Friday, July 28, 2006

Nuclear Warhead Plutonium Used For Electricity Fuel

The House Armed Services Committee Strategic Forces Subcommittee met on July 26 to hear testimony on plutonium disposition and the plans by the Department of Energy (DOE) to build a mixed oxide (MOX) fuel fabrication facility at Savannah River Site in South Carolina. For almost 5 years, DOE has proposed to build a MOX plant to convert weapons-grade plutonium into fuel that can be used in light water reactors to produce electricity.

The design of the facility is now 85 percent complete. The total cost for design, construction and startup of the MOX facility is about $5 billion, of which about $800 million has already been spent. DOE plans to start construction this fall, the environmental impact statement has been approved, 73 acres of land have been cleared, 80 percent of the site has been excavated and DOE has authorization from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to proceed.

In June 2000, the U.S. and Russia agreed to dispose of at least 34 metric tons of plutonium each beginning in 2007. Recently, the Russians informed the U.S. that they would move forward only if, 1) the plutonium fuel could be burned in new fast neutron reactors or 2) if the international community agreed to pay for the complementary MOX fuel project in Russia.

There are 4 huge benefits from the MOX process: 1) the U.S would eliminate the expense and risk of safeguarding and storing weapons-grade nuclear material, 2) Russia would diminish the risk that weapons-grade materials might fall into terrorist hands, 3) it degrades plutonium into elements that are no longer usable as warhead material, and 4) it extracts the energy potential from the surplus plutonium to provide the nuclear power industry with a new source of reactor fuel. AAEA supports the MOX process and facility.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Liberia Begins Reconstruction of its Electricity Grid

The capital of Liberia, Monrovia, like the rest of the country, has been without electrical power for 14 years due to civil war. The complete destruction of the electricity grid and hydropower facility were intentional during the reign of military dictatorships. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, left, turned on a small power plant this week to carry electricity along a grid to hospitals and streetlights in one community in Monrovia. Homes and businesses currently use individual emergency generators for electricity. Hopefully the entire grid will be restored throughout Liberia soon.

We were going to recommend that the U.S. provide support for Liberia but it appears that we cannot restore our own grid or build the necessary amount of power plants to meet our needs. Liberia has a population of 3 million people. Three large fission electric plants would meet all of their needs and would not contribute smog or greenhouse gases. But it appears that we cannot build a fission plant here, even with full government support. Good luck President Sirleaf. We have our own serious electricity problems here.

Wash Post Environment Hostile To Black Senate Candidates?

First The Washington Post 'got' Kweise Mfume, left, about allegedly chasing ladies around NAACP desks in Baltimore. Now The Washington Post takes some 'off the record' comments by Michael Steele, right, about President Bush and the GOP and they bushwhack him with it to embarass or discredit him. Or at a very minimum try to turn President Bush and the Republican Party against him. Yet Benjamin Cardin seems to be getting a free pass. Hmmmm. We wonder what the difference might be?

Marion Barry could always depend on The Washington Post to overplay its hand in trying to smear him (Not that Mayor Barry needed any help). The Post unwittingly helped to get Barry reelected time after time. Will they do the same for Mfume or Steele? When The Washington Post endorses Cardin 0ver Mfume and then endorses Cardin over Steele, then they will confirm what we already know about the environment over at the big media house.

Of course Josh Rales is working hard for Mfume and who will The Post endorse in an Mfume-Steele matchup? Well that is easy too. Steele has wandered waaaaaaay off the plantation. The Post will endorse Mfume and smear Steele because The Post favors the DNC over the RNC.

UPDATE: As we predicted in the article above, The Washington Post endorsed Cardin on Aug 21, 2006.

Congressional Black Caucus Opposes Offshore Oil Drilling

The CBC voted 29 to 9 against the Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act (H.R. 4761) to provide for exploration, development, and production activities for mineral resources on the outer Continental Shelf. The vote is the exact opposite of the CBC vote in favor of the U.S.-India commercial nuclear cooperation program.

Full House Vote

GAO Report Says EPA & DOE Can Do Better On Voluntary Carbon Dioxide Reduction Programs

A recent General Accounting Office (GAO) report says DOE and EPA can do more to meet the voluntary greenhouse gas reduction targets of program participants. The Bush administration has two voluntary programs that encourage participants to set emissions reduction goals and to implement programs that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change. The Climate Leaders Program (CLP), managed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), focuses on firms. The Climate VISION (Voluntary Innovative Sector Initiatives: Opportunities Now) Program, managed by the Department of Energy (DOE), focuses on trade groups. Did the Clinton administration have a carbon dioxide reduction program of any kind?

We believe these 'feel good' programs are nice but are political tools, like HOV lanes, to make us feel better. The Bush administration's Energy Policy Act of 2005 was the best greenhouse gas reduction mechanism because it promotes the construction of emission free nuclear power plants. The feel good programs, including the Methane-to-Markets Program, promote a climate change remediation ethic, but until China and India begin to take climate change seriously, the efforts of the rest of the world regarding greenhouse gas reductions are useless.

Congressional Black Caucus Supports US-India Nuclear Deal

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) voted 29 to 9 in favor of President Bush's proposal to support India's civilian fission power program. Seventy-six percent of the CBC, including Chairman Melvin Watt, voted in favor of the agreement. The full House passed the measure on a vote of 359-68.

U.S. House Agrees with AAEA on India Nuclear Deal

The House voted 359-68 on July 27, 2006 to endorse President Bush’s proposal (HR 5682) for civilian nuclear cooperation with India. The bill, sponsored by House International Relations Committee Chairman Henry Hyde (R-IL), was modified to give Congress greater oversight in the agreement. This agreement will permit the U.S. to sell technology to India for nuclear power development. In return, India will open up its civilian nuclear program to international inspections and agree not to test nuclear weapons. A similar bill (S. 2429), introduced by Richard G. Lugar, R-Ind., the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is pending in the Senate.

The agreement requires:

1) Multiple presidential determinations before a deal can be approved,
2) Consultations with Congress on a monthyly basis to assess the status of talks with India and the International Atomic Energy Agency on opening up India’s 14 civilian nuclear plants to inspections,
3) The president to determine that India has a “credible” plan to separate its civilian and military nuclear industries,
4) Submission of any final agreement to be approved by a joint resolution of Congress.

Heat & Lightning Stress People & Electricity Grids

Heat waves and storms have people dying and electricity distribution systems failing all over the country, particularly in New York, Calfornia and Missouri. There have been blackouts in California in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco. Temperatures in Cali have reached up to 115 degrees and PG&E is drawing on all available power. Almost 100,000 people have been without power in the Bay Area during localized outages. California should listen to AAEA and start building new nuclear power plants now.

Consolidated Edison in New York says it does not know why up to 100,000 people were without power for a week in Queens. Although it started with severe storms, preliminary analyses point to weakened wiring as a culprit. We know that the entire New York transmission and distrubution system needs to be upgraded and expanded. Politicians in New York need to get their heads out of the sand and inact appropriate measures to assure reliable electricity for the citizens of the state.

Nine people have died in St. Louis, Missouri due to storms and about 600,000 Ameren customers in Missouri and Illinois have gone days without power. The outages are exacerbating illnesses because people cannot turn on their air conditioners as temperatures reach up to 100 degrees.

Senate Will Pass Offshore Oil Drilling Bill

UPDATE: The Senate passed the bill 71-25 on Aug 1, 2006

Senate bill S 3711 would open up 8.3 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to offshore oil and gas drilling. The bill is now filibuster-proof because the Senate voted 86-12 to invoke cloture on consideration of the bill, limiting debate and ensuring a final vote. S. 3711 is sponsored by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.) . The House passed an offshore drilling bill in June. It should be interesting to see if and how these two bills will be reconciled in conference.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Fidel Castro To Drill For Oil Off the Coast of Florida?

ExxonMobil please tell us it ain't so. The Commies are going to beat the capitalists to off-Florida shore drilling? The Washington Times says Cuba plans to work with China, Canada, Venezuela and Spain to drill for oil 60 miles off the coast of Florida. Now we're not saying that America should drill off the coast of Florida, but it would be more than ironic if our Commie neighbor struck a huge deep sea oil field and turns from an oil importer to an oil exporter. And because of our embargo against Cuba, the U.S. can't participate in the drilling or buy the oil if Cuba discovers a field. Of course, some clever American 'entrepreneur' will find a back door.

Canadian companies Sherritt International Company and Pebercan, Inc. would love to trump the U.S. right in our backyard. So would Spain's Repsol oil company. Finally, Commie Cuba's state-owned oil company, Cubapetroleo (communists don't link), would cackle like a post Bay of Pigs Cuban revolutionary if they beat American oil companies to a huge offshore oil field. The U.S. Congress is currently considering offshore drilling bills.

Monday, July 24, 2006

New York Administrative Law Judge Samara Swanston

SAMARA F. SWANSTON has been engaged in the practice of Environmental Law for more than twenty years. She attended St. John’s University School of Law, served a two-year clerkship in the New York Court of Appeals, was environmental counsel to the Town of Babylon, worked on environmental matters for the County of Suffolk, drafted Article 57 of the New York Environmental Conservation Law, worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a Superfund attorney, led the creation of the Region 2 Environmental Justice Workgroup, helped draft the 1992 EPA Environmental Equity Report and was awarded the EPA Gold Medal, the highest agency honor, worked as a manager for the Superfund program of New York Department of Environmental Conservation where she was the only attorney of color working as a manager in an environmental agency in the State of New York.

She currently serves as an Adminstrative Law Judge with the New York City Environmental Control Board, as Executive Director and General Counsel of The Watchperson Project of Greenpoint-Williamsburg, a non-governmental environmental advocacy organization and as state chair of the Sierra Club Environmental Justice Committee. Ms. Swanston has successfully litigated environmental cases and is also a Visiting Professor with the Pratt Institute Graduate School for Urban Planning and the Environment. She has written numerous law review articles and reports on Environmental Justice and has been extensively cited.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

National Academy of Sciences Agrees with AAEA on Air

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released a new report on July 21, 2006 that supports what AAEA has been saying for years, that 'cap & trade' trumps 'command & control' in getting scrubbers installed on powerplants. Of course, The Washington Post's environmental reporter Juliet Eilperin still avoids quoting us favoring NRDC even when they are wrong. Regardless, we feel vindicated because, once again, our scientific view trumped all the other mainstream environmental groups. Thank God for Blogs so we can get the word out.

The NAS report, New Source Review for Stationary Sources of Air Pollution, states "At a national level, the model analysis suggests that a cap-and-trade program with caps below those specified by CAIR would be a more cost-effective approach to lowering emissions than aggressive regulation under New Source Review." The report costs $44 but you can read it free online. The NAS News Release provides a good summary.

The Bush administration air recommendations, particularly the Clear Skies Initiative, in addition to the Clean Air Interstate Rule, are clearly more effective than the old 20th Century command and control New Source Review (NSR). You would never know it though because the liberal biased medai has an agenda to try its best to keep it from the public. The NAS report could not be ignored. A high-level administration official even told us that they recommend us to the media so they know our view is being excluded too. Animation Courtesy of Vanaire

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Nature Conservancy Is In China But Not Anacostia

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) filled out the AAEA Diversity Survey even though they knew they would get a bad rating. This multibillion (that's right) dollar environmental organization has an expansive program in China but does not work in a community a few miles away that is right across the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers. Much of Anacostia is upwards of 90% black. TNC does not now nor have they ever employed a black policy professional in the U.S. to our knowledge.

It is their money, time and resources so we understand that they can spend it and their time any way they want to. We just think it is unfortunate that Anacostia in Washington, DC is overlooked by this massive, rich and powerful organization, particularly when they work in many other areas in the U.S. There are very interesting flora and fauna issues they could address East of the Anacostia River (black Washington, DC). There are also intriguing land use issues that fall within TNC's areas of interest. Little old socioeconomically disadvantaged AAEA will continue to do the best it can with its meager resources and hope that one day we will have billions for our environmental work. We would work in China. But we would work in Anacostia too.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

President Bush Gives Great Speech at NAACP

President Bush gave a speech that was well received at the NAACP Annual Convention in Washington, DC. The NAACP has an energy committee that is comprised mostly of representatives from industry. Of course, we doubt that many if any environmentalists from the traditional environmental groups are members of the NAACP. And surely President Bush has attended more of the annual meetings. But we digress. Maybe the NAACP can help African Americans to get more equity in the energy sector. Nigerian-born Kase Lawal is the only black player developing oil and gas.

A change in leadership and a lowering of partisan rhetoric probably led to this speech. This speaks well for the NAACP's new president, Bruce S. Gordon. Julian Bond will stay as partisan as ever, but the NAACP probably has many Republican members. Although the GOP is still seen as hostile to most blacks, African Americans are also starting to join and engage the Republican Party in record numbers. This is probably best represented by the candidacy of Michael Steele, who is seeking to be the next senator from Maryland.

  • UPDATE The dependably partisan Washington Post uses this headline to desbribe President Bush's speech: "Bush NAACP Address Receives Lukewarm Applause." We saw the speech and heard repeated applause at several points during the president's speech. You would have thought he was speaking to a joint session of Congress. The Washington Post should just set up a desk over at the DNC. What sort of journalistics standards allows this sort of political bias?
  • UPDATE They changed the headline, probably due to AAEA criticism, and now Darryl Fears, a fair and balanced reporter at The Post, wrote a good article: "At NAACP, Bush Tries To Mend Rifts."

AAEA Los Angeles Office Addresses Hollywood Environment

Thanks to the vision and commitment of volunteers, AAEA has been operating in California via our Los Angeles Office. The L.A. Office of AAEA, founded in 2005, is dedicated to protecting the environment in Los Angeles and California and increasing African American participation in the environmental movement.

The AAEA Hollywood Blog is catching on and Tinseltown is starting to pay attention. It is an exciting time in the entertainment capital of the world, particularly for African Americans. BET founder Bob Johnson just opened a studio, Our Stories Films, that gives a black person the authority and capability to 'greenlight' a movie. This is the first time in history that a black person can approve a movie project. We want to get some of the new players in Hollywood involved in environmental issues. Z is providing us with a platform to accomplish this mission.

AAEA New York Office Director Going To Texas

Thanks to the generosity and commitment of Nadine Mozon, right, AAEA has worked aggressively throughout New York on environmental and energy issues for the past four years. The AAEA New York Office started out on Bruckner Blvd in the Bronx with a view of a bus depot, a trash transfer station and the Harlem River. Two years ago the office moved close to the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Garden just off of Pelham Parkway. The great thing about New York is you're always at least 4 blocks from a subway station.

Ms. Mozon is moving to Austin, Texas to become an associate professor in the theater department at Texas State University. As a New York-based actress, she appeared in numerous plays, on television and in movies. She appeared in "Two Weeks Notice" in a scene with Sandra Bullock. where she was interviewing Ms. Bullock for a job. We will miss you in New York Nadine. Thank you so much for your service to AAEA. Now about Texas.....

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

AAEA Nigeria Office : Targets Energy & Environment

Thanks to the vision and dedication of Ifeanyi Joshua Ezekwe, left, AAEA has been operating in Nigeria for almost a year. He has established the AAEA Nigeria Office in downtown Lagos, Nigeria and we couldn't be happier to have a presence on the continent. Democracy is fragile in Nigeria and the oil export situation is becoming more controversial for American corporations and the average Nigerian citizen.

AAEA-U.S. had the pleasure of meeting with Owens Wiwa, brother of the legendary, assasinated environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, several years ago to discuss conditions in Nigeria. Owens and his family also enjoyed a tour of the Chesapeake Bay on the AAEA boat. The struggles of the Ogoni people continue today. America intends to import more oil from Nigeria. Nigeria is a wonderful country with a large population and a growing economy. We will work to enhance the environment of Nigerians while promoting increased cooperation with America. Thanks Joshua. We appreciate your great work.

Yucca Mountain: Fission Waste Site to Open in 2017

The U.S. Department of Energy announced that the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Project will open March 31, 2017. That seems like a long time to us. We wish this timetable could be speeded up. The fed was supposed to take responsibility for storing nuclear waste in 1998, but litigation and controversy have delayed the project. We need that repository as soon as possible. AAEA will continue to support the speedy opening of this facility.

The federal government is legally obligated to accept waste from the nation’s commercial fission reactors and the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 authorized the first federally run nuclear waste dump. Currently, more than 50,000 metric tons of nuclear waste are stored on-site at fission plants in 31 states. The proposed facility at Yucca will hold at least 77,000 metric tons of fission waste. AAEA President Norris McDonald, pictured at right at the facility, scoped the mountain and the tunnel in 2002.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

AAEA Still In Nuclear Blackout

Jon Gertner wrote a massive article, "Atomic Balm," for The New York Times Magazine and AAEA was excluded from being mentioned when he described the environmentalists that support nuclear power. Gertner had to really work at ignoring AAEA's early work as the first and still only American environmental organization that supports nuclear power. Unless nobody he talked to in the nuclear industry mentioned us. We doubt this because we are constantly linked and quoted in the Nuclear Energy Institute's Nuclear Notes Blog.

Another Times reporter, Matthew Wald, also refuses to acknowledge AAEA's position in the history of environmental groups supporting nuclear. And he introduced himself to AAEA President Norris McDonald at a hearing at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) headquarters in Rockville, Maryland. He even gave McDonald his card.

We see a pattern of ignoring our important early contributions to the revival of this energy sector. Although we do not like it, we do understand. It is not the first time and will not be the last time our good work is ignored by media elites. When it comes to media descriptions of environmentalist support for nuclear power and inclusion of our contributions, it is a BLACKOUT.

Monday, July 17, 2006

U.S. Supports Storing Nuclear Waste In Russia

Presidents Bush and Putin have agreed to allow spent fission fuel from other countries that originated in the U.S. to be stored and possibly reprocessed in Russia. The U.S. and Russia have a long history of cooperation on blending uranium from nuclear warheads to use in fission power plants. It is called the Megatons-to-Megawatts Program and utilizes a mixed oxide (MOX) process for new fuel fabrication. The U.S. is currently planning to build a huge MOX fabrication facility in South Carolina.

This agreement appears to be a way for the U.S. to get Russia to work with us to discourage or prevent Iran from developing uranium enrichment capabilities for its nuclear weapons program. Commercial fuel is about 4 percent pure U-235 and weapons-grade is 95 percent pure. Russia is currently helping Iran build a commercial fission plant. An enrichment plant is very different from a fission plant, but fission by-products and uranium from a commercial plant can be taken to an enrichment plant to make a bomb warhead.

This current agreement, announced at the G-8 Summit in Russia, does not allow storage of spent nuclear waste from U.S. power plants. Current plans for U.S. waste include transporting it to Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Of course, the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) will expand cooperation among countries currently utilizing commercial fission power and those seeking to get electricity from fission plants. GNEP allows the status quo fission plant countries to maintain control over fission fuel, thus reducing the posibility for nuclear weapons proliferation.

Innovative Hybrid Technology

The 2007 Toyota Lexus GS 450h is a sport/luxury hybrid sedan with a rear wheel drive 3.5 liter V6 engine that has 339 horsepower and a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The V6 is combined with two electric motors that act as the primary engine, power source, starter motor and alternator.

The GS 450h can accelerate to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds and gets 27 city, 28 highway. The base price for the four-door sedan is $56,000 and $64,000 fully loaded (includes XM satellite radio & navigation system). In other alternative tech car news, Toyoto is about to overtake GM as the world's number one auto manufacturer. GM, Ford and Chrysler have built approximately one million vehicles each that can run on any combination of gasoline and/or E85. Source: Washington Times


Making corn liquor has clean air and greenhouse gas emission consequences. Most ethanol plants will probably be fired by coal, thus requiring the same scrubbers, thermal oxidizers and baghouses used in regular electricity plants. Lime will probably be used to control sulfur (SO2) emissions (about 4,000 tons per yer in the example below). Significant Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions will also be released from these plants. Of course, it is estimated that corn captures as much CO2 as is released when ethanol is burned in automobiles. There is no such quid pro quo with gasoline.

According to Robert McIlvane in "The Road to Ethanol" in Pollution Engineering magazine, "we will need 1,400 ethanol plants at 50 million gallons per year (mgy) each to provide half of our transportation fuels. There are currently 95 plants operating in the U.S. with 40 under construction and 150 plants in the planning stage. We need 56,000 megawatts (MW) of new coal-fired small boilers (1,400 plants at 40 MW each) just to supply these plants with the energy they need." (More)

Cleaner Diesel Engines & Low-Sulfur Diesel Fuels

On June 1, 2006 EPA started requiring refiners and fuel importers to cut the sulfur content of highway diesel fuel 97 percent, from 500 parts per million to 15 ppm. The Highway Diesel Rule (effective 2006) and the Nonroad Diesel Rule (effective 2007), by addressing diesel fuel and engines as a single system, will produce the clean air equivalent of reducing air pollution (smog-causing nitrous oxides by half and lower emissions of particulate matter) by 90 percent from today's trucks and buses.

Once fully implemented, The Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) program will prevent nearly 8,300 premature deaths and tens of thousands of cases of respiratory ailments such as bronchitis and asthma. ULSD will result in the annual reduction of 2.6 million tons nitrogen oxides and 110,000 tons of particulate matter. (More)

Senate Candidate Josh Rales has an Energy Plan

Josh Rales, left, launched his multimillion dollar advertising campaign well before the other candidates running to be the next senator from Maryland. His main message is one of energy independence. His plan mostly addresses oil:

1) Improving vehicle fuel economy through conventional, diesel, and hybrid technologies;
2) Increasing the number of flex-fuel vehicles on the road which can run on alternative fuels;
3) Improving the fuel delivery infrastructure;
4) Improving the fuel efficiency of vehicle replacement tires and motor oil;
5) Achieving economies in the heavy truck sector through idling technologies; and,
6) Expanding the development and capacity of our mass transit infrastructure

  • NOTE: As of July 21, 2006 the Rales campaign does not have a clubs or party link under Campaign Links on the Web site for Prince George's County. What does this mean? Is he conceding the black vote to Mfume and Cardin? Does Rales intend to ignore Prince George's County? Does Rales' energy plan not apply to the richest majority black county in the U.S.?

Friday, July 14, 2006

Wall Street Environment Significantly Excludes Blacks

According to an article in The New York Times, Wall Street is an exclusive club for white men. Black brokers have filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against Merrill Lynch charging that it has systemically limited opportunities, denied promotions and retaliated against complainers. The plaintiffs want a large monetary award and court-ordered initiatives to increase diversity. Blacks now account for 2.3 percent of Merrill's brokers and broker trainees.

The nation’s three biggest brokerage firms — Merrill, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup — have paid out $400 million to settle sex-discrimination suits filed by women in the past 10 years.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Merrill in 1976 because it had engaged in “a pattern and practice” of discrimination. Merrill, the nation's largest brokerage firm, signed a consent decree with the EEOC that one of every 15 broker trainees it hired would be black. After failing to meet the hiring goals agreed to in the 1980’s the agreement eventually expired with the goals unmet.

AAEA board member Derry Bigby (Wake Forest B.A, UNC-Chapel Hill MBA) shares his experience with a major brokerage firm: "I know the frustrations of Wall Street first hand. I remember being the only black in my class at - - - - in New York. I also remember being herded in the direction of low commission retail business, when they knew that is far from what I expected. For instance, I went out and acquired the business of a major pension fund and instead of being praised and rewarded, I was penalized for not following the rules of, if you're black, stay back."

The Human Environment in Israel & Lebanon

War is probably the worst environmental contaminate known to man because it involves the direct and intentional killing of other human beings, sometimes by any means necessary. Land, water, animals, plants, buildings, women and children are expendable in the insanity that is war. Israel must be protected at all costs and Palestinians should find some reasonable accomodation. After all, each side prays to the same God.

Hezbollah and Hamas have drawn Lebanon into what could end up being an all out war with Israel. It appears that Syria and Iran are providing assistance to the Islamic terrorists. The human environmental meltdown between these states is unfortunate because Israel recently made significant land concessions in Gaza, even evicting many Israelis in the process. Now with missiles unmercilessly raining down on Israeli citizens, Israel has no choice but to aggressively defend itself. It might not be called a holy war yet but with Judeo/Christians on one side and Islam on the other, an unholy environment is evolving in the Middle East.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Ron Miller Candidate For Maryland Senate on the Environment

AAEA is covering the environmental positions of candidates for public office. Ron Miller is running for the Maryland Senate District 27 (President Mike Miller's seat). He sent us his general position on the environment and his specific position on the Chesapeake Bay:

"I strongly support the preservation of open spaces in Maryland and protecting the Chesapeake Bay, and I believe we can preserve the natural beauty of our state while still growing our economy to extend opportunity to all Marylanders. Protecting the environment is not an "either/or" proposition where the environment wins at the expense of the economy, or vice versa. We are problem solvers, and we are the most technologically advanced nation on the planet. We can have both, and the Governor has proved it, delivering an improved environment and a healthy economy during his administration."

Crime Emergency Declared in our Nation's Capital

The black criminals in DC are out of control. There are 96 murders so far this year compared to 94 last year at this time. Back in the 1980s it would be 200 murders by now. The dysfunctional tenth of the District's black community must be brought under control 'by any means necessary.' This pollution must be eliminated from our environment. Whites have tolerated blacks killing blacks in record numbers over the past twenty years, but black-on-white murders will probably get more attention. The real estate in Georgetown, right, is more expensive than in Anacostia and so are the people.

Just as racism targeted black communities to locate pollution sites, black crime now appears to be targeting white communities. So environmental racism cuts both ways? Black crime has moved from black neighborhoods to The National Mall and Georgetown. Just as white racism has been associated with all whites by blacks, extraterritorial murder hurts all blacks in DC because, as the white captain who was reprimanded and reassigned said, "It is unusual for blacks to be in Georgetown." Even tough it was 2 in the morning when a recent murder occurred, now blacks will be profiled even more as criminal suspects when walking around in white communities (even if they live there). Like it already wasn't bad enough. Where are the Black Panthers and the Nation of Islam on this problem? Probably just like the ACLU and mainstream environmental groups in the white community, more concerned with defensing their own.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Nils Diaz Retires from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairman Nils Diaz is retiring. He was appointed to the NRC in 1996 and became chairman in 2003. At his last appearance before the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, some senators encouraged him to consider staying in the field as a consultant. Chairman Diaz is retiring to Florida. AAEA President Norris McDonald pictured with NRC Chairman Diaz congratulating him outside the senate committee meeting room.

Before his appointment, Dr. Diaz was Professor of Nuclear Engineering Sciences at the University of Florida. Dr. Diaz spent 11 years as Director of INSPI for the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization/Department of Defense. Dr. Diaz holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Nuclear Engineering Sciences from the University of Florida, and a B.S. Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Villanova. He was licensed as a Senior Reactor Operator for 12 years by the NRC.

Black Environmentalist: What Is That? And Why?

There is a black community in virtually every city in the U.S. There are unique environmental conditions in many of these communities. For instance, many of these sections of town have been easy locations for major thoroughfares and facilties that generate pollution. White flight also helped create black communites as blacks moved into areas such as Washington, DC and Prince George's County Maryland. Environmentalists from mainstream green groups rarely work on specific issues that are important to these communities because they are not familiar with and rarely visit these communities. They have virtually no friends or relatives there and black staff are receptionists and administrative staff that do not address policy issues. Some of the policy positions that these mainstream groups promote are contrary to the best interests of the black community.

Thus the need for the services of a black environmentalist: To say that appropriate environmentally friendly development is okay - - and we want a big piece of it. To say that high energy prices to stimulate conservation are bad for all communities. To say that a big beautiful house in the outer suburbs with a Navigator in the driveway is okay. To say that the Federal government does not need to hold too much public land but should privatize discreet portions to promote economic health. To say that a 'no growth' policy is crazy and having a BANANA NIMBY mentality is nuts (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything, Not In My Backyard). To say that Deep Ecology that says that animals are equal to humans is kooky. To say that blacks should move out of toxic zones instead of waiting to get cancer. To say that America is a two party democracy and we should work both parties. To say that black-on-black murder and abortion are important environmental issues. We could go on but you get the idea.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Marsha Coleman-Adebayo in The Washington Post

The Washington Post published a comprehensive article, written by reporter Daryl Fears, on the Marsha Coleman-Adebayo situation at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Like any marriage that starts out mutually beneficial and happy, we at AAEA are so disappointed that this relationship is evidently heading for a divorce. We remember when Dr. Adebayo, left, worked with EPA on the Gore/Mbeki Commission for environmental cooperation between the USA and South Africa. AAEA even took Marsha, other EPA officials and the South African delegation on boat tours of the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers when they met in the U.S. Unfortunately, due to the circumstances described in the article the relationship deteriorated and now actor/activist Danny Glover is turning these events into a movie.

We are concerned that the victory for EPA and Dr. Abebayo that resulted from the passage of the NO FEAR Act signed by President Bush on May 15, 2002 will be undermined by the current battle between Dr. Adebayo and the agency. The debacle started in the Clinton/Browner administration, which was sued, convicted of discrimination and fined $600,000. Senator John Warner (R-VA) and Congressman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) sponsored the NO FEAR Act. The movie will come out during the summer of 2008. We just want a happy ending. We hope that the current EPA Administrator, Stephen Johnson, right, will resolve this situation.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Interior Dept Legend Bob Faithful 'Moves' and is Feted

You would have thought he was retiring from the federal government but he was just moving from the U.S. Department of Interior Headquarters to another office in Herndon, Virginia. Robert 'Bob' Faithful, Director, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization is loved by his colleagues. They threw a big 'moving reception' that included gifts, tributes, food and laughter. AAEA has been a Bob Faithful fan for years. He even braved the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers on the AAEA boat during one of our trips. He is probably behind our Special Recognition by the department some years ago.

In the three years of his Directorship, Mr. Faithful received awards and recognition from numerous organizations. Robert Faithful conceived designed, and developed, a multi agency environmental business program "New Realities in Minority Business." Mr. Faithful earned a Juris Doctorate from Northwestern Law School and a B.A. in Political Science from Miami Univ of Ohio. While in law school, he was a Ford Foundation Fellow who studied in Uganda. After joining the Illinois Bar, he worked as a State Assistant Attorney General. He next completed a 4-year tour as a Judge Advocate with the U.S. Air Force. He has been part of the Interior Department since 1978 with extensive time in Alaska and Montana. He has directed the DOI Environmental Justice Program (94-96). He has two great teenage children, Richael and Bobby.

Maryland Legislature Meddling Threatens Utility Merger

Election year politics confused state legislators and a candidate for governor into thinking they can micro-manage electric utilty services. Unfortunately, partisan gamesmanship is telling investors that Maryland is not an attractive destination for business. Certainty for prospective business investors was destroyed when the legislature 1) passed a bill to kill Constellation Energy Group's finanacial stability and competitiveness in electricity purchasing markets, 2) conducted a regulatory coup d'etat by firing the Public Service Commission (PSC) and the People's Counsel (put on hold by the Maryland Court of Appeals), and 3) put PSC utility regulatory rulings in limbo, thus directly threatening the Constellation-Florida Power & Light (FPL) merger. FPL will probably pull out of the merger with Constellation, further weakening the state's main electric utility.

The Maryland legislature is trying to operate our utilities like Florida operates elections. We deserve each other. It might ultimately take the Supreme Court to straighten out the mess in Maryland. And don't blame Governor Ehrlich. He had a reasaonable plan. His competitors wanted to trump him in the eyes of voters for political points. Instead they are putting those electric utility ratepaying voters at risk by weakening Constellation, threatening the state's economy and reducing electricity reliability.

Mittal Announces Plan To Build Steel Plant In India

Lakshmi Mittal and his son Aditya, above, announced in New Delhi, India that Mittal Steel intends to invest $7-9 billion to build a steel plant in the state of Orissa. There is some speculation that the Mittals are playing Orissa, left, against the state of Jharkhand, right, where negotiations for a similarly planned steel plant are slow. Mittal Steel successfully purchased Arcelor steel company in June.

Maryland Governor Candidates on the Environment

AAEA is based in Maryland and we will present the positions of candidates running for the governor's office until the election. Other candidates will be featured in the coming weeks. AAEA President Norris McDonald pictured with Governor Bob Ehrlich.

Robert L. Ehrlich. Enacted the historic Chesapeake Bay Restoration Act, which will reduce nitrogen pollution into the Bay by seven million pounds per year—cutting current levels nearly in half. Preserved more than 60,000 acres of environmentally sensitive land.
Provided record funding for Program Open Space.

Martin O'Malley. Implement an Environmental Bill of Rights for Maryland’s Families. Fully Fund Lead Paint Poisoning Prevention Programs. Restore Cuts to Maryland’s Successful Program Open Space. Reduce Sprawl and Over-Development. Martin O’Malley will work for initiatives that promote growth in a more thoughtful manner. Institute BayStat - A New Tool to Monitor and Gauge the Health of the Chesapeake. Create New Tax Credits To Protect Vanishing Farmland.

Maryland Senate Candidates On The Environment

AAEA is based in Maryland. Summaries of the positions of candidates for the U.S. Senate are posted below. We will highlight environmental positions of other candidates until the election. AAEA President Norris McDonald is pictured with Lt. Governor Michael Steele.

Michael Steele. Worked with conservationists to help restore the Anacostia and help complete the Anacostia River Walk, which connects the Anacostia Tributary Trail System in Prince Georges County and Montgomery County to the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The Ehrlich-Steele administration worked to preserve almost 60,000 acres of fields, open space, farmland and forests; and currently, one out of five acres in Maryland are under permanent environmental protection.

Kweisi Mfume. We must focus on reducing harmful toxins and increasing public awareness.
Clean air and clean water are American birthrights not American options.
The preservation of open space, the protection of our parks and wetlands, the dangers of toxic dumps and the unnecessary exposure to asbestos in the workplace must become environmental priorities in the U.S. Senate. Environmental toxins, such as asbestos, lead paint and lead dust poisoning are allowed to pollute our air and taint out water supply. I know that we can do better.

Benjamin Cardin. Fought to establish Clean Water Act discharge standards for nutrients into the Bay. Fought for oyster restoration efforts. Increased federal role in watershed treatment plant construction and upgrade. Established federal grants for local watershed associations and other groups for restoration projects. Fought for new federal grants for innovative environmental education programs. Supports increased funding for federal conservation, open space and environmental protections programs. Directed Corps of Engineers to work on restoring local waterways and wetlands.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Summer Mostly Organic Lawn & Tomato Report

Persistent Clover is still hand plucked to prevent sectional takeover. A very light sprinkling of 'fast food' commercial fertilizer was applied to take advantage of the heavy summer rains in the Washington Metropolitan Area. That means weekly cuttings.

The two tomato plants are sprouting tomatoes and there is an issue with a white mold on the stems and underneath some leaves. White mold, caused by a species of the fungus Sclerotinia, is a serious disease that often results in death of plants. White mold can be seen on the infected plant tissue when conditions are humid and the heavy rains have contributed to high humidity. Wiping away the white mold fungus with alcohol sprayed paper towels has been effective in controlling the parasite. The Filadendrum, right, taken from inside and placed outside near the tomato plants also gets the alcohol rub down beneath its leaves to control the fungus. In addition to the white mold fungus, there is a white bug, pictured at left on the Tomato Hornworm, that has to be scared away or wiped away. Hopefully, excellent tomato sandwiches on homemade bread will be forthcoming.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Media Elite Incestuously Promotes Green Elite

We have noticed a trend where only certain environmental groups and individuals are quoted or referred to in traditional print and electronic media. The terms used to limit participation and exclude other points of view are "leading" or "prominent." Why don't they just say "superior?" Moreover, media affiliates and reporters that perceive themselves as superior only refer to preselected groups that they view as superior to provide media-acceptable superior comments. Usually money, group name recognition, history and number of members are used as excuses to exclude the points of view of other smaller groups. Unfortunately, a small but powerful group like ours with many innovative successes is usually excluded from coverage by the superiority-obsessed media elites.

The effect of this exclusivity is to limit information dissemation to the general public. It also maintains a certain perspective that the elites want the public to accept. For instance, environmental groups are supposed to oppose everything. So supporting appropriate, environmentally benign or beneficial projects rarely gets coverage. Another example is AAEA's early support of nuclear power. We are rarely mentioned even though we were the first green group to support nuclear power in 2001 and remain the only U.S. environmental group that publicly supports the technology in 2006. The same thing happened with our early support of the Cape Wind and some other projects. Now that we have broken our No Whining Rule, we will leave it at that.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Black Woman On Space Shuttle Flight

Some might wonder what the title has to do with the environment. Well it indicates significant changes in the American environment. Unfortunately, during a significant part of this nation's history blacks were excluded from participating in many normal and eclectic activities. The environmental movement is still elitist and segregated. Regardless, we have come a long way and although many are still distracted by the reality of black neighborhoods, we at AAEA love our motto: "The African American community is as American as apple pie."

Mission Specialist Stephanie Wilson, left, is the second African American woman to participate in a space shuttle flight. Isn't America great? Medical doctor Mae Jemison, right, was the first black woman to fly on a space shuttle flight in 1992. NASA

Global Warming, Public Relations & Hypocrisy

Washington Post Opinion writer Robert J. Samuelson nailed the global warming issue. Some of our colleagues have been commiserating with us for years now about the inevitablility of radical climate changes due to global warming and our inability and unwillingness to resolve the problem.

Samuelson smartly notes the political grandstanding being used to manipulate the issue for votes. Fotunately the "self-serving hypocrixy" and public relations bragging rights of political programs, such as the Kyoto Protocol, have been peeped and discarded by the U.S. Senate and President George W. Bush. The author notes that "None of these programs will reduce global warming...The incovenient truth is that if we don't solve the engineering problem, we're helpless." Excellent article Bob.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Baltimore Sun Grudgingly Supports Nuclear Power

The grumps over in Baltimore endorse nuclear power in the last paragraph of their editorial. They even name the editorial "Nuclear folly." But we will take the endorsement. They complain about the nuclear waste issue throughout most of the editorial. The article feels like a backhanded compliment. So now we have The New York Times, the New York Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Washington Times and The Baltimore Sun. The folks at The Washington Post need to catch up. The Washington Afro-American will probably beat The WP to an endorsement of nuclear power.