Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Very Interesting Day


By Norris McDonald

Today was a very interesting day. It started with attending a presentation entitled, "Fixing the Carbon Problem Without Breaking the Economy," which was delivered by John W. Rowe, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Exelon Corporation, the largest nuclear power company in the world. The presentation was sponsored by Resources for the Future (RFF) and was held at the National Association of Homebuilders Auditorium.

Mr. Rowe, pictured at right with me, discussed U.S. legislative and regulatory actions to address climate change, and why we must focus on economic approaches that will provide the country with cleaner, more secure energy while minimizing the costs to consumers and putting more people to work. As the electricity industry’s longest-serving chief executive, Rowe was among the first CEOs in the industry to focus on climate change, first testifying before Congress on the potential effects of carbon emissions in 1992.

I then went a few blocks to meet with Dr. Elsie Scott, left, President of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF), at their headquarters office on Massachusetts Avenue. Dr. Scott briefed me on the activities and priorities of CBCF and I described the various programs of the Center. Dr. Scott joined CBCF in 2007.

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy, research and educational institute that aims to help improve the socioeconomic circumstances of African Americans and other underserved communities. CBCF’s influence extends to African-American intellectuals and others focused on policy and legislative issues.

Each September, thousands of elected officials and industry leaders, celebrities, media, emerging leaders and everyday Americans come to Washington, D.C., for the organization’s Annual Legislative Conference (ALC). The conference features participation by the Congressional Black Caucus and includes dozens of policy forums, general sessions, exhibits, a job fair, book signings and vast networking opportunities. CBCF and the Congressional Black Caucus Spouses also sponsor an annual golf and tennis classic that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for educational and training opportunities for high school and college students.

Next I participated in the the grand opening session of the Fourth Annual State of Environmental Justice In America 2010 Conference at the Howard University School of Law was a huge success. A great crowd braved rain showers to listen to presentations and ask questions in the Moot Court Room. I am pictured at left with Dru Ealons, Special Assistant, Office of Public Engagement, EPA and Stephanie Owens, Director, Office of Public Outreach, EPA. I am pictured at right with Quentin Pair, Environmental Justice Director, U.S. Justice Department.

The session featured a moderated environmental justice conversation that discussed the application of fair treatment and meaningful involvement from different interests and perspectives. It addressed questions such as: How can environmental justice and economic development co-exist? How can we improve relations between communities and industry, communities and government, and government and industry? What are examples of model environmental justice activities? Are the Federal agencies committed to implementing the Executive Order? Is business and industry committed to environmental justice? What are the most significant environmental justice issues facing the country?

Finally, I attended The Washingtonian 3rd Annual Green Awards, which honored those who preserve and protect our environment and teaches the virtues of living green. Green DMV was one of the honorees. Rhon Hayes and Philip O'Neal, left, accepted the award on behalf of Green DMV. I am on the advisory board. The awards ceremony was held at the Blue Ridge Restaurant and other honorees included: Tracy Bowen, Founder, Alice Ferguson Foundation, Seth Goldman, Found, Honest Tea and Bethesda Green, Chris Johns, Editor-in-Chief, National Geographic magazine and Cate Magennis Wyatt, Founder and Executive Director, Journey Through Hallowed Ground.

No comments: