Saturday, July 23, 2011

CASEnergy Coalition Reaching Out To Minorities: Interesting


By Norris McDonald

AAEA's Criticism Finally Convinces the CASEnergy Coalition To Reach Out To Minorities

Imagine my surprise when I was reading through The Washington Informer newspaper and ran up on an ad from the CASEnergy Coalition.  It was a very pleasant ad promoting nuclear power and featured a picture of Hilda Pinnix-Ragland, who is chair of the CASEnergy Coalition Business, Labor & Minority Steering Committee and V.P., Corporate Public Affairs, Progress Energy Service Company.  To put it mildly, I was shocked because AAEA decided to withdraw from this coalition in 2006 right after it was created due to the hostility shown to us.  It was the first and only time we have withdrawn from a coalition.

We are delighted that this coalition has decided to reach out to the minority community.  However, this community should BE AWARE of the treatment afforded AAEA when the prospect of a 'Nuclear Renaissance' was budding, and we were basically kicked off of the renaissance bus.  Does this newfound interest have anything to do with the changed landscape since AAEA first publicly complained about the CASEnergy Coalition hostility towards us in 2007? Hmmm.  Let me see: Black president, black EPA administrator and black Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Commissioner (Bill Magwood). Add to that the power of the internet (our blog complaint is and has been first page when you Google CASEnergy Coalition) and maybe it makes sense now for them to start reaching out to minorities.  Fate does seem to have a sense of humor.


AAEA was the first environmental group to support nuclear power.  I was the first environmentalist in the United States to support nuclear power.  We did not just support the technology in theory, we went out and actively spoke before groups and testified before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), among numerous other activities.  You would never know this if you only relied on the CASEnergy Coalition because they completely ignore our contributions to the movement to support nuclear power.  In fact, CASE co-chair Patrick Moore has gone out of his way to exclude AAEA and Norris McDonald from mention in any venue, publication or public appearance.  AAEA had to call out another environmentalist (Stewart Brand) for doing the same thing.  It appears that as soon as mainstream environmentalists began to come out in support for nuclear power, they proceeded to exclude AAEA from mention.  This burns because AAEA has a long history of 'calling out' the environmental movement for its segregationist and elitist history.

Now CASEnergy Coalition can do whatever it wants to do.  No problem there.  However AAEA was created in part to increase participation in the energy sector and in the environmental movement.  And we are concerned that now that the nuclear industry is struggling, they are all of a sudden reaching out to the minority community.  A nuclear power plant license costs $100 million and a nuclear plant is projected to cost $10 billion.  The CASEnergy Coalition was seeded with $8 million and Hill and Knowlton as their PR firm.  Billions of dollars are at stake and we do not want minorities to be engaged with peanuts.  AAEA has been calling for ownership stakes in nuclear power plants. 

We were called 'crazy' by just about every other environmentalist and others in 2001 for our support for nuclear power.  We were even kicked out of one environmentalist gathering due to this support. How ironic that at the same time we were being vilified by environmentalists for supporting nuclear power, we were being excluded from the feast and credit by the nuclear industry.  Sigh.  No blue jobs created via our nuclear power support. Let us hope blue jobs are created at other minority entities.

So we praise the outreach by the CASEnergy Coalition.  Yet, we note that Blacks do not own any energy resources and infrastructure in the United States.  The environmental movement is as segregated as ever.  And the United States has a history of excluding appropriate credit for Black achievement.  AAEA's achievements being ignored by CASEnergy Coalition is just one more example of this awful history.  So we hope that they engage the minority community on a substantive level, but those participants should also BE AWARE. {Note: Substantive does not mean plane tickets, hotel rooms, meetings, dinner party contracts and photo ops}

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