Saturday, October 29, 2005

Celebrate Oil Company Profits

Americans are such hypocrites when it comes to energy, particularly oil. Look on every car lot and you will see energy efficient cars--plenty of them. But most Americans want the BIG car, just like the BIG house or the BIG boat. So everytime you drive your BIG vehicle to the gas station you are joining big oil's celebration. And they deserve it for all of the years of low gas prices they have given you. Americans are just selfish to want low gasoline prices all of the time. And they have the nerve to call the oil companies greedy when they mazimize profits for even one quarter. Do you know how much it costs to build and operate an offshore oil platform? What about refining it and getting it to you by pipeline and truck? Where is the love for BIG oil? ExxonMobil, Shell and BP are simply practicing that old fashioned American tradition called 'maximizing profits.' Isn't capitalism great? And if you don't like it then buy a hybrid, stop driving or get rid of your car. But for heaven's sake stop complaining.

Even the mainstream environmental groups are happy because they love high gas prices to stimulate conservation. Black folks who can afford it have to have the biggest SUV on the lot as a status symbol. And don't worry. Big oil knows it can't keep those prices up there forever, because then government will do something stupid like legislating price controls. So celebrate big oil's big profit quarter. Go out and fill up your gasoline tank. Americans use 20 million barrels of the stuff every single day. Of course at AAEA, we believe in a mix of fuel cell plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and nuclear power as balancing complements to fossil fuels.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Michael Steele Runs For U.S. Senate

Lt. Gov. Michael Steele announced his candidacy in the heart of Prince George's County, the richest majority Black county in the country and the poorest county in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area. Steele rose to political fame when Congressman Robert Ehrlich ran for governor of Maryland and chose him as his running mate and Lt. Governor. That team beat Kathleen Kennedy Townsend in the 2002 governor's race and set the stage for Steele's senate run. The October 25, 2005 announcement was not a surprise and AAEA president Norris McDonald attended the event. (Photo with Steele in background and with Governor Ehrlich)

The Ehrlich/Steele administration passed The Chesapeake Bay Initiative, a $2.50 monthly surcharge on every homeowner in the state to finance the modernization of wastewater treatment plants. They also improved the minority contracting program.

Friday, October 14, 2005

EPA Proposes Electricity Plant Emissions Rules Changes

EPA is proposing to revise the emissions test for existing electric generating units (EGUs) that compares the maximum hourly emissions achievable at a unit during the past 5 years to the maximum hourly emissions achievable at that unit after the change to determine whether an emissions increase would occur. Under the current law, established under CAA regulations in 1977, a plant must put in new controls if a modification increases its annual emissions; the new rules would require such controls only if the hourly emissions increase.

This maximum achievable hourly emissions test would apply to emissions from existing EGUs. The current proposal would not affect new EGUs, which would continue to be subject to major NSR preconstruction review.

EPA believes these regulation changes and a separate cap-and-trade program will curb harmful nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide pollution faster and better than the New Source Review rule the agency seeks to modify. NSR has led to significant litigation but not much installation of scrubbers. About 50 utilities are still in court over NSR regulations. (More on NSR)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Ron Dellums To Run For Mayor of Oakland

When Ronald Dellums was a member of Congress, he always had a top rated environmental voting record. Lobbyists found him to be approachable and willing to listen in hallway encounters. He also became chairman of the powerful House Armed Services Committee. Finally, former Congressman Dellums, although tough as nails, is one of the nicest people you will ever meet.

The African American Environmentalist Association enthusiastically supports his candidacy to be the next mayor of Oakland, California.

Wetlands Before Poor People?

It appears that traditional environmental groups are promoting wetlands and barrier island restoration over assisting poor people in the Mississippi River Delta and other Gulf Coast areas. Admittedly, wetlands and barrier islands protect coastal communities by acting as buffers against hurricane storm surges, but they are clearly impotent against category 4 and 5 hurricanes. Hardened infrastructure, from homes and levees to commercial and industrial buildings, will receive most of hundreds of billions of dollars in construction restoration funding. The Army Corps of Engineers will probably spend billions on wetlands and barrier island restoration too, but the poor should be the priority with restoration resources.

We strongly suggest, to the extent that the $6 billion per year mainstream environmental movement dedicates funding to Gulf Coast relief, that the majority of such funding should be used to directly help the poor to restore their lives before providing assistance for wetlands and barrier island restoration. It appears that traditional environmental groups blame the levee systems for much of the loss of 1.2 million acres (1,900 square miles) of southern Louisiana wetlands since 1930. Groups should not oppose levee retrofits and construction as has been recently publicized regarding past projects. It will take a combination of wetlands and barrier island protections, along with strengthening of levees to protect New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Big Fight On House Floor Over Gas

The vote on the gasoline energy bill was a raucous affair with victory and defeat swinging back and forth along partisan lines. Members were shouting at the Speaker and using procedural inquiries to complain about time abuse and to make additional points.

The vote on the Gasoline for America's Security (GAS) Act, sponsored by House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton (R-TX) was scheduled to last for 5 minutes but was extended to 45 minutes because the dems held a 212 to 210 lead unti 2 Republicans were convinced to switch their no votes to yes. The bill passed 212-210 with Democrats hollering "Shame! Shame! Shame! after the Speaker closed the count. Barton took the air provision (see article below) out of the bill before the vote.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

House Energy Leaders Push For Policy Changes

House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton (left) is promoting the Gasoline for America's Security (GAS) Act and House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo is promoting the National Energy Supply Diversification and Disruption Prevention Act.

Barton's bill eases permitting and air pollution rules for oil refineries and industrial facilities, permits new refinery sites on retired army bases and other federal lands, moves litigation from state & local courts to federal courts and provides payments for unforeseen regulation or litigation delays.

Pombo's bill seeks to ease rising gas prices by increasing domestic energy supplies and preventing supply disruptions in America by authorizing production on 2000 acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, allowing natural gas production in the deep federal waters of the Outer Continental Shelf and prividing incentives for energy sources including alternative and geothermal resources.

AAEA opposes both bills unless reparations measures are included to compensate descendants of slaves for the free energy provided to America for 300 years. There are good and bad points in both bills.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

We Must Be Careful With Ideological Purity

The most notorious environmentalists in history were the German Nazis. Hitler loved nature and despised non-German humanity. Hitler was both a strict vegetarian and animal lover. Hitler and his Nazis maintained their commitment to racial purity as an ecological ideal that justified the war. The mixture of anti-humanist and natural purity dogmas also provided a rationale and incentive for the Third Reich's most heinous crimes.

Hitler sought to decrease the population of the Earth and considered Jewish people as weeds to be eradicated. Ecological themes played a vital role in German fascism and the natural order dogma left no room for compromise. Nazi ecological beliefs were absolute and turned environmentalism into a religion with blond-haired, blue-eyed German men as its gods. Hitler, as Mother Nature's god of war, sought to purify the Earth according to his own view of sustainable development.

Adolf Hitler published his environmental and race views in a chapter entitled Nation and Race in Mein Kampf: “No more than Nature desires the mating of weaker with stronger individuals, even less does she desire the blending of a higher with a lower race, since, if she did, her whole work of higher breeding, over perhaps hundreds of thousands of years, might be ruined with one blow.”