Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Public Will Reduce Gasoline Prices By Driving Less

Why Are Gasoline Prices So High? Experts give 3 reasons: 1) Supply & Demand, 2) Speculation and 3) Drop in Value of the Dollar. World production is around 86 million barrels of oil per day and consumption is at about 85 million barrels per day. The USA uses about 20 million barrels of oil every day. We import about half to 60 percent of our oil. Do the math. China and India will only use more oil and unless production is increased, the price will continue to rise. AAEA will be promoting coal-to-liquid instead of offshore drilling as the best method for increasing domestic oil supplies.

Airlines, trucking and heating oil industries believe speculation in the markets, particularly by institutional investors who do not intend to receive delivery of oil are at least partly responsible for high oil prices. Congress is having trouble defining speculation in a form it can legislate to try to regulate illegitimate and legitimate hedge trading. Experts guess that speculation can account for 40-60 percent of the current increase in the price of a barrel of oil.

When the value of the dollar falls, the nominal dollar prices of internationally traded commodities, like gold, rice, and oil, must increase because more dollars are required to purchase the same quantity of any commodity. Accordingly, a weak dollar should signal higher commodity prices. And it does. For example, if the dollar had held its January 2001 value against the Euro, oil would have traded at about $76 a barrel in May 2008. This is almost $50 below the price that crude oil was trading at in May 2008. Accordingly, the decline of the dollar’s value accounted for a whopping 51% of the $97 a barrel increase in the price of oil from May 2003-2008. The July euro stood at $1.57 and the yen at about 107.83. The value of the dollar makes commodities more or less attractive to investors buying oil futures as a hedge against inflation and weakness in the U.S. currency.

The public response to the +$4 per gallon gasoline price is to drive less. This though is having the effect of reducing the taxes for the Highway Trust Fund, which finances highway and mass transit projects. Congress will have to authorize billions to make up for the loss to maintain project schedules. Source: Cato Institute

President Bush Lifts Executive Ban On Offshore Oil Drilling

President Bush has lifted an executive ban on offshore drilling signed by his father in 1990, but that has no effect until Congress lifts its prohibitions as well. Some of the moratoria along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and in the eastern Gulf of Mexico have been in place for 27 years. Congressional Democrats are maintaining that oil companies already have vast areas available [68 million acres] for drilling but have chosen not to develop the federal leases they already hold. AAEA opposes lifting the ban on offshore drilling.

It does not appear that Congress will pass any energy legislation before its August recess.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Bail Out Bill Signed By President Bush

The House on July 23 voted 272-152 to pass the Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008 (H.R. 3221) that will offer up to $300 billion in assistance to troubled homeowners and throw government support behind mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Senate voted 72-13 on July 26 and President Bush signed the bill into law on July 30. The bill allows Treasury over the next 18 months to offer Fannie and Freddie an unlimited line of credit and the authority to buy stock in the companies if necessary. The law also will establish a new regulator for Freddie and Fannie and overhaul the Federal Housing Administration. The Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday estimated the potential cost of a rescue could be $25 billion. CBO has estimated there is probably a 50% chance that Treasury would not need to step in but also concluded there is a 5% chance that Freddie and Fannie's losses would cost the government $100 billion.

The FHA could insure up to $300 billion in new 30-year fixed rate mortgages for at-risk borrowers in owner-occupied homes if lenders agree to write down loan balances to 90% of the homes' current appraised value. Lenders would also agree to pay upfront fees to the FHA equal to 3% of a home's appraised value. Borrowers must agree to pay an annual premium to the FHA equal to 1.5% of their new loan balance. They must also agree to share with the government any profit they realize from selling or refinancing.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

ENERGY LEGISLATION in the Congress of the United States

The House passed its energy bill, the Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008 (H.R. 6049), sponsored by House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel, left, on May 21, 2008, but failed cloture votes in the Senate on June 10 and June 17.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's energy bill, the Consumer-First Energy Act of 2008 (S. 3044) failed a cloture motion on June 10, 2008.

The Senate cannot seem to get any energy legislation passed. The Republicans want to open up oil drilling everywhere and the Democrats want oil companies to explore the tens of millions of acres of leases they already have before opening new areas. The Democrats also want to curb Wall Street energy speculation, which experts blame for contributing to high gasoline prices.

A bill to prevent excessive price speculation with respect to energy commodities, also introduced by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, right, on July 15th, the Stop Excessive Energy Speculation Act of 2008 (S 3268), failed cloture motions on July 22 and July 25.

A House Democratic proposal to counter oil market speculation failed due to the drilling dispute 276-151. That was nine votes short of the two-thirds needed for approval because the measure had been offered under expedited rules imposed by the Democrats to avoid GOP attempts to attach an offshore drilling provision. The House bill also would have given new authorities to the Commodities Futures Trading Commission to oversee oil markets, increase the agency's staff and set new requirements on certain trading. Market critics have argued that excessive speculation has contributed to the soaring oil prices.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Southern California Edison Solar Panel Installation Project

Southern California Edison (SCE) has begun construction of the world’s largest solar panel installation project. The project includes 150 Southern California commercial rooftops that eventually will make up SCE’s two square mile solar generation project.

During the next 45 days, SCE will attach 33,000 solar panels to a 600,000-square-foot commercial roof in Fontana, Calif. The new, clean power generated will be fed directly into the nearest neighborhood distribution circuit, strengthening grid reliability in the Inland Empire region of Riverside and San Bernardino counties. SCE expects to connect the first panels to its grid in early September, meeting peak summer power needs.

First Solar, developer of an advanced thin-filmphotovoltaic technology, has been selected as the winning bidder in acompetitive solicitation to supply the PV system for this first installation.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

AAEA Environmental Group Leader in Nuclear Power Support

AAEA was the first environmental group in the United States to support nuclear power starting in 2000. AAEA remains the only environmental group in the United States to support nuclear power. Nuclear power is the best technology for producing emission free electricity. It produces no smog forming gases and produces no greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

Although largely unheralded by the nuclear industry, unrecognized by the media and vilified by the environmental movement, AAEA has been, and will continue to be, the environmental organization leader in promoting this solution to emission free production of electricity.

Our work speaks for itself (Select Activities):




Westchester County Board of Legislators (2004)













Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COMMISSION TO ENGAGE AFRICAN AMERICANS ON CLIMATE CHANGE

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in collaboration with the Bipartisan Policy Center are releasing of a national survey of results on the views of African Americans on key climate and energy questions and the launching of the:

COMMISSION TO ENGAGE AFRICAN AMERICANS ON CLIMATE CHANGE

at the National Press Club

Date: Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Time: 10:00 a.m. EDT
(White Murrow Rooms)
529 14th Street, NW, 13th Floor
Washington, DC 20045

Featureing: The Honorable James E. Clyburn, U.S. House Majority Whip

The Bipartisan Policy Center in conjunction with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has provided a grant to the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies (Joint Center) to launch a new effort to engage the African American community on the issue of climate change. The Joint Center has formed a distinguished national commission and through its work, as well as related research, will reframe the current policy debate on climate change.

Not only will this reframing make the debate more relevant to African Americans and other people of color, it will also encourage greater participation and grassroots advocacy by members of civil rights groups, churches, student and youth groups, other community and civic organizations, and black elected officials at all levels of government. The commission is co-chaired by Ralph B. Everett, Esq., President and CEO of the Joint Center and The Honorable Rodney Ellis, Texas State Senator and a member of the National Commission on Energy Policy. Commission members will represent a diversity of scientists, activists, policymakers, labor, entrepreneurs, educators, religious and business leaders.

Journalists of Color Hold Annual Conference in Chicago

UNITY Journalists of Color, Inc is holding its 2008 conference in Chicago, Illinois from Aug 23-Aug 27. UNITY is a strategic alliance advocating fair and accurate news coverage about people of color, and aggressively challenging the industry to staff its organizations at all levels to reflect the nation’s diversity. The journalism industry has an obligation to deliver a complete, fair and representative picture of the communities and world in which we live. In order to achieve this, diversity in the newsroom and in coverage is fundamental. Unity envisions a nation in which newsrooms are inclusive and reflect the communities they cover, and where people of color hold positions of influence. To achieve this UNITY conducts research, convenes people and advocates change by offering attainable solutions to the industry. Unity's goals are:

To raise awareness and participation of the media industry in understanding the diverse cultures represented by the UNITY alliance members.
To increase representation of people of color at all levels in the nation’s newsrooms.
To increase and broaden news coverage focusing on people of color, and to dispel racial and ethnic stereotypes and myths.
To become recognized as the principal national alliance of journalism professionals advocating for diversity and multiculturalism in the news media.
To create a self-sustaining organization with a diversified financial base that complements, and does not compete with alliance partners.


The conference is addressing two environmental issues (daylong sessions):

1) How Green is Your Beat? Journalists of Color and Environmental Reporting, sponsored by Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A.

2) Covering Climate Change: Why Non-White Communities Could Be Hit the Hardest, presented by NPR

UNITY, representing more than 10,000 journalists of color, is comprised of four national associations: Asian American Journalists Association, National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and the Native American Journalists Association. In addition to planning the largest regular gathering of journalists in the nation, UNITY develops programs and institutional relationships that promote its mission. For more on information on UNITY '08 call (703) 854-3585.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Texas Is Leading the Way with Wind Power

Not only is T. Boone Pickens planning to build $10 billion worth of wind generation in Texas, their Public Utility Commission has approved about $5 billion to add transmission lines so that its current 5,000 megawatts of wind power generation can be boosted to 18,000 megawatts. It is the largest investment in clean and renewable power for any state in the nation.

This is a major development because, although wind is obviously available, opponents tend to oppose them in populated areas. Thus, the trend is toward building in really rural areas that are not close to transmission lines, which have their own NIMBY opposition. The $4.9 billion plan was supported by Austin Energy, which hopes to draw 30 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020. The overall plan would not be in place for several years, but it could result in a $4 per month increase on Texas consumers' monthly bills over a period of about 30 years. (The Wall Street Journal, Statesman.com)

Interestingly, Texas has requested a waiver from the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) that is being considered by EPA right now. EPA received the request in April and is taking additional time to adequately respond to the 15,000 public comments and to develop a decision document that explains the technical, economic and legal rationale of our decision. EPA is also required to consult with the Departmentsof Agriculture and Energy in considering whether to grant or deny thewaiver request and has begun these consultations.

High Gasoline Prices and Offshore Oil Drilling

Congress is under pressure to do something, anything, to lower +$4 per gallon gasoline prices. The partisan debate has locked onto offshore oil drilling, limiting speculation and utilization of onshore federal lands as the solutions to high prices. Congress knows the public has a way of reducing its own anxiety by replacing its member of Congress. This will not solve the problem but it does inspire Congress to do 'something, anything.' And that is really scary.

The Republicans proposed a "find more, use less" bill known as the Gas Price Reduction Act of 2008, which includes deep-sea exploration more than 50 miles off coasts of the states that want it, lifting a ban on development on oil shale deposits in western states, increased incentives for the development of plug-in electric cars and trucks, and guards against excessive speculation.

The Democrats proposed a "use it or lose it" bill that would force the oil companies to use the offshore oil leases they already have [estimated at 68 million acres]. Critics point out that this approach makes three invalid assumptions: 1) That Big Oil would ignore these areas during record gasoline prices, 2) That every lease represents a guarantee of oil, and 3) That areas not producing or not being drilled are inactive. Oil fields require up to 12 years to come on line so not only will they not lower prices soon, but it is also hard to tell what areas will be productive. (The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Washington Times)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

G.E. Dumping Light Bulbs For Selling Weather

Does G.E. know something we don't? They are selling their appliance business (or might spin it off into a subsidiary) and getting into the weather forecasting and reporting business. General Electric's NBC Universal, partnering with Bain Capital and the Blackstone Group, just paid the Weather Channel $3.5 billion for the 25 year old service. G.E. is banking on the fact that 24 hour weather viewing will be very profitable, particularly online. The Weather Channel web site is second only to Yahoo News in web market share for weather related sites.

Considering all of the unpredictable weather due to global warming, it is probably a good bet that investing in weather channels will pay off big time. If things continue in their current direction, weather channels will be the first thing everybody checks each day. Just as turning on the lights used to be. G.E. knows how to stay ahead of the curve.

G.E. also hopes to sell wind turbines and nuclear power plants.

EPA Does Not Want To Regulate CO2 Using The Clean Air Act

And EPA is right. Trying to come up with regulations to manage carbon dioxide (CO2) under the Clean Air Act is a complete waste of time. The Bush Administration knows this but politics being what it is inside the Beltway, don't expect any sense anytime soon from our politicians. The EPA adminstrator is punting on the issue by extending the comment period and will let the next administration deal with it. The Supreme Court told EPA in an April 2007 ruling that it had the authority to regulate carbon dioxide from automobiles under the Clean Air Act. Unfortunately, the only way to reduce CO2 from automobiles is to make them more efficient. [There is no technology you can put on the vehicle to 'scrub' CO2] Subsequent to the Supreme Court ruling, Congress passed fuel efficiency increases for autos up to 35 miles per gallon. Washington can be such a fascinating place. But we would rather see a market-oriented program for addressing global warming. EPA could still be the traffic cop the way it is for the Clean Air Act Acid Rain Program, but let the market get after this problem. We will need a cap-and-trade program for that to happen.

Here is the rub: if EPA rules CO2 is a threat to public health and welfare, then EPA would have to regulate CO2 from all other sources too. Sections 108, 109 and 111 of the Clean Air Act deal with regulating stationary sources (buildings) and setting other standards that will be highly complicated and probably not good for the economy (or that will reduce global emissions significantly). Ironically, the administration's Methane-to-Markets and Asian Pacific Partnership programs are two very effective programs for addressing CO2. So is the Global Nuclear EnergyPartnership (GNEP).

What About Coal-To-Liquid (CTL)?

AAEA is not a traditional environmental organization because we do not oppose everything, everywhere, all of the time. We cannot put everything off limits and expect America to prosper. Mainstream environmental groups are beginning to pose a threat to the American way of life becuase of a 'build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything' (BANANA) philosophy. By the same token, we can't just allow industry to run willy nilly and plunder everything in the name of supply and profit. And {read this in a hushed tone because people get upset when we bring it up} will Black Americans participate in America's energy production? Only Nigerian-born Kase Lawal is drilling offshore right now. Anyway, we digress.

AAEA supports converting coal-to-liquid. Coal can be converted into diesel fuel and gasoline using a method called Fischer-Tropsch. It was developed by the Germans to fuel their World War II war machine and now the only conversion plant is located in South Africa and is operated by Sasol. If we are going to preserve the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR), and the east and west coasts of America, and we support such preservation, then we should be willing to compromise somewhere because America needs and uses oil. CTL is our compromise. Now before traditional enviros scream about the carbon dioxide penalty, we have a solution: convert the CO2 to gasoline. AAEA is on the cutting edge of promoting this technology, but will not get any recognition for it because [well you know why]. Kentucky here we come.

Photo: Longwall underground mining equipment

Peak Oil? Don't Believe the Hype

Peak oil theory postulates that the world has reached its peak in terms of oil production and that there will be a steady decline from now on (our shortened definition). Poppycock. There is oil everywhere. It is just a matter of getting to it. There is plenty of oil under our oceans, although AAEA is not ready to surrender the beauty of our east and west coasts to get to it. The holy grail for the oil companies is the eastern Gulf of Mexico. The western Gulf has already proven that there is plenty of oil in the Gulf. That is why there are about 4,000 wells from Texas to Alabama. Now $4 per gallon gasoline is putting pressure on Florida to agree to drilling off its western coast. That and the Chinese are about to drill in our backyard in the same area in a deal with Cuba.

The Democrats (evidently Big Oil is Republican) are trying to hold off on opening up the Outer Continental Shelf, eastern Gulf, and east and west coasts by saying there are 68 million acres of federal lands already under lease to the oil companies that they are not exploring. Evidently these lands do not hold the easy pluckings of oil the companies like though because they still want the bans lifted so they can drill everywhere. Well let us hope the politicians will make up their minds soon. For if there is plenty of oil in the world, then the price should not have to be higher than the public can stand. After all, America is great because of plentiful supplies of oil and gas at reasonable prices. And those are items we support.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Toyoto To Convert SUV Plant to Prius Plant in Mississippi

Toyoto was going to build a truck production factory in Blue Springs, Mississippi (about 10 miles west of Tupelo) that it has now decided to convert to manufacturing the Prius. The truck production plant was going to build the Highlander SUV.

It must be the +$4.00 per gallon gasoline. Do you know any 'brothers' with a Prius?

National Museum of African American History & Culture

The Smithsonian has posted a request for qualifications inviting licensed architects and engineers to compete to design the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Submissions are due by September 19 and will be evaluated by a panel of experts primarily from the Smithsonian. The field of applicants will be narrowed to three to seven firms that will participate in a design competition for the building, which is expected to cost $500 million to design and construct. The building will occupy a 5-acre site on Constitution Avenue between the Washington Monument and the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. The Smithsonian has stated:

"our goal is to have a signature building that embraces the site, the Mall and that represents the resiliency, hope and spirituality associated with black American culture. It must help us to embrace the pain and contradictions of segregation, poverty and racial violence, yet this museum must also let our audiences find the joy, the strength and the creativity that is at the heart of this community."
The new structure will have to incorporate energy-conserving features and become the Smithsonian's first museum to receive a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Architects will be required to prove they are competent to explain their appreciation of black history in writing. Minority firms are strongly encouraged to apply, but the architect chosen might not be black. The Smithsonian has consulted with the National Organization of Minority Architects. The finalist will be named in the Spring of 2009 and will have three years to design the 350,000 square foot museum, which will be approximately the size of the National Museum of the American Indian, at 4th St and Independence Ave, Southeast. (The Washington Times, 7/11/08) (Museum to be located in circle area in photo: courtesy Smithsonian Institution)

EPA Recalculates Dollar Value of Human Life

The U.S. EPA has recalculated the dollar value of a human life from $7.8 million to $6.9 million. The figure is not based on earning capacity or potential contributions to society, or how much they are loved by family and friends. It is based on economist calculations of the value based on what people are willing to pay to avoid certain risks and on how much extra employers pay their workers to take on additional risks. Most of the data is drawn from payroll statistics and opinion surveys. EPA says the number should not be thought of as a price tag on a human life.

When drawing up regulations, government agencies put a value on human life and then weigh the costs versus the lifesaving benefits of a proposed rule. The less a life is worth to the government, the less the need for a regulation, such as tighter restrictions on pollution. For example, a hypothetical regulation that costs $18 billion to enforce but will prevent 2,500 deaths equals $7.2 million per person. At $7.8 million per person (the old figure), the life saving benefits outweigh the costs, but at $6.9 million per person, the rule costs more than the lives it saves, so it may not be adopted. (Associated Press)

Green Party to Nominate Cynthia McKinney For President

There were two black candidates in the 2004 presidential race : Al Sharpton and Carol Moseley-Braun. It appears there will be two black candidates in the 2008 cycle as well, Senator Barack Obama and now former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, right. She will be nominated this week in Chicago, Illinois to be the presidential nominee of the Green Party. Her name will be on the ballots of approximately 36 states.

Will she, combined with Ralph Nader, take enough votes away from Obama to lose in November?

The District of Columbia Goes GREEN

The District government agencies are going green. The green initiative began with the passage of the Green Building Act of 2006, which calls for all new public buildings built with government assistance and all new commercial buildings to be constructed to meet specific requirements set forth by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). The LEED green building rating system was created by the U.S. Green Building Council, a nonprofit organization.

Private and commercial construction over 5,000 square feet will be required to be LEED certified by fiscal year 2012. Affordable housing projects greater than 10,000 square feet and use more than 15 percent government assistance fit into the "publicly financed" category and will need to comply with the Green Communities stardards created by the Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. These requirements take effect in October 2008

GreenHome and Enterprise Community Partners, Inc are conducting training sessions for several local agencies to help them understand the new regulations and to incorporate the Green Communities Criteria into their work. The sessions are run by Steven Winter Associates, Inc. Participants include officials from the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), the District Department of the Environment, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) and the Office of Property Management. (The Washington Informer, 7/10/08)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Court Strikes Down Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR)

A federal appeals court, The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, unanimously struck down (7/11/08) the 2005 Clean Air Interstate Rule, which required 28 states east of the Mississippi to reduce smog-forming (nitrogen oxides) and soot-and acid rain producing (sulfur dioxide) emissions that can travel long distances in the wind. Electric power producers (led by Duke Energy) challenged the regulation on the grounds that the EPA usurped the authority of Congress by requiring greater pollution reductions than those called for in the 1990 Clean Air Act. We knew this would happen just as we knew it would happen with the Clearn Air Mercury Rule (see link below). The Bush administration could get neither program passed in Congress so they implemented the rules at the agency level anyway. These were lawsuits waiting to happen.

We take no comfort in our foresight though because now no rule exists for managing these emissions and Congress must pass legislation to protect our air. Politics harmed America's air in this cycle because the Democrats opposed the Republican Clear Skies Initiative (CSI), which would have properly codified the rules, and the CSI is modeled after the same cap-and-trade mechanism being promoted by both sides today to address global warming.

The EPA said the rule would dramatically reduce sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, saving up to $100 billion in health benefits. The Environmental Protection Agency predicted it would prevent about 17,000 premature deaths a year by 2015. Besides the reduction in premature deaths, the EPA also said the rule would have prevented millions of lost work and school days and tens of thousands of nonfatal heart attacks.

Congressman Rush Addresses Plague of Gun Violence

U. S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush, right, is joining with ROOT, Inc., a non-profit activist organization (Kenneth E. Barnes, Sr., MS, Founder/CEO), to launch a nationwide organizing campaign to provide federal resources to strengthen local community efforts to stem the unprecedented wave of gun-related violence that continues to plague our country. Rush's effort to enact the "Communities in Action Neighborhood Defense and Opportunity Act" (CAN DO), a grassroots-inspired piece of legislation, will provide law enforcement and intervention resources in a manner designed to reduce the killing.

The gun death toll in America exceeds that of what's occurring in Iraq. An average of 45 people die each and every day, in our country, from a firearm-irregardless of race, class or culture. The CAN DO bill is a targeted attempt to change attitudes and behaviors toward gun violence by bringing together entire communities to address systemic factors that lead to violence and to, specifically, make rampant gun violence unacceptable in local communities. CAN DO calls for a four-pronged attack on gun violence in some of the worst, crime-plagued communities in the United States . Specifically, the bill:

-- enhances law enforcement by targeting the most violent criminals

-- increases funding for mental health and psychological counseling

-- funds employment training and opportunity; and

-- provides educational and recreational services for at-risk youth.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

DNC & RNC To Hold Green Conventions

The Democratic National Committee will hold its convention in Denver, Colorado from August 25 through August 28 and the Republican National Committee will hold its convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota from September 1 through September 4.

The conventions will be green to the extent they can and both will be powered by Xcel Energy Inc, the nation's top wind-power provider.

The Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention are also promoting bike use as a way to cut down on traffic and gas use. Symbolic gestures are encouraged.

Obama Inspires 'Discussion' About 'Mixed Race' But All American Cities Still Have Black & White Sides of Town

Historical Note: Between 1910 and 1925, nearly every U.S. state enacted the 'one-drop rule' in hopes of keeping the white race "pure."

Although Barack Obama's Democratic Party nomination for the presidency and possible presidency inspire feelings of glee among many, America's cities, churches and the mainstream environmental movement are still about as segregated as ever.

Do you think America will ever become a true melting pot where there are no black communities and white communities, but just communities?

If and when that ever happens, and to be realistic we seriously doubt it will ever happen, then we will drop the African American Environmentalist Association and just operate under the parent name: Center for Environment, Commerce & Energy.

T. Boone Pickens Wants to Cut USA's Demand for Foreign Oil

T. Boone Pickens, right & below at base of wind turbine, is mad that the USA is paying $700 billion a year for foreign oil. The Pickens Plan includes cutting the USA's demand for foreign oil by more than a third in less than ten years. You have probably already seen Pickens on television because he is paying for the biggest public policy ad campaign ever. Many big outfits are buying television, radio and newspaper ads to influence public policy. Do not forget about the small but powerful organizations like AAEA that can make a little go a very long way instead of just enlisting multimillion dollar groups like the Sierra Club. We digress. T. Boone Pickens solutions for reducing our reliance on foreign oil are Wind Power and Natural Gas. And he is not just talking about it.

Pickens is building the world's largest wind farm in Pampa, Texas, northeast of Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle. He has spent $2 billion on the project, including a record purchase of nearly 700 wind turbines this year from General Electric. He expects to spend up to $10 billion on the project and to begin generating electricity in 2011. Pickens believes that wind energy can be used as a substitute for natural gas burned to generate electricity and that would free up more natural gas for use as a transportation fuel. Pickens' plan is to produce enough wind power within 10 years to divert 20% of the natural gas now used to fuel power plants for use in cars and trucks. Powering vehicles with compressed or liquefied natural gas, CNG or LNG, has been Pickens' pet project since the late 1980s.

Distribution is a major problem. There are fewer than 800 natural gas filling stations around the USA so drivers cannot fill up wherever they go. Pickens wants Washington to encourage the move to natural-gas-powered vehicles by providing modest economic incentives for fuel retailers to invest in CNG pumps at their stations, for automakers to build CNG-powered cars and for individuals to convert their existing vehicles to CNG use. (USAToday, 7/7/08) Photo Courtesy Jessica Rinaldi, USA Today)

Monday, July 07, 2008

CNN Presents "Black in America"

On Wednesday, July 23 at 9pm and Thurdsday, July 24 at 9 pm, CNN will premier a series, 'Black in America.' The first day the series will focus on examining issues, success and struggles of the black men, women and familes and the second day is dedicated entirely to the plight of the Black Man in America.

Soledad O'Brien explores the varied experiences of black women and families and investigates the reasons behind the disturbing statistics on single parenthood, disparities between black and white students in the classroom and the devastating toll of the HIV/AIDS. O'Brien reports on the progress of black women in the workplace, in universities and the status of the black middle class. Premieres in HDTV on Wednesday, July 23, 9 p.m. ET.

It is reported in the series that "companies in the U.S. have said they would hire a white man with a felony record and no high school education BEFORE they would hire a black man with NO criminal record and a 4-year degree?"

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

AAEA Invited To Testify Before Congressional Black Caucus

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), above, member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and the House Committe on Science and Technology, has invited AAEA President Norris McDonald to participate in the Science and Technology Braintrust during the CBC's Annual Legislative Conference. The conference is held at the Washington Convention Center and the Science and Technology Braintrust will be held at 9:00 a.m. in Room 149-A on Friday, September 26, 2008

AAEA is delighted to receive the invitation from Congresswoman Johnson. The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 38th Annual Legislative Conference will take place in the heart of our Nation’s Capitol from September 24–27 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The theme is Embracing the Promise, Realizing the Vision. The Annual Legislative Conference is a time to gather from around the country, present shared issues, brainstorm resolutions and establish an action plan for the coming year. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick is Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus. Historical note: Norris McDonald organized the first Energy Braintrust for Congressman Mickey Leland in 1981. (Click on letter to enlarge)

Obama Supports Supreme Court Ruling Overturning DC Gun Ban

Presidential candidate Barack Obama supports the overturning of DC's ban on owning handguns for self defense in the home. AAEA agrees with overturning the ban. Considering the high number of gun murders in DC and other large cities, citizens should have the right to protect themeselves in their homes. This decision addresses the most immediately important environmental issue facing the Black community today: gun violence. Gang members, drug dealers and other thugs might continue with their violent ways, but they will think twice about invading someone's home.

Obama on the Second Amendment:

"I have always believed that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms, but I also identify with the need for crime-ravaged communities to save their children from the violence that plagues our streets through common-sense, effective safety measures."

"as president, I will uphold the constitutional rights of law abiding gun owners, hunters and sportsmen. I know that what works in Chicago may not work in Cheyenne."
The Supreme Court in a 5 to 4 decision struck down the District of Columbia's ban on handgun possession on June 26 deciding for the first time in U.S. history that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual's right to own a gun for self-defense. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the majority opinion and was joined by Chief Justice John G. Robers, Jr., Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito, Jr.:

"We hold that the District's ban on handgun possession in the home violates the Second Amendment, as does its prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense. The Second Amendment surely elevates above all other interests the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home."
Dissenting justices included Stephen G. Breyer, John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.