Monday, December 31, 2012

AAEA Highlights For 2012

PRESIDENT'S CORNER

By Norris McDonald

The year was very interesting with many exciting events and milestones.  My son is in college at South Carolina State University.  Life is good.  Although there were many activities, I decided to list the top five of the year below.

Breakfast with EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson at The White House

Compton-To-Catalina Program (Trips in April and October)

Participated in The White House Forum on Urban Innovation

Selected By Ebony magazine as one of their Ebony Power 100

Attended Ebony Power 100 Gala at Lincoln Center in New York City

Friday, December 28, 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

CDC Tracking Health, Community & Climate

National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network Releases Health Behavior, Community Design, and Climate Change Data

The Tracking Network has just released some exciting new data additions related to health behaviors, community design, and climate change.
 
Health Behaviors: Smoking Prevalence
A new Health Behaviors module is now available. When examining chronic diseases and their potential connection to the environment, it is important to consider other health risk factors that could play a role in their development. Four personal behaviors that can impact chronic diseases are:
  • lack of physical activity,
  • poor nutrition,
  • tobacco use, and
  • excessive alcohol consumption.
The Tracking Network currently provides health behavior data on the number and percentage of adults who smoke. CDC plans to add data on other health behaviors to the Tracking Network soon.
Community Design: Access to Parks
Data on Access to Parks is also new to the Community Design module of the Tracking Network. Parks are an important part of a community. This data will provide a better picture of the access people have to places where they can participate in physical activity. These data can be used to understand how improving access to healthy community places, such as parks, may increase physical activity among community members.

Climate Change: Extreme Heat Days and Events
CDC has added data on extreme heat days and events to the Tracking Network’s Climate Change module. These data will allow you to look at temperature, heat index, and number of days to define extremely hot days and extreme heat events.

Visit the Tracking Network today to explore the new data. (CDC)

Lisa Jackson Decides To Step Down at EPA

STATEMENT BY EPA ADMINISTRATOR LISA P. JACKSON

ANNOUNCING HER LEAVING CABINET AFTER STATE OF UNION

"I want to thank President Obama for the honor he bestowed on me and the confidence he placed in me four years ago this month when he announced my nomination as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. At the time I spoke about the need to address climate change, but also said: “There is much more on the agenda: air pollution, toxic chemicals and children’s health issues, redevelopment and waste-site cleanup issues, and justice for the communities who bear disproportionate risk.” As the President said earlier this year when he addressed EPA’s employees, “You help make sure the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat are safe. You help protect the environment not just for our children but their children. And you keep us moving toward energy independence…We have made historic progress on all these fronts.” So, I will leave the EPA confident the ship is sailing in the right direction, and ready in my own life for new challenges, time with my family and new opportunities to make a difference."
EPA Milestones: 2009-2012
Since January 2009, EPA has taken a number of steps to ensure Americans’ health and environment are protected from the harmful effects of pollution in our air, land and water; and has put in place historic standards that will save tens of thousands of lives, prevent hundreds of thousands of asthma and heart attacks, and avert thousands of emergency room and hospital visits. With each action, EPA has engaged in a deliberative and extensive process, reviewing public comments and engaging all stakeholders to ensure that the standards are sensible, effective and scientifically and legally sound. Significant accomplishments during her term include: 

Improving Air Quality

Finalizing Clean Air Standards for Industrial Boilers, Incinerators and Cement Kilns

In December 2012, EPA finalized changes in Clean Air Act standards for boilers and certain incinerators, providing important public health protections.  While providing flexibility to industry for implementation, the standards will avoid up to 8,100 premature deaths, prevent 5,100 heart attacks and avert 52,00 asthma attacks per year in 2015.

Setting New Health-Based Standard for Fine Particle Pollution

In December 2012, EPA established the annual health standard for fine particle pollution (PM2.5), including soot, at 12 micrograms per cubic meter.  Fine particle pollution can penetrate deep into the lungs and has been linked to a wide range of health effects, including premature deaths, heart attacks and strokes as well as acute bronchitis and aggravated asthma among children.

Establishing First-Ever Standards on Mercury and Air Toxics from Power Plants

In December 2011, EPA finalized the first national standards for mercury, arsenic and other toxic air pollution from power plants. These new standards will avert up to 11,000 premature deaths, 4,700 heart attacks and 130,000 asthma attacks every year.

Finalizing A Rule Helping States Reduce Air Pollution and Attain Clean Air Standards

In June 2011, EPA finalized the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which protects the health of millions of Americans by reducing power plant emissions that cross state lines and contribute to ozone and fine particle pollution in other states. The rule will help to prevent 13,000 to 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 nonfatal heart attacks, 19,000 hospital and emergency room visits, 1.8 million lost work days or school absences, and 400,000 aggravated asthma attacks. A federal court struck down this rule, but that decision is under appeal.

Setting the Nation’s First SO2 Limits in Forty Years

Under Administrator Jackson, EPA strengthened the National Air Quality Standard for Sulfur Dioxide to better protect people’s health, especially those with asthma, children and the elderly. EPA estimates that meeting the new SO2 standard will prevent 2,300 to 5,900 premature deaths associated with exposure to fine particle pollution and 54,000 asthma attacks a year.

Setting Historic Fuel Economy Standards

American families will save over $1.7 trillion at the pump -- nearly $8,000 per vehicle, as a result of the Obama Administration's historic fuel efficiency standards and first ever greenhouse gas standards for cars and light trucks through model year 2025. The Administration’s actions will protect our environment  while reducing America’s dependence on oil by an estimated 12 billion barrels, and, by 2025, reduce oil consumption by 2.2 million barrels per day – enough to offset almost a quarter of the current level of our foreign oil imports. In addition, the Administration set the first ever fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards for trucks and busses, which will save American businesses approximately $50 billion in fuel costs.
Completing the Historic Greenhouse Gas Endangerment Finding

On December 7, 2009, the Administrator signed two distinct findings regarding greenhouse gases under section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act that established that the current and projected concentrations of the six key well-mixed greenhouse gases — carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) — in the atmosphere threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations and that the combined emissions of these well-mixed greenhouse gases from new motor vehicles and new motor vehicle engines contribute to the greenhouse gas pollution which threatens public health and welfare. These long-overdue findings cemented 2009’s place in history as the year when the United States Government began addressing the challenge of greenhouse-gas pollution.

Protecting America’s Waters

Restoring America’s Waterbodies

EPA is working to restore and revitalize America’s waterbodies across the nation, including the Gulf of Mexico, the Everglades, the Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson served as chair of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Taskforce, which released its final strategy for long term restoration for the Gulf Coast in late 2011. The Chesapeake Bay, as the largest bay in the U.S. and third largest in the world, is assessed as a $1 trillion resource. At the end of 2010, EPA received plans from states in the Chesapeake Bay region to meet the pollution diet goals the agency outlined as necessary for the protection of the Bay. Additionally, the Great Lakes provide some 30 million Americans with drinking water and underpin a multi-billion dollar economy. President Obama has proposed significant funding as part of his Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the largest investment in the Great Lakes in two decades.

Releasing a National Clean Water Strategy

In April 2011, the Obama Administration released a national clean water framework and reaffirmed its commitment to the health of our nation’s waters. The administration’s framework outlines a series of actions underway and planned across federal agencies to ensure the integrity of the waters Americans rely on every day for drinking, swimming, and fishing, and that support farming, recreation, tourism and economic growth.

Urban Waters Federal Partnership

In June 2011, EPA announced a new federal partnership that aims to stimulate regional and local economies, create local jobs, improve quality of life, and protect Americans’ health by revitalizing urban waterways in under-served communities across the country.

Strengthening Chemical Safety

Protecting Families from Lead, Mercury and PCBs

EPA took a number of steps to protect the public from harmful chemicals like lead, mercury and PCBs.  

Lead: Lead is a toxic metal that was used for many years in products found in and around our homes.  In 2010 and 2011, EPA implemented and broadened its rule that requires the use of lead-safe work practice standards by the renovation, repair, and painting industries.    

Mercury: EPA has finalized rules to phase out or ban the use of mercury in a range of measuring devices (thermometers, barometers, etc.) and other products.  Mercury exposure at high levels can harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and immune system of people of all ages.  

PCBs: EPA is also working to determine whether approved uses of PCBs should be limited or banned.  PCBs are man-made chemicals that were used in hundreds of industrial and commercial products until they were banned in 1979 and can cause damage to people's immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, endocrine system in addition to other health effects.

 
Taking Long-Overdue Action on Ten Chemicals Found in Everyday Products

EPA set into motion a series of action plans which lay out concrete steps EPA intends to take to address the risks associated with chemicals commonly used in this country. So far, EPA has prepared action plans on ten chemicals:  phthalates; Bisphenol A (BPA); long-chain perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs); penta, octa, and decabromodiphenyl ethers (PBDEs); short-chain chlorinated paraffins; benzidine dyes; hexabromocyclododecane; and nonylphenol and nonylphenol ethoxylates TDI and MDI. These chemicals are commonly used in everyday products that people can be regularly exposed to and have been linked to or known to cause a range of health effects from reproductive and developmental problems to cancer. 

Expanding Chemicals Testing for Endocrine Disruption

EPA has identified a list of over 100 chemicals that will be screened for their potential to disrupt the endocrine system.  Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interact with and possibly disrupt the hormones produced or secreted by the human or animal endocrine system, which regulates growth, metabolism and reproduction.  Testing is underway on a subset of these chemicals and additional tests will be ordered in the future. 

Removing Confidentiality Claims for More than 150 Chemicals
In order to ensure the public has as much information as possible about the health and the environmental impacts of chemicals; EPA has made public the identities of more than 590 chemicals associated with health and safety studies that had been claimed confidential by industry.  EPA continues to expand the information available to the public on chemicals. 

Cleaning Up Our Communities

Revitalizing Contaminated Sites

EPA has continued work to redevelop contaminated properties, boost local economies and help create jobs through EPA’s brownfields program. In 2011, EPA’s brownfields program leveraged 6,447 jobs and $2.14 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funds. EPA under President Obama has also invested $1 million evaluating the feasibility of developing renewable energy production on Superfund, brownfields, and former landfill or mining sites.

Expanding the Conversation on the Environment and Working for Environmental Justice

Ensuring Environmental Justice for Americans

Plan EJ 2014, released on September, 14, 2011, is EPA’s roadmap for considering how pollution may isproportionately impact communities, particularly low-income, minority and tribal communities. By considering environmental justice in agency rulemaking, permitting, enforcement, and community-based actions, EPA is working to protect the health of every American.

Expanding Outreach to New Groups

EPA has continued to amplify new voices in the environmental conversation, including faith-based groups, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the Girl Scouts, the Green Sports Alliance, the Moms Clean Air Task Force, Moms Rising, and Mocha Moms, tribal colleges and universities, Hispanic serving institutions and historically black colleges and universities.

Monday, December 24, 2012

California Cap & Trade & Environmental Justice

AAEA Supports California's Cap & Trade Program

Most legal challenges to CARB’s cap-and-trade regulations have come from environmental justice organizations that support the act’s mandate to cut emissions but favor a carbon tax or command-and-control style regulation of emissions over a cap-and-trade regime. The consensus within the environmental justice community is that cap and trade favors industry, is subject to gaming, cannot be adequately monitored, and increases the already disproportionate burden on poor communities and communities of color from industrial pollution.

AAEA disagrees with this assessment.  The program can be leveraged if community groups participate in the program.  AAEA is registered in EPA's Acid Rain & the RGGI Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs.  Representatives of vulnerable communities should register in the programs and leverage offsets to assure reductions of pollutants in their communities. Offsets are voluntary greenhouse gas emission reductions made by entities not otherwise required to participate in the cap-and-trade program, such as a farmer who plants trees that he would not have planted otherwise.

The environmental justice community wants to force CARB to consider taking a more draconian approach to reducing emissions.

The larger environmental community, however, is by no means united in opposition to cap and trade.
Several national groups, including the Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council and The Nature Conservancy, support CARB’s cap-and-trade approach.

In June, a state appellate court upheld CARB’s overall blueprint for implementing the Global Warming Solutions Act, known as the 2009 Climate Change Scoping Plan.

The purpose of the scoping plan was to outline strategies for reducing emissions. Among the recommendations in the plan was the development of a cap-and-trade program.

An environmental justice group known as the Association of Irritated Residents (AIR) challenged the scoping plan on grounds including non-compliance with the act.

Most of the arguments AIR raised were technical: CARB did not consider the maximum technologically feasible reductions, as required by the act; CARB failed to apply a cost-effectiveness standard, as required by the act; and CARB failed to include direct regulation of agriculture and industry in the scoping plan. The court, however, found that the California legislature had granted CARB broad discretion in implementing the act. The court further found that CARB’s scoping plan was based on extensive technical expertise and review, as to which the court afforded deference.

Courts most likely will find that CARB was given broad discretion in writing the cap-and-trade regulations and, thus, will defer to the agency. A state court recently had that opportunity because two environmental justice groups brought a legal challenge to the cap-and-trade regulations, heard in November.

The case, brought by Citizens Climate Lobby and Our Children’s Earth Foundation, challenges the offset protocols adopted by CARB as part of the cap-and-trade regulations.

Offsets are voluntary greenhouse gas emission reductions made by entities not otherwise required to participate in the cap-and-trade program, such as a farmer who plants trees that he would not have planted otherwise. Offsets are permitted under the act, but they must result in reductions that are in addition to emission reductions already required by law or that otherwise would occur under normal conditions. This is referred to as the additionality principle. The suit challenges whether the offset protocols adopted by CARB meet the additionality requirement. Offsets are a significant issue because electrical generators and utilities in particular expect offsets to be a key tool in meeting compliance requirements.

Several California investor-owned utilities—Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Gas Co.—have intervened in support of CARB.

The Environmental Defense Fund, an advocate of cap and trade and offsets, also intervened in support of CARB, as have entities who hope to profit in the offsets market.

If CARB is prevented from using offsets, compliance with the emissions cap will become more difficult. A decision either way by the court almost certainly will be appealed, so it might be a long time before this issue is resolved.

The other pending challenge is an administrative proceeding before the Environmental Protection Agency brought by, among others, the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment. People living within six miles of facilities regulated under cap and trade are disproportionately poor and people of color. The plaintiffs contend that if greenhouse gas emissions from these facilities were directly regulated, there would be a reduction in co-pollutant emissions (particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds), which threaten public health. The complaint argues that co-pollutant emissions could increase as a result of the use of offsets and, thus, cap and trade disparately and adversely affects communities of color.

A successful assault on CARB’s cap-and-trade regime simply would send CARB back to the drawing table either to modify the existing regulations or to formulate a new approach. The mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly will not change. (Electric Light & Power, Nov/Dec/2012)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship

A 10 Week Summer Internship Program

The Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship (MLEF), sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy, is a 10-week summer internship program that provides opportunities to students who are pursuing degrees in science, technology (IT), engineering, or mathematics (STEM majors). The goal of the program is to improve opportunities for minority and female students in these fields, but all eligible candidates are encouraged to apply. Candidates who are selected will have the opportunity to work on focused research projects consistent with the mission of the Office of Fossil Energy.

During the 10 weeks, students will work at one of several locations. At the conclusion of the internship, students will attend a "Technical Forum" where they will present their research project and tour several technical sites located nearby (the location of the technical forum changes every year).

Candidates will receive a paid stipend during the program, in addition to approved transportation expenses to and from the internship site and technical forum location. The MLEF program allows students to gain valuable experience in DOE/FE mission-related research programs, and offers an "inside view" of federal employment which encourages students to consider future opportunities within the Department of Energy.

Eligibility RequirementsTo qualify for the program, students must:
  • Be 18 years of age;
  • Be a citizen of the United States;
  • Be currently enrolled full-time in an accredited college or university (sophomore year or higher); and
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
MLEF: A Paid Internship OpportunityStudents will be paid:
  • A weekly stipend of $600 for undergraduate students;
  • A weekly stipend of $750 for Master's students;
  • A weekly stipend of $850 for Doctoral and Post-Doctoral students;
  • Approved travel costs to and from the host site; and
  • Approved travel costs to the Technical Forum for presentations and awards.

MLEF Class of 2012

2012 Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship Students and Mentors

Preserving the Memory of Mickey Leland

The late Honorable Mickey Leland
On August 8, 2000, then-Energy Secretary Bill Richardson renamed the Office of Fossil Energy's Minority Education Intiative the Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship.

The Secretary stated that the ceremony to honor the late Congressman from Houston - who died on August 7, 1989, in a plane crash - would be a way to "remember a great American who dedicated his life to expanding human potential."

The Secretary also said that he "could find no better way to honor his memory than to endow his name on a program that will elevate the opportunities for future generations of minority students."

Since 2000, the MLEF has provided valuable research opportunities and experience to over 420 students who have graduated from the program. (DOE)

For More Information please contact:

Alan Perry
U.S. Department of Energy
Acting Director, FE-6
1000 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20585
202-586-4484

Monday, December 17, 2012

EPA WEBINAR ON PM NAAQS

State and Local Agencies

State and local agencies are invited to attend an EPA webinar devoted to the 2012 revisions to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for particulate matter. EPA announced these revisions on December 14, 2012. Strengthening the annual health standard for fine particles will better protect public health against this pollutant’s dangerous effects, which include heart attacks, respiratory illnesses, and premature death.

EPA invites state and local agencies to participate on Wednesday, December 19, 2012 from 2:00-3:30 PM EST

After a presentation, EPA technical experts on health science, permitting, and other aspects of the standards will be available to answer questions. Participants will be able to listen and send in questions through the webinar. Instructions on how to submit questions can be found once the webinar begins.

Registration Web Link

Contact Rick Copland for IT questions related to the webinar registration.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Seat Pleasant Mayor Eugene W. Grant Greens City

Mayor Grant 2012.jpg
Eugene Grant
Eugene W. Grant is the Mayor of Seat Pleasant, Maryland. Mayor Grant has improved the infrastructure of the city by repaving streets, upgrading sidewalks, and installing new storm drainage systems.

Mayor Grant has secured a twenty acre site as a Brownfield designation which now provides for a potential of a multimillion dollar development. In addition, Mayor Grant has worked to construct a major fifteen year pending Storm Drain Project.

Recently, Mayor Grant has successfully negotiated the largest green development project in the city’s history with a September 2012, projected groundbreaking. The City Center will comprise of a new City Hall, Senior Housing, a Community Center, a Recreation Center and a Health and Wellness Center. The City Center is a distributed, integrated, renewable, sustainable infrastructure and power generation development that will have a net-zero carbon emissions. This will be the single-largest green project of its kind in the State of Maryland and possibly the nation. Through this project Mayor Grant desires his city to be a cleaner, more efficient and more environmentally sustainable community in the United States.  (City of Seat Pleasant)

Hike4Life

Hike4Life is a hiking organization.  Their primary mission is to engage the African-American community and other minorities in hiking and outdoor sports. The objective, is to dismiss the idea that these activities are designed for non-African-Americans , as many of our own people have expressed. Hike4Life is an inclusive organization but they feel that it is very important for people of color, to re-establish a connection to the outdoors and to nature.

As with all exercise, the health benefits of hiking are various and many. From casual Nature Walking to intense hiking trails with numerous elevations. Hiking is both mental and physical, and has the ability to reduce chronic health risks. One step at a time, you can decrease depression and increase self-esteem.

Hike4Life is dedicated to make the outdoors experience enjoyable and fun and a communal way to improve your well-being while burning calories, improving the cardiovascular system, strengthening muscle and a re-establishing a connection with nature.  

Hiking is a fun and inexpensive way to improve your health! Hiking and other outdoor activities, also offer a spiritually and mentally refreshing experience. Studies show that African-Americans are at the greatest risk of being diagnosed with Type 1 & 2 Diabetes, higher cholesterol, and high blood pressure (Hypertension) than any other race and our numbers are on the rise. (Hike4Life)

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Folorunsho Alakija - Nigerian Oil Billionairess


Folorunsho Alakija
Nigerian oil tycoon Folorunsho Alakija, 61, is reportedly worth at least $3.2 billion.  Alakija is the founder and owner of Famfa Oil, which owns a 60 per cent interest in OML 127, an offshore oil field that produces roughly 200,000 barrels of oil per day and is worth an estimated $6.44 billion.

Also a fashion designer and philanthropist, Alakija is married and has four grown sons, as well as one grandchild. She owns at least $100 million in real estate and a $46 million private jet.

Born into a wealthy Nigerian family, Alakija started out as a secretary in the mid 1970s at the now defunct International Merchant Bank of Nigeria.  Several years later, she quit her job and moved to London, where she studied fashion design. She later returned to Nigeria and launched her fashion line, Supreme Stitches, which caters to upscale, high-society women.

While she was building her name as a fashion designer, Alakija in 1993 applied for an Oil Prospecting License -- an expensive permit that allows for oil exploration in a specified area.  The Nigerian government granted her request and allocated a 617,000-acre block of land to Alakija for oil exploration -- but she knew nothing about finding and extracting oil.

So in September of 1996, she appointed Star Deep Water Petroleum Limited -- a subsidiary of Texaco -- to act as a technical adviser for her business. In 2000, Star Deep Petroleum determined that Alakija's land contained an excess of one billion barrels of oil.

Alakija's sons now run Famfa Oil and her husband, Modupe Alakija, is the chairman of the company.

She recently purchased a $102 million property at One Hyde Park in London, as well as a Bombardier Global Express 6000 jet, which she bought earlier this year for $46 million.

Her charity, Rose of Sharon Foundation, gives out small grants to widows and orphans. (Business Day, 12/5/2012)

Admiration For Susan Rice's Energy Company Investments

We admire U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's energy investments because blacks own virtally no energy infrastructure and resources in the United States.  At least through her investments, Rice serves as a good role model for others who might want a stake in America's energy future.

Although these are very modest investments in the multi-trillion dollar energy sector, it still provides an excellent example for other African Americans in gaining an ownership stake in energy companies. 

Rice's personal net worth—estimated in 2009 to be between $23.5 million and $43.5 million—is invested in Canadian oil producers, pipeline operators, and other energy companies. Financial disclosure reports further show that Rice has between $300,000 and $600,000 invested in TransCanada, the company that is seeking the permit from the State Department to build the Keystone XL Pipeline (shortcut) from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to Port Arthur and Houston, Texas.

For 2009, Open Secrets listed Rice's energy assets:

AES Corp ($15-$50,000)
BP ($50-$100,000)
Canadian Natural Resources ($15,000-$50,000)
Cenovus Energy ($1,251,000-$1,515,000)
Devon Energy  ($15-$50,000)
Emerson Electric ($16,000-$65,000)
GE ($2,000-$30,000)
Hong Kong Electric ($15-$50,000)
Imperial Oil ($600,000-$1,250,000)
Murphy Oil ($65,000-$150,000
Royal Dutch Shell ($15-$50,000)
Suncor Energy ($50,000-$100,000)
Sunpower Corp ($1,000-$15,000)
TransCanada Corp ($300,000-$600,000)

Traditional environmentalists will oppose her nomination to be Secretary of State (if she is nominated) because of her fossil energy investments, particularly TransCanada Corporation.  AAEA, through its parent the Center for Environment, Commerce & Energy, is seeking an ownership stake in the pipeline and is working with its partner, S.L. Siebert Management and Construction, Inc to get pipeline construction contracts for portions of the Texas line.

We would like to see more aggressive black participation in the energy sector.  Obtaining leases on public lands is an excellent point of entry.  However, the significant front-end capital requirements to development these resources are challenging.  The Congressional Black Caucus and President Obama should examine the feasibility of facilitating such participation in developing energy resources on public lands (including offshore) (Center For Responsible Politics)

Monday, December 03, 2012

Ebony Power 100 2012 Gala

PRESIDENT'S CORNER

By Norris McDonald

The Ebony Power 100 Gala at Lincoln Center was the most impressive event I have ever attended.  And it was my first red carpet.  Although Ebony has issued its Power 100 list before, this was the first time they held a gala for the honorees.  I had a ball.

Norris McDonald and Ebony Chairwoman Linda Johnson Rice on the red carpet
I arrived early at Lincoln Center and met Crystal Montgomery, Executive Assistant to the Editor-In-Chief.  A couple of weeks before the event, Crystal sent an email requesting a picture of me and I just happened to be in Oceanside, California visiting friends during a break between Compton-To-Catalina Program trips.  I wanted to do a studio shot but Crystal was on deadline so Almena Mozon (Godmother to my son, Sandy) took some great shots with her camera.  One of those shots was used in the magazine.  Anyway, Crystal was very busy with preprogram logictics.

When I went up the elevator to the venue, I signed in and proceeded to walk the red carpet.  The photographers were snapping pictures and the official Ebony photographer called me over to say my name into his camera.  Later on the red carpet, I was photographed with Congressman John Lewis, Johnson Pubishing Chairman, Linda Johnson Rice, Chief Executve Officer Desiree Rogers, and Editor-In-Chief Amy Dubois Barnett.

Norris McDonald and Congressman John Lewis on red carpet
The reception was elegant and there was a nice view of Columbus Circle and W. 59th Street.  Many of the Ebony Power 100 (List) attended the event and I met a number of them.  It was interesting to meet George Lucas of "Star Wars" fame.  He was there with his girlfriend Melody Hobson.  Former Chairman and CEO of Time Warner Richard Parsons was holding court near a column in the middle of the reception area.  Tom Joyner was working the room.  I wished Trayvon Martin's parents good luck with the upcoming 2013 trial of George Zimmerman.

They ushered us into the dinner and it was a magnificent show.   The gala dinner featured special performances by Grammy-winning hip-hop band The Roots, classical violinist Brendon Elliott, the Abyssinian Baptist Church Choir, the Black Monks of Mississippi and selected cast from the Broadway musical Fela! Sheri Sheppard and A.C. Calloway were co-master of ceremonies.  Sheri Sheppard was in rare form.  And A.C. Calloway called George Lucas an 'honorary black man.'

I grabbed a few copies of the magazine off of chairs as I was leaving the dinner.  This was the weekend of Hurricane Sandy and although the subway was free, it was taking so long that someone suggested that it might be faster for me to walk back to my hotel, which I did.  It was one of the best evenings of my life.  Thank you Ebony.

Mount Vernon Inquirer

Washington Informer

Friday, November 30, 2012

Agenda For Black America

BLACK LEADERS GATHER IN WASHINGTON TO DEVELOP AGENDA FOR BLACK AMERICA


Note: AAEA: "What A Good Energy Policy Means To Blacks"


On Monday, December 3rd, the leaders of America’s top African-American advocacy organizations and other influential individuals will meet in Washington, D.C., to collaborate on national priorities for the coming Presidential term.

This gathering is being convened by Marc H. Morial, President  & CEO, National Urban League, Rev. Al Sharpton, National Action Network, Ben Jealous, NAACP, and Melanie Campbell, National Coalition for Black Civic Participation. At least 50 leaders will be in attendance.

A special press briefing will be held immediately afterward to discuss the outcomes of the meeting at 1:30 p.m. in the Congressional Room of the Capital Hilton, 1001 16th Street, NW, Washington, D.C.

WHO:              Marc H. Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League
                        Rev. Al Sharpton, National Action Network
                        Ben Jealous, NAACP
                        Melanie Campbell, National Coalition for Black Civic Participation
                        Leaders of national African-American organizations

WHAT:            Agenda for Black America

WHERE:         Capital Hilton, Congressional Room
                        1001 16th St., NW, Washington, DC

WHEN:            1:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3rd

Please RSVP to tcandori@nul.org  or pruckersprings@nul.org

The Root 100 2012



Danielle Moodie-Mills

Danielle Moodie-Mills is the Senior Manager of Environmental Education Campaigns at the National Wildlife Federation (NWF).  Danielle joined the NWF team in 2010.

In her Storytelling Video Diary Series, Danielle shares why she left the classroom and being a teacher to fighting for policy changes that will impact kids around the country.

 

Danielle Moodie-Mills was named to The Root 100 for 2012, a list of the top African American influencers ages 25-45. The Root is an online source of news and commentary from an African-American perspective, and is owned by the Washington Post.

Previously she served as Director of Federal Government Relations at the NYC Department of Education, was a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation fellow in the Office of Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, performed community outreach for the National Organization for Women and is a graduate of George Mason University. (Linkedin)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Crystal Good - Affrilachian Poet

Crystal Good is a writer poet. Quantum Christian. Tunk player. Libra charmer. Underdog cheerleader.



 
 

Affrilachian Poet and native West Virginian Crystal Good reads "BOOM BOOM," a poem reflecting on strip mined mountains and women who take off their clothes for money. Good says, "I see the mountain as a woman. This poem is about strip mining as much as it is about gender. A heavy equipment operator working on an above ground mine site is doing what he feels he has to do -- sometimes life doesn't give us many options and sometimes the consequences of few employment options are more than we expected. It's hard for a stripper to reclaim her reputation -- it's impossible to put back a stream or a mountain top once it's gone." 




As a member of the Affrilachian (African-American- Appalachian) Poets, she has been a featured poet/speaker at several universities and colleges. “Valley Girl” is her first book of poetry. The poems explore themes in quantum physics, Appalachian culture, gender equality, and mountaintop removal. She is dedicated to growing opportunities and the quality of life for West Virginians with the hope of spreading the perseverance of a Mountaineer across America. Crystal Good lives in West Virginia with her three sons.

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To order a copy of Valley Girl, contact Good at crystaldawngood@gmail.com .

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

13-Year Old Sierra Leone Genius Builds Generator

Kelvin Doe builds many other things too.



(Grist)

U.N. Climate Talks Stumble Between Rich & Poor Countries

Doha, Qatar
The 18th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 8th session of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol is taking place from Monday, November 26 to Friday, December 7, 2012 at the Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha, Qatar. The United Nations chose the Qatari capital of Boha as the location for this year's round of climate change talks.  Qatar is the world’s biggest per capita emitter of greenhouse gases.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will be taking part in the Doha Climate Change Conference (COP 18 / CMP 8) with a wide-ranging programme of events as it prepares to launch the first part of its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) in September next year. The Chairman of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri, addressed the gathering.

A $100-billion-a-year promise from rich nations — including Canada — to help poor countries deal with climate change is still unfunded as of the end of 2012, a new report shows.  And a second fund, meant to jump start the promise, will run dry by Dec. 31.  Canada has given $400 million a year for the last three years to the latter climate fund to provide a down payment for poor countries to begin the work of cutting emissions and adapting to the inevitable effects of global warming. But that fund drew only three years’ worth of financial commitments from donor countries, for a total of $30 billion that will be drained by year’s end. 
 
The larger promise made by rich countries in Copenhagen in 2009 to raise $100 billion a year by 2020 is not going to happen.  The $100 billion figure must not be an empty promise nor the Green Climate Fund an empty bank account.

The two-decade-old U.N. talks have not fulfilled their main purpose: reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say are warming the planet. The goal is to keep the global temperature rise under 2 degrees C (3.6 F), compared to pre-industrial times. Efforts taken so far to rein in emissions, reduce deforestation and promote clean technology are not getting the job done. A recent projection by the World Bank showed temperatures are expected to increase by up to 4 degrees C (7.2 F) by 2100.
This year marks the end of the first commitment period of the 1997 Kyoto protocol. But it was never ratified by the US, contains no obligations for developing countries and has been abandoned by others. Kyoto will limp on, as the EU and some developing countries want it, but without an effective new treaty there will be no global resolve to tackle emissions.  The United States rejected Kyoto because it didn’t impose any binding commitments on major developing countries such as India and China, which is now the world’s No. 1 carbon emitter.  (The Miami Herald, 11/26/2012, Metro News, 11/25/2012, The Guardian, 11/25/2012)

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/11/25/3112736/un-to-launch-new-round-of-talks.html#storylink=cpy

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Collapse of Black Wealth

How One County Came to Symbolize the Collapse of Black Wealth in America

Prince Georges County, Maryland was once a of beacon of hope for black America, but that all changed with the housing crisis. After the crisis, the county came to signify the bursting of the housing bubble, taking black wealth right along with it. detailing the collapse for Prospect.org, (in her article listed below ) paints the picture of black wealth that existed within Prince Georges County before the recession and accompanying housing collapse:


Across the country, in the final decades of the 20th century, minorities were moving into suburbs in unprecedented numbers. But Prince George’s County was distinct: It was one of the few places—like Southfield, Michigan, outside of Detroit; Warrensville Heights, Ohio, outside of Cleveland; and DeKalb County, Georgia, outside of Atlanta—that grew wealthier as it became blacker. Median income in Prince George’s outpaced the national median from the 1970 census forward.
But while black people were living the good life in Prince Georges County, with a median income of over $70,000, many didn’t realize that all they had was money, not wealth. Wealth isn’t present in many places in black communities, meaning blacks can’t dig deep when a financial crisis befalls them. Unfortunately, many of the folks of Prince George’s County were forced to learn that the hard way:
Even families who aren’t losing their homes have seen values drop, making it more difficult to get loans to finance their children’s education or their retirement. 
If there’s anything to be gained from this economic downturn, maybe it’s the realization among black people that they are not rooted in wealth the same way as many whites and Asians are, and that since we don’t have the resources that they have, we can’t behave as they do – not yet anyway.
Maybe this downturn will create in African-Americans the desire to create real wealth, not just the faux wealth that exists in home equity and second mortgages.

By Monica Potts
The Collapse of Black Wealth

No Carbon Tax

PRESIDENT'S CORNER

By Norris McDonald

I oppose a carbon tax because it would be regressive (hurt the poor and middle class).  I believe a carbon tax would have a negative effect on the black community, which is already reeling from 16% unemployment. 

Proponents are promoting a rebate from the government to those negatively affected by the tax.  I don't trust such a rebate system and I don't want the government bureacracy needed to implement such a cumbersome system.  (See the CBO report below though if you want more info).

I prefer the now politically unpopular Cap & Trade system where a cap is placed on emissions and the marketplace controls how emissions limits are met.  I also do not believe such a program will necessarily significantly raise electricity prices because efficiencies and alternative production facilities can serve to mitigate such increases.

If carbon dioxide allowances are auctioned (I prefer free allocation), revenue is supposed to be invested back into effient technologies.  Fracking and horizontal drilling have made natural gas plentiful and I think small gas-fired backup generators can now be used to provide a significant amount of baseload electricity.  Selective Catalytic Reducers can be utilized to reduce the nitrogen oxide (smog component) emissions.

Revenue from the cap and trade program could be used to finance generator installations for virtually all buildings. This is what I consider to be the 'smart grid' because the grid will have to be upgraded to handle inputs from tens of thousands of small generators.  Such generators could be remotely controlled by the utilities, providing the certainty utilities like in providing reliable electricity service.  Such a system would also signicantly reduce blackouts and storm outages because the generation sources are distributed.

Cogressional Budget Office: "Offsetting a Carbon Tax’s Costs on Low-Income Households"

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Water Cap & Trade Can Lead To Environmental Injustice

Fred Tutman
"Pollution Trading and Zip Code Environmentalism"
 
By Fred Tutman
 
In a society where the environment that surrounds you is treated like a commodity, we can usually count on most people buying the very best environment for themselves and their families that our incomes and means will afford. That is why in America, your zip code says a lot about your income, your prospects, your life expectancy and your environmental health. So while black and brown people in America see our wealth fast disappearing in a bonfire of foreclosures, poverty zones and long unrequited promises of social equity—it ought to come as no surprise that the non-diverse environmental community is busily creating the latest in a long series of programmatic efforts to ensure that the places where they like to live, recreate, and invest will always get restored, mitigated and protected.
 
Pollution trading is the latest scheme to ensure that existing Federal laws to protect clean and water bypass black and brown communities, even while these so called market tools for the environment would only serve to widen the chasm between the haves and have nots in America.
 
Groups that include the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the World Resources Institute and others are busily working to authenticate cap and trade initiatives for the Chesapeake Bay region that would allow the worst polluters (statistically located in poor or communities of color) to increase their regulated emissions and discharges to the environment while paying those who presently live elsewhere in relatively nice areas for the privilege to pollute. Also, brokering fees for these transactions will be paid to middle-men known as “aggregators”. Skeptical, check out the Bay Bank: a self proclaimed marketplace where your environment is for sale. Fish habitat? No problem. Wetlands, sure we”ll put it in a box for you.
 
Some Bay conservationists are just as eager to sell the ecology in a fire sale as they are in conserving it.
 
For example predominantly black Prince George’s County might be slated to have the massive coal burning power plant known as the Chalk Point Generating station to increase its discharges of waste into the waters near the black residential town of Eagle Harbor (in Southern Prince George’s). The plant proposes to get state permit to do this in exchange for buying pollution credits form a farmer who happens to live in a predominantly white populated County located several miles downriver. It’s a great deal for the wealthy plant operators, a good deal for the farmers too, who get more cash and no more pollution than before. The black residents of the town? They get added pollution. Trading boosters have no problem with this lopsided transaction. It’s good for the net impacts on the Chesapeake Bay they say.
   
The proponents also argue that this approach to regulating pollution will produce incentives for polluters to clean up their act by giving them additional time and flexibility to comply with the laws while creating fresh sources of investment capital to be used to incentivize compliance with the environmental laws. What they do not say—indeed what they have not even considered is that environmental organization can also get money from these transactions by serving as aggregators or as contractors to conduct restoration projects funded by the trading money. In fact Wall Street brokerage firms are excited about the prospects of selling derivatives and other investment instruments based on pollution trades! Eureka! Pay to pollute. Now there’s a great proposition. Let’s face it. When you monetize the environment then only those with lots of money will have a good environment.
 
But treating your neighborhood like a “marketplace” virtually assures that only good marketplaces will have their environmental health problems addressed. Those with something worth trading will get fresh investment in their communities in derived from “credits”. But those with existing pollution will of course get only “trades” and deferred promises.
 
How could an implausible Ponzi scheme like this one even get on the table? Because the sad truth is the environmental community which panders to the rich and privileged doesn’t think the environment of the region’s black and brown citizens is worth saving. They will quickly inform you that scarce investment dollars go much further in those areas where they like hang out. The "environment" invariably happens to be exactly where they are-- not where we are. 
 
Pollution trading is an amazing give-away to the worst polluters in our midst. It perpetuates the idea that you can eliminate pollution while maintaining the same old polluting economy and business practices. It furthers the myth that you can trade something that doesn’t even belong to you. It breaks the faith with those of us awaiting environmental fairness and justice, by instead trading, mitigating and offsetting what remains of our environmental quality into folding money that goes elsewhere and helps build and restore other communities.
 
It is a horrendous miscall and a bad left turn by a conservation community that ought to be embarrassed after 40 some years of vigorous effort to Save the Bay , and even more vigorous funding toward that end, yet it has produced a Chesapeake Bay estuary no better off than when the Bay program was started. So instead of cleaning it up, we will now convert it to cash instead? Right. Public investment continues to go to the more pristine areas of the Bay, to private beaches, country clubs and marinas. Nowhere near the documented hubs of the State’s worst toxic releases, no place near the blight and redevelopment needs of those urban landscapes that also drain to the “bay”; and decidedly nowhere close to where black and brown people disproportionately live work and play.
 
Pollution trading is the latest in a series of deferrals of the Federal Clean Ware Act. If market solutions rely on voluntary incentives then assuredly there is no great incentive than corporate profits. Allowing polluters to the option of reducing their pollution or trading instead, is a no brainer for them. It dooms those of us who are underrepresented in the halls of funded environmentalism to the ongoing legacy and stigma of dirty water and funky air. It is color blind environmental racism at its most brutal and unfair expression.
 
To be clear, I personally oppose pollution trading for legal, equitable and moral reasons, and therefore I will oppose it in any forum where I can do so. The solution to the Bay cleanup is to vigorously enforce the laws—not trade our problems onto less fortunate neighborhoods. But if trading arrives nonetheless, then we the poor, the black, the brown, the economically and environmentally disenfranchised of the areas most underserved neighborhoods, must grab a seat at the table to assure that if trading occurs then it does so fairly and without bias. That if there are “credits” to be had at our expense then we should at minimum get our fair share of them. That if there is a gold mine to be had, that communities of color don’t get only the shaft. And if there is “new money” to being produced for the environment that we must ensure that it does not go the same route as that “old money” that we barely got our fair share of.
 
Frederick Tutman
Riverkeeper, CEO
Patuxent Riverkeeper

Monday, November 19, 2012

NAACP: Coal Blooded: Putting Profits Before People

Coal Blooded: Putting Profits Before People is a new report analyzing sulfur dioxide (SO2) and Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions in conjunction with demographic factors –race, income, and population density – to rank the environmental justice performance of the nation’s 378 coal fired power plants.
The report is a joint production of NAACP, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO), theIndigenous Environmental Network and lead author and researcher Adrian Wilson, and will serve as a launching point for NAACP’s campaign to address the issue of the pollution from coal fired power plants and disparate impacts on communities of color.  (NAACP)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Energy Policy Summit

2013 American Association of Blacks in Energy Policy Summit

January 31 – February 1, 2013

The Heritage Center of the United States Navy Memorial
701 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20004-2608

The Energy Summit convenes key stakeholders to raise the voices of people of color on energy policy issues. The Summit provides valuable dialogue with a focus on economic opportunities and the impact on underserved populations. The outcome will lead to a set of principles, which will be presented to key policy officials in Congress, relevant government agencies the Administration and critical interest groups.

American Association of Blacks in Energy
American Association of Retired Persons
African American Environmentalists Association
Black Leadership Forum Congressional Black Caucus Institute CBCI 21st Century Council
Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute Congress of Racial Equity
Council of Urban Professionals Executive Leadership Council Greenlining Institute
Hispanic Elected Local Officials
Hispanics in Energy
Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
League of United Latin American Citizens
National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education National Association for the Advancement of Colored People National Association of Black Journalists
National Association of Black County Officials
National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials
National Bar Association
National Black Caucus of State Legislators National Black Chamber of Commerce National Black Farmers Association National Conference of Black Mayors National Council of La Raza
National Council of Negro Women
National Minority Supplier Development Council
National Society of Black Engineers
National Urban League
New Coalition for Economic & Social Change
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
The Latino Coalition
United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

For More Information, please contact:

Walter Mcleod Summit Secretariat mcleodwl@ecocapitol.com 202-600-9733
Arnetta McRae President & CEO, AABE amcrae@aabe.org 202-371-9530
David Owens Executive Vice President, EEI dowens@eei.org 202-508-5527