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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Energy: Hostility to African American Ownership?

The answer to the question is YES. There is aggressive hostility to African American ownership of energy infrastruture, products and services. At the same time that trillions of dollars in 'assistance' are going out to Wall Street, Detroit and the energy sector, any mention of 'assistance' for African American ownership is greeted with disdain. We are always baffled by the hostility by even the suggestion when others see it as normal to seek trillions in 'assistance.' AAEA is not speculating here. We have pressed for such ownership in every energy sector. We have been severely rebuffed. In virtually every energy sector we have approached about equity partnerships, and this includes 'green' efficiency and renewables jobs and companies, the response is bamboozlement at how we could even think of asking for ownership stakes in these industries. Yet these same energy companies across all sectors think nothing of asking for trillions in taxpayer subsidies to own and run their businesses.

President Obama is only 100 days into his job, but the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has been around for decades and recently allowed trillions to pass through Congress without ANY requirements for African American ownership. Now some might bristle at the thought of 'giving' or loaning Blacks anything, but America just gave commercial and industrial America trillions of dollars. Why is it okay for everyone EXCEPT BLACKS to get 'assistance' to participate in energy imports and production? Blacks are not in the $700 billion in annual oil imports that T. Boone Pickens is so fond of noting in his multimillion dollar advertising campaigns. The one time $5 billion for weatherization assistance pales in comparison. Blacks do not own the coal mines that provide the coal that supplies fifty percent of our electricity production. And even though the 'green jobs' craze is in full throttle, how many black-owned wind and solar companies are there out there actually manufacturing wind turbines and photovoltaics? We know. It is 'getting ready to happen.' Sell it to somebody else. We have been working for and waiting for efficiency and renewables to happen for 30 years. Wind and solar represent less than 1% of the electricity market, yet some are forcefully pushing Blacks into this area. Yes we want equity in this area, but we want ownership in the other 99% of the electricity marketplace too.

Where is the Black ownership of energy infrastructure, products and services in America when trillions of dollars being doled out to 'assist' energy companies? Where is the Congressional Black Caucus? Frankly, the CBC is missing in action and they better get their act together on this or they should just disband and concentrate on their individual districts. And please don't even think about approaching the traditional environmental movement. They are still trying to figure out how to hire and retain blacks even as industry has done so for decades. Yet they know that their secret pride in their 'elitist' status has to yield to the reality of a black American president. Can you tell we are angry? You should be too.

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