Testimony

Committee Report

Committee Hearing Video




[1] http://ejcoalition.blogspot.com/
[2] Our Unfair Share 3: Race and Pollution In Washington, DC, 2000, http://www.cfece.org/Ous3.htm

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

EPA Office of Civil Rights Proposal Weakens Civil Rights Protections

Agency Holds Hearings on Revision of Proposed Civil Rights Rule Revision

Environmental and community groups from five states that sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in July over the agency’s failure to take action on civil rights complaints are calling for the agency to significantly strengthen a rule it proposed last month to revise the way the agency handles civil rights complaints.
On Dec. 14, the federal register published the proposed rule that was intended to improve the way the EPA’s Office of Civil Rights responds to civil rights complaints it receives. The proposed revision, however, actually weakens existing protections by removing deadlines for the agency to respond and investigate complaints, according to the groups that filed suit.
Under the current rule, the EPA has five days to acknowledge receipt of a civil rights compliant, 20 days to decide whether the complaint merits an investigation and 180 days to make a preliminary finding of discrimination. However, the EPA’s proposed update would remove statutory deadlines, no longer requiring the agency to take action within any specific period of time.
The EPA, under the proposal, would no longer have to accept all valid complaints but would have discretion to decide which complaints to pursue.
The proposed rulemaking comes on the heels of an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity in August that found that the Office of Civil Rights has failed to investigate and act on claims filed under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which allows federal agencies to withhold funds from local and state governments that discriminate on the basis of race or national origin.
The investigation, which culminated in a seven-part news series,"Environmental Justice Denied"determined that the EPA dismissed 90 percent of claims it received alleging environmental discrimination and that it never issued a finding of environmental discrimination in its 22-year history of investigating civil rights complaints despite repeated national studies showing that communities of color face a disproportionate burden of environmental pollution.
In July, Earthjustice on behalf of groups around the country sued the EPA for allowing five separate civil rights complaints to stall for more than a decade. The complaints involve discrimination by the states in granting permits that subject already overburdened low-income communities of color to more big-polluting facilities. 
The EPA, launched a 60-day comment period on the rule, which began Dec. 14, and is holding five public hearings in January in Chicago, Ill.; Houston, Texas; Oakland, Calif.; Research Triangle Park, N.C. and Washington, D.C. to receive comments about the rule.
Available Resources
Earthjustice Feature: Righting Civil Wrongs
###
Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law organization dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth, and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment.
Earthjustice.org

US Civil Rights Commission to Examine EPA, Civil Rights and Coal Ash

WHAT: The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is holding a hearing on Friday, Jan. 22., to examine EPA’s  track record of protecting civil rights with regard to the placement of coal ash disposal facilities near minority and low income communities. Coal ash is the toxic waste that remains after coal is burned in power plants. 
EPA has found that communities of color and low-income communities suffer greater risk from coal ash pollution than the general population. 
Among those testifying are Lois Gibbs, who spearhead the response to  Love Canal, a suspect disease-causing industrial and chemical dumpsite, buried beneath homes, in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Gibbs’ work led to the designation of the first superfund site with federal funds designated for environmental cleanup. 
Earthjustice Attorney Lisa Evans, who has led the national effort to regulate coal will testify along with Earthjustice attorney Marianne Engleman Lado, who filed a civil rights complaint against the EPA  in 2013 for failing to protect the civil rights of residents of Uniontown, Alabama, a nearly all-black community that received 4 million yards of toxic coal ash from the largest coal ash spill in Kingston, Tenn in 2008. Kingston, Tenn., is a predominantly white community. 
Ester Calhoun, a resident of Uniontown Alabama, and president of Black Belt Citizens for Health & Justice, will testify at 9 am. 
Lisa Evans and Marianne Engleman Lado are scheduled to testify at 2:30 pm. 
WHEN: January 22, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET 
WHERE: U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
1331 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 1150
Washington, DC 20425 (Entrance on F Street NW)

Monday, January 04, 2016

National Black Chamber of Commerce Does Not Mislead Minorities

PRESIDENT'S CORNER

By Norris McDonald

I read Martin Luther King, III's Christmas present article to National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) President Harry Alford and I have to disagree with his assessment.  I have known Mr. Alford for a couple of decades and I know his primary interest is in promoting Black business.  Period. And to the extent he does that, I totally support him.  Now we do not agree on everything, but we are on the same page when it comes to promoting Black business opportunities. Mr. Alford opposes ANYTHING that he considers to be a deterrent to Black business development.  I understand his mission completely.

AAEA is an environmental group that seeks to resolve environmental problems through the application of practical solutions. We are also the only environmental group working to increase African American ownership of energy infrastructure and resources, including the fossil fuels industries.  AAEA and NBCC are on the same page when it comes to Black ownership of energy resources and infrastructure.

With over three decades of Inside The Beltway experience, I also understand politics.  And Mr. King's article was strictly political. You have to pick a side and support it 110% or you are useless. Mr. King has picked a side.  Mr. Alford has picked another side.  Let's look at the sides.

The EPA global warming agenda is symbolic at best.  It will do nothing to slow global warming.  Just ask China and India.  It is political symbolism just like the recent United Nations climate change agreement among almost 200 countries.  These are the HOV lanes of climate change.  EPA acted because the Congress would not.  As with most other clean air regulations, these will flounder around in the litigation pool and alternative regs will be drafted at some future date. The Clean Power Plan will not mitigate global warming.  But our Energy Defense Reservations (EDR) Program would.  We are working to get the NBCC, the Obama administration and the energy sector to accept this approach as our front line offense for mitigating global warming [We would also welcome Mr. King's support].  It is a technology-driven program that will actually reduce global warming and create real jobs.

As far as the NBCC being funded by the energy sector: GOOD FOR THEM.  We would also love to be funded by the energy sector.  Make checks payable to AAEA.  We want more than luncheon and conference funding though. We want partnerships that promote Black ownership of energy infrastructure and resources.  The energy sector does not like it so much when we bring this up.  But they should understand that they could benefit from such partnerships [See our LNG work].

So-called 'clean energy jobs' WILL NEVER compete with the traditional energy sources.  If anybody tries to tell you different, THEY are the ones misleading you.  Moreover, Blacks own virtually none of the fossil fuels industry.  How can Blacks oppose using fossil fuels when we have never owned the mechanisms or materials or resources in this sector? This is why President Obama's true energy agenda includes ALL OF THE ABOVE energy sources.  His Clean Power Plan is largely political to appease the environmental movement and the liberal left.

Our electric power grid can reliably get baseload power from two sources: 1) nuclear power and 2) coal. Natural gas is such a premium fuel that I hate to see it used to produce baseload electricity. The super economies of China and India understand this.  Anyone who says renewables can reliably produce baseload power is misleading you.

Hydraulic fracturing has removed any energy vulnerability for our national security.  That is why Congress recently repealed the ban on the U.S. exporting petroleum.  America is in the process of exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) too. President Obama's Clean Power Plan cannot reduce utility bills.  Botched deregulation in the 1990's and the reconciliation of that debacle will double electricity bills no matter what.

So Mr. King's shot across Mr. Alford's bow was political and useless.  Instead of blacks attacking each other for marginal political gain, we should be working together to aggressively get Black ownership of energy sector resources and infrastructure.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Company Fires Anti-Protester Immediately for Going Racist

John Pisone, in the video below, decided to go full tilt racist on black videographer Tom Jefferson during an anti-fracking rally (against Rex Energy) in Pennsylvania.  Upon seeing the video, Pisone's employer, MMC Land Management, fired him immediately and posted the following statement on facebook:


Today, we were disgusted to learn that one of MMC’s former employees used racial slurs and made racially charged comments during a peaceful protest in Mars, Pennsylvania, outside of work hours at a location with which we have no affiliation. We are sorry that this incident occurred. Whether at work or not, we do not condone hate speech - EVER. Inclusion and diversity are among MMC’s core values. We believe in equality for everyone, regardless of race, age, gender identity, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. MMC has terminated this employee and will never do business with him again in the future.




Jefferson is currently working on a documentary entitled "The Way We Live," which is focused on social justice and climate change.  The protest that upset Pisone stemmed from an ongoing battle over six proposed drilling wells on Rex Energy's Geyer well pad, a permitted site located approximately six miles from the Mars School District campus, which serves 3,200 students.

We applaud MMC Land Management.

(RT, Philly Voice)

Friday, January 01, 2016

Arnold B. Baker Appointed to Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans


Arnold B. Baker
Arnold B. Baker
In April 2015, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal appointed New Orleans businessman Arnold B. Baker to the Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans. Baker will serve a five-year term, succeeding Daniel F. Packer, one of four Orleans Parish representatives on the seven-member regional Board that governs Port operations in Orleans, Jefferson and St. Bernard parishes.
 
Baker is owner and founder of New Orleans-based Baker Ready Mix and Building Materials, which operates three plants in the area, a fleet of mixer trucks and employs 40 local drivers, technicians and industry professionals.

Prior to founding Baker Ready Mix in 2003, Baker served as president of Centergy Development Group - a consultancy created to implement redevelopment strategies for distressed commercial real estate - from 1999 until 2003. He also served as Assistant to Mayor Marc Morial of New Orleans' Policy, Planning and Development and Director of Small & Emerging Business Development from 1996 until 1999. Before his public sector commitment, Baker regularly received industry awards working for Simon Development Group and General Growth Properties, two of the world's largest shopping mall developers.

Baker currently serves on the boards of the New Orleans Board of Trade, New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, Southern Black Chamber of Commerce, Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, Kate Middleton Elementary School, New Orleans Start Up Fund, the National Black Chamber of Commerce, Dillard University School of Business, and the Bayou District Foundation.

He has served on many boards and commissions including GNO Inc. , the New Orleans Bureau of Governmental Research and the New Orleans Business Council, as well as being Vice Chairman of the New Orleans Business Council and CoFounder of the several Black Chambers throughout the state of Louisiana.  He is a former chairman of the National Black Chamber of Commerce.

Baker grew up in a military family moving frequently between the United State and Europe, primarily attending military schools on military bases. Attending Texas State University on a football scholarship and achieving All American status as a junior, he graduated with degrees in marketing and business administration. Baker also earned a certified marketing director certification from the International Council of Shopping Center Management Institute at Michigan State University; a Marketing Director 1 certification from the University of Miami and a WOC Advance Concrete Certification.

He chose New Orleans as his "hometown," where he has resided since 1992. He is married to Tracee Dundas, the producer of "New Orleans Fashion Week" and co host of "Fashion Fridays on Fox".

The Port of New Orleans is a deep-draft multipurpose port at the center of the world's busiest port system - Louisiana's Lower Mississippi River. Connected to major inland markets and Canada via 14,500 miles of waterways, six class-1 railroads and the interstate highway system, the Port is the ideal gateway for steel, project cargo, containers, coffee, natural rubber, chemicals, forest products, manufactured goods and cruising.

(The New Orleans Agenda)

Saturday, November 07, 2015

AAEA Supports Liberty Port Ambrose LNG Project at FEIS Hearing

The Liberty Port Ambrose LNG application is currently pending before the U.S. Maritime Administration.  The U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Maritime Administration have produced a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and a hearing was held on Monday, November 2, 2015 at the Long Beach Hotel in Long Beach, New York.  AAEA President Norris McDonald presented a statement in support of the application at the hearing.



AAEA Center supports the project and we are hopeful that Liberty Natural Gas will adopt our recommendation for this project.

Monday, October 05, 2015

EPA Strengthens Ozone Standards

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has strengthened the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone to 70 parts per billion (ppb) from 75 ppb to protect public health. The updated standards will reduce Americans’ exposure to ozone, improving public health protection, particularly for at risk groups including children, older adults, and people of all ages who have lung diseases such as asthma. Ground-level ozone forms when nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) react in the air.
EPA examined nearly 2,300 studies in this review of the ozone standards including more than 1,000 new studies published since the last review of the standards in 2008. Scientific evidence shows that ozone can cause a number of harmful effects on the respiratory system, including difficulty breathing and inflammation of the airways.
The revised standards could significantly improve public health protection, resulting in fewer premature deaths, and thousands fewer missed school and work days and asthma attacks. For people with lung diseases like COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or the 23 million Americans and 6 million children living with asthma, these effects can aggravate their diseases, leading to increased medication use, emergency room visits and hospital admissions. Evidence also indicates that long-term exposure to ozone is likely to be one of many causes of asthma development. And studies show that ozone exposure is likely to cause premature death.  The public health benefits of the updated standards, estimated at $2.9 to 5.9 billion annually in 2025, outweigh the estimated annual costs of $1.4 billion. 
Local communities, states, and the federal government have made substantial progress in reducing ground-level ozone. Nationally, from 1980 to 2014, average ozone levels have fallen 33 percent, while the economy has continued to grow. 
To ensure that people are alerted when ozone reaches unhealthy levels, EPA is extending the ozone monitoring season for 32 states and the District of Columbia. This is particularly important for at-risk groups, including children and people with asthma because it will provide information so families can take steps to protect their health on smoggy days. 
EPA also is strengthening the “secondary ozone standard” to 70 ppb, which will improve protection for trees, plants and ecosystems. New studies since the last review of the standards add to evidence showing that repeated exposure to ozone reduces growth and has other harmful effects on plants and trees. These types of effects have the potential to harm ecosystems and the benefits they provide. 
The Clean Air Act provides states with time to meet the standards. Depending on the severity of their ozone problem, areas would have until between 2020 and 2037 to meet the standards.
The Clean Air Act requires EPA to review the ozone standards every five years to determine whether they should be revised in light of the latest science. Today’s action comes after a thorough review and public comment process.  The agency received more than 430,000 written comments on the proposed standards and held three public hearings. 

25th Annual National Black Farmers Association Conference

November 6-7, 2015

Holiday Inn Birmingham Airport Hotel
5000 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd N
Birmingham, AL 35212
Room Reservations Call (205) 691-6900 Code: NBFA Rate: $69/night
Free Conference Registration
National Black Farmers Association
"Growing Opportunities For Farmers"
Our goal is to strengthen the capability to provide support for small, limited resource and socially disadvantaged farmers, ranchers and landowners. Farmers will have the opportunity to share and evaluate materials and programs from around the country that are successful.
About the National Black Farmers Association 
The National Black Farmers Association (NBFA) is a non-profit organization representing African American farmers and their families in the United States. As an association, it serves tens of thousands of members nationwide. NBFA's education and advocacy efforts have been focused on civil rights, land retention, access to public and private loans, education and agricultural training, and rural economic development for black and other small farmers.
The 25th Annual National Black Farmers Association Conference is an interactive two day program giving you practical knowledge and techniques to enhance your skills and networking, and financial resource capabilities for small, limited resource and socially disadvantaged farmers, ranchers and landowners. The presentations will focus on providing information on Agricultural programs and techniques in the areas of farm credit and financing, networking, communications, skills, legal and social services, farm management teaching tools, International markets, and many more. Sessions will feature a variety of speakers followed by an opportunity to interact one-on-one with presenters from the US government, private companies, and non-profit organizations. Several parts of the United States government regulate activities that impact agriculture (United States Department of Agriculture, United States Department of Commerce, United States Department of Interior, United States Food and Drug Administration, United States Environmental Protection Agency, and United States Department of Health & Human Services.
Below are the areas which we see US Government Agencies, Non-profit Organizations, and Advocacy and Social Justice groups assisting us in facilitation, program materials, break-out sessions, financial scholarships for New, Beginning and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers.
Financial Management      Forestry Incentives and Cost Share
Alternate Crops                 Livestock Production
Risk Management             Retirement and Estate Planning
Agribusiness                     Consumer and Small Business Banking
Marketing Strategies         Environmental Conservation and Protection
Farm Diversification         Accessing Farm Credit
Crop Subsidies                  Establishing Cooperatives
Rural Housing                   New Technology in Agriculture
Youth in Farming              Benefit of USDA Service Centers 
Seed Availability               Effects of New Farm Bill 
Financial Literacy             Food and Nutrition Services (SNAP)
The National Black Farmers Association (NBFA) appreciates your support. Please contact Dr. John Boyd, Jr. at (804) 691-8528 if you would like to a Sponsor or Exhibitor.
Online Conference Registration:  http://www.jotformpro.com/form/40674997757981 
NBFA CONFERENCE 2015 TENTATIVE AGENDA
Friday, November 6, 2015 – "Growing Opportunities For Farmers"
  8:00 am - 12:00 pm     Conference Registration
  9:00 am - 10:00 am     General Assembly 1 Greeting - TBD
                                   Welcome - Dr. John Wesley Boyd, Jr., NBFA Founder & President
                                   Keynote Speaker: Invited - USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack
10:00 am - 12:00 pm     Session I - Intro to Farming (USDA 101) - Kara Boyd, NBFA
                                   Program Coordinator; FSA (Latrice Hill, USDA, FSA Director of
                                   Outreach), Ag Census Update  (TBD, USDA, NASS)
12:00 pm -   1:00 pm     Luncheon Keynote Speaker -
                                   Invited Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL)    
  1:00 pm -   1:45 pm    Session II  - AgrAbility (Chuck Baldwin, NAP Special Populations
                                  Outreach Coordinator, Purdue University) & Veterans in Ag (TBD)
  2:00 pm -   2:45 pm    Session III - Agricultural Advanced Technology - Pioneer (TBD)
  3:00 pm -   3:45 pm    Session IV - Financial Readiness for Farmers - PNC, CapitalOne
  4:00 pm -   5:00 pm    Session V - Update on AGOA & Cuban Trade/Agriculture - FAS 
  5:00 pm -   7:00 pm    Indigenous Dinner (host - Association of American Indian
                                  Farmers) - (Panelist - TBD)
  7:00 pm -   9:00 pm   Growing Galore (host - National Womens Farming Association &
                                  Our Girls Enrichment Program) (Guest of Honor Jupiter Strong)
Saturday, November 7, 2015 – "Growing Opportunities For Farmers"
   8:00 am - 12:00 pm    Conference Registration
   9:00 am - 10:45 am    Welcome - Dr. John Wesley Boyd, Jr.
                                   Greetings - TBD
                                   General Assembly II – USDA Lawsuit & Settlement Updates
                                   (Kara Boyd, President, AAIF & Dr. John Boyd, President NBFA)
11:00 am - 12:00 pm     Session VI - Environmental Regulations and Risks Facing
                                   Farmers (TBD - EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy)
12:00 pm -   1:00 pm     Luncheon Keynote Speaker
                                   Invited Congressman John Lewis (D-GA)
  1:00 pm -   2:00 pm    Session VII - USDA/NRCS & USDA/Forest Service (TBD)
  2:00 pm -   2:45 pm    Session VIII - USDA/APHIS (Kenneth E. Johnson, USDA, APHIS,
                                  OCRDI Director) & ASPCA (TBD - Nancy Perry)
  3:00 pm -   5:00 pm    Session IX - SNAP EBT - Farmer Market's Sign Up
  7:00 pm -   9:00 pm    25th Annual NBFA Awards Banquet
                                  Greetings - TBD
                                  Welcome - Dr. John Wesley Boyd, Jr.
                                  Keynote Speaker - (Invited – President Barack Obama)