Tuesday, October 31, 2006

President's Corner ...................................... The Hamptons

By Norris McDonald. AAEA established a New York Office four years ago, but thanks to Danny Newman and Samara Swanston, I have been hanging out with Mother Nature in The Hamptons lately. Danny and Samara have a weekend home in Sag Harbor near East Hampton on the Atlantic Ocean side at the end of Long Island. Only Montauk is farther out. It is a two hour train ride from Penn Station or a three hour ride on the Hampton Jitney. Regardless, it is worth it when you get there. Beautiful ocean views, wetlands, geese, vineyards, old money and new money. I am pictured with Danny & Samara in the upper right photo.

Samara and Danny, fishing upper left, are a great couple, lawyers, musicians and nature lovers. There is a piano at the house and Danny tickles the ivories often. Samara is learning to play bass guitar. She could easily be a great club torch singer. We have been fishing, clamming site seeing, hanging at pubs, and bird watching in their back yard. A recent visit to a local winery (Wolffer Estate Vineyard) for a portfolio tasting left all of us with broad smiles on our faces upon leaving. The Atlantic Ocean was raging during a walk along the beach under high winds. Samara & Danny have provided me with a great treat after my many excursions to New York to work on pressing energy and environmental issues in the city and state.

New U.K. Report Says Climate Change Will Hurt Economy

Sir Nicholas Stern, left, Head of the Government Economics Service and Adviser to the Government on the economics of climate change and development, has presented his report on the Economics of Climate Change. The report examines the latest scientific evidence on climate change and how economic theory can help us analyse the relationship between climate change and the divergent paths for growth and development that will result from ‘business as usual’ approaches and from strong action to reduce emissions.

It explains the technical foundations necessary for the economics that the scientific analysis dictates. It addresses the complex issues involved in the comparison of alternative paths and their implications for individuals in different places and generations. It addresses ethical issues concerning the aggregation of the welfare of individuals across time, place and uncertain outcomes. Finally, it provides a technical explanation of the approach to discounting used throughout the Review and an analysis of the costs of climate-change impacts.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Washington Post Challenges Bush But Ignores Mirror

The Washington Post says President Bush should do something about global warming during his last two years in office. Yet the main newspaper for our nation's capital does not have a global warming program (at least that we are aware of). And aren't they killing trees like crazy to spew their partisan, left-wing coverage? In addition to changes The Post could make to reduce its carbon footprint, we would be happy to provide them with carbon offsets for additional savings. But we will not hold our breath (even though that would minutely reduce carbaon emissions).

President Bush authored and passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the best piece of global warming legislation in history because of the supports for electric vehicles and emission free production of electricity from new nuclear power plants. The Washington Post should look in its own backyard before it looks in Bush's. We agree with The Washington Post though, President Bush should provide even more incentives for plug-in fuel cell hybrid electric vehicles and new nuclear power plants.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Senator George Allen Has Shown His True Colors

The current campaign has exposed a lifelong pattern of racism by the senator from Virginia. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. The average black person meets thousands of George Allens over a lifetime. You do not have to do anything to these guys for them to hate you. It slipped out on camera for the world to see.

The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee can do without his bias. We believe the political environment would be better without him. However, even though Virginia performed the revolutionary act of electing L. Douglas Wilder as governor, the first black in the nation so elected, there are many George Allens out there and he might be reelected. Hopefully, Allen's presidential aspirations are over forever.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

State of Environmental Justice in America Conference

The National Small Town Alliance, the Howard University School of Law, the United States Departments of Energy and Agriculture are teaming with others to review the environmental justice movement and to determine the State of Environmental Justice in America: What do we mean by Environmental Justice in the 21st Century? Have we made progress? What remains to be done? This effort will team with communities, scholars, researchers, government the private sector, and others to issue a comprehensive report and conduct a conference on March 29-31, 2007.

For additional information, please contact Michelle Hudson at hudsonmi@saic.com. For sponsorship opportunities or conference suggestions, please contact John Rosenthall at 703-624-2257 or jrosenthall@msn.com (Call for Papers)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Environmental Justice in America: Call for Papers

Update: The Call for Papers due date for paper abstractshas been extended. Abstracts may now be submitted on or before November 22, 2006. Other dates have been adjusted accordingly. John Rosenthall, Conference Coordinator, ejinamerica2007@yahoo.com

The State of Environmental Justice in America conference planners are inviting individuals to submit a short abstract of no more than 250 words that describes the current state of environmental justice in one of the areas listed below, preferably placing your discussion in the context of changes that have occurred in the selected area in the past 25 years. A suggested list of topic areas include:

v Success stories in assuring justice for communities
v Sustainable community planning and development/smart growth
v Just and sustainable energy policy
v Community participation in environmental decision making
v Building community capacity
v Distribution of community benefits
v Access to public health benefits
v Provision of infrastructure and resources in rural America
v Facility siting and environmental justice
v Environmental education
v Conservation Cooperation
v Innovations in environmental justice legislation, regulation and litigation
v Environmental justice considerations in emergency preparedness and homeland protection

The abstract should include the submitter's name and contact information.
Submissions: Abstracts should be sent to: ejinamerica2007@yahoo.com

Relevant Dates:

Abstract due: November 6, 2006
Notice of Acceptance: November 20, 2006
Initial Paper Draft: January 2, 2007
Comments Due To Authors: January 19, 2007
Final Draft: February 16, 2007
Conference Dates: March 29-31, 2007

Accepted papers will be included in the comprehensive report, presented at the conference, or published in one or more conference publications. For additional information, please contact Michelle Hudson at hudsonmi@saic.com. For sponsorship opportunities or conference suggestions, please contact John Rosenthall at 703-624-2257 or jrosenthall@msn.com

Monday, October 23, 2006

Barack Obama and Environmental Justice

Senator Barack Obama introduced an environmental justice bill that was cosponsored by his presidential contest rival, Senator Hillary Clinton. The bill is a good general bill but it lacks the teeth to truly protect communites suffering from disproportionate pollution impacts.

The Environmental Justice Coalition has drafted a bill that has teeth and a carrot for communities and developers. The Environmetnal Justice Act of 2007 would be a great additon to both senators' legislative records. The GOP did not take the invitation to introduce this important legislation. Maybe a President Clinton and Vice President Obama would promote the bill. Or President Obama and Vice President Clinton. We have approached Senator John McCain about the bill. Maybe a President John McCain and Vice President Condoleezza Rice would promote the bill. Regardless, the legislation is desperately needed.

Barack Obama and Nuclear Power

Update: Iowa Dec 2006: Barack Obama states "I am not a proponent of nuclear power" (See YouTube)

Update: Barack Obama supports nuclear power but opposes Yucca Mountain.

Senator Barack Obama might run for president. What would he do about global warming and smog? He opposed President Bush's Clear Skies Initiative but he voted for the Energy Policy Act of 2005. He has 11 nuclear power plants in his home state of Illinois that provide almost half of the electricity in the state.

He has toured at least one nuclear plant. He is pictured at right visiting the Braidwood Plant owned by Exelon, the largest nuclear utility in the U.S. AAEA is a well known supporter of nuclear power and we hope a President Barack Obama would support nuclear power too. But will the nuclear energy industry support the African American community?

The New York Times Endorses Offshore Oil Drilling

First The New York Times endorses nuclear power. Now it endorses Senator Mary Landrieu's (D-LA) offshore oil drilling bill currently pending in Congress. We are delighted that The NYT does not let its liberal bias get in the way of good energy policy.
The NYT opposes Congressman Richard Pombo's (R-CA) much broader oil drilling bill. The Congressional Black Caucus (29-9) opposed the Pombo bill too . The NYT gets that revenues from the drilling could help in restoring vanishing wetlands and barrier islands, not to mention New Orleans (and maybe the 9th Ward). Well we add the 9th Ward but we are sure The NYT agrees. AAEA supports the Landrieu bill.

Free Solar Systems Motivate Company Installations

Photovoltaic systems are expensive and only work about a third of the time (sunlight). The systems are not purchased mostly for these reasons. Now independent companies are purchasing the systems and installing them on roofs of other companies for the steady income from long term contracts. Companies do not have to invest capital but can use part of their regular power budget to purchase solar power. AAEA President Norris McDonald helped write and pass federal legislation in 1986 for energy efficiency for federal buildings that is similar to this "solar services model."

GM is using such a a set-up on its Cucamonga, Calif parts warehouse, where half of the the electricity (1.5 million kilowatt hours) comes from solar. GM expects a 10 percent savings a year. Whole Foods Market, GE and Alcoa are also using the Solar Services Model.

Developing Energy Efficient Roof Systems (DEERS) uses private financiers to finance projects. SunEdison also installs solar systems using this system. Companies negotiate the carbon abatement credits. Federal and state credits are also available. (NYT)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

AAEA Parent Opens China Office in Jilin Province

Protecting the environment in China helps the environment in America, so the Center for Environment, Commerce & Energy established a base of operation in the city of Lishu. The Director is Zhang Xiaoping. The site easily translates into English at the click of a button (although the translator can be a little quirky with certain phrases). Check it out today:

Legal Immigrants: Lighter Make More Money Than Darker

The Washington Post reports today that researchers found that immigrants with darker complexions earned less money than their lighter-skinned counterparts. Vanderbilt University economist Joni Hersch found that lighter legal immigrants make 8-15 percent more than darker legals. Is this news?

Hersch is quoted as being "stunned" by the results of her study. Vanderbilt University is in Nashville, Tennessee. Hersch must not be American or she has lived a very sheltered life. The Post has a great color scale graphic of lighter hands moving towards darker hands on a 1-10 scale. It is hilarious, but it is not on the web version.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

God Bless Senator James Inhofe: Opposition View

Although we disagree with Senator James Inhofe, left, on global warming, we give him points for chutzpah. Inhofe is Chairman of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee and he recently added Marc Morano to his public relations team. Chairman Inhofe tapped Morano to step up his attack on global climate change orthodoxy. We know Marc at AAEA and he is a formidable promotor. We also agree with the Chairman on the Kyoto Protocol. It cannot and will not work, unless nuclear power and electric vehicles are universally utilized. We also know what it feels like to be alone out on a limb with a certain point of view.

Some of Senator Inhofe's latest volleys have been great. He has a convert in San Francisco Chronicle reporter Deborah J. Saunders, who writes, "GLOBAL WARMING is a religion, not science. That's why acolytes in the media attack global-warming critics, not with scientific arguments, but for their apostasy. Then they laud global-warming believers, not for reducing greenhouse gases, but simply for believing global warming is a coming catastrophe caused by man. The important thing is to have faith in those who warn: The End Is Near. " Again, although we disagree, this is great copy. Saunders continues, "Inhofe recognizes that the Earth is warming, but sees this as part of the natural cycle." Plus, we don't buy environmentalism as a religion.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Fruit of the Orchard: Environmental Justice in East Texas

The book "Fruit of the Orchard: Environmental Justice in East Texas" is a story about injustice in Winona, Texas. Excerpts: In 1982, a toxic waste facility opened in the Piney Woods in Winona, Texas. Soon after the plant opened residents started noticing huge orange clouds rising from the facility and an increase in rates of cancer and birth defects in both humans and animals. The company dismissed their concerns, and confusion about what chemicals it accepted made investigations difficult. Outraged by what she saw, Phyllis Glazer founded Mothers Organized to Stop Environmental Sins (MOSES) and worked tirelessly to publicize the problems in Winona. The plant finally closed in 1998, citing the negative publicity generated by the group.

This book originated in 1994 when Cromer-Campbell was asked by Phyllis Glazer to produce a photograph for a poster about the campaign. In the accompanying essays, Phyllis Glazer describes the history of Winona and the fight against the facility; Roy Flukinger discusses Cromer-Campbell's striking photographic technique; Eugene Hargrove explores issues of environmental justice; and Marvin Legator elaborates on how industry and government discourage victims of chemical exposure from seeking or obtaining relief. Buy This Book.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

AAEA Prez & NY Times Reporter Discuss Toxics on NPR

World: Who Is Behind Ivory Coast Dumping?
Hundreds of tons of toxic sludge were recently dumped on Ivory Coast neighborhoods. Who will be held responsible? New York Times Africa correspondent Lydia Polgreen tells Tony Cox more about the situation.

Environment: Toxic Pollution in Our Backyard
Toxic dumping in poor neighborhoods isn't just an Ivory Coast problem. It's a global problem. Norris McDonald, right, President of the African American Environmentalist Association, tells Tony Cox about low-income communities in the United States that are fighting to keep toxic polluters out of their backyards.

Monday, October 09, 2006

AAEA Wants Governor Ehrlich for a Second Term

Governor Robert L. Ehrlich has been very good on Maryland environmental issues. His "flush tax" will help to clean the Chesapeake Bay. The Intercounty Connector (ICC) will help move traffic in the Washington Metropolitan Area. The Woodrow Wilson Bridge replacement is being finished on his watch. National Harbor is being built. He protected Wal-Mart from socialism. He signed a clean air bill into law. What more could an environmetalist ask for? Just the Purple Line (including Prince George's County) and four more years of this environmental governor.

The Washington Post says, "Mr. Ehrlich deserves credit for the creative Chesapeake Bay Restoration Act of 2004. On air pollution, Maryland is probably better off today than when the governor took office."

European Dumping in Africa: Toxic Waste Trade Kills

A Greek-owned tanker, the Probo Koala, right, flying a Panamanian flag and leased by the London branch of a swiss trading corporation (Trafigura) with headquarters in the Netherlands, traveled from Europe to the Ivory Coast in Africa where they hired a received approval from local authorities to hired a local company, Tommy, that hired a dozen tanker trucks and dumped the following chemicals in 18 sites, including landfills, throughout Abidjan: caustic soda, mercapatans (type of sulfur compound) and the volatile organic compound hydrogen sulfide, which paralyzed the nervous system.

The dumping caused 85,000 people to seek medical treatment and eight people died. People exposed to the chemical toxins complained of nausea, headaches, skin sores and nosebleeds. Trafigura is a $28 billion per year company that was trying to avoid paying $300,000 for what it thought would be a $15,000 disposal job. Various people from Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Europe and from Trafigura have been jailed and additional criminal charges have been filed against Trafigura. Workers in Abidjan, upper left, are cleaning up the mess to the extent they can. (New York Times)

President's Corner: Jim Cummings Recognized for Work

By Norris McDonald. Jim Cummings, Director of Living Resources at the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB) was recently honored by Field & Stream Magazine, receiving their Heroes of Conservation Award at a ceremony in New York. Cummins has also received the American Sportfishing Association's Future of Fishing Award.

Jim is well deserving of these awards. He took me on my first walk of tributaries to the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers when I trained at ICPRB as its first education coordinator. Such specialized training has served me well throughout the years. Thanks Jim. And congratulations on your awards.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Damu Smith Had to Die to Get in The Washington Post

The Washington Post newspaper never covered Damu Smith's great achievements during his life. Damu Smith, left, was never quoted on the pressing environmental issues of the day. The environmental reporters avoid quoting African Americans like the plague. Their racist behavior in this regard is a disservice to the black community and society at large. If Darryl Fears, a black Post reporter, had not covered Smith and his legacy, he would not have been covered in death by the newspaper's environmental reporters. The Washington Post's environmental reporters and the traditional, mainstream environmental movement work overtime to avoid engaging the African American community. They also selfishly and greedily horde their billions to keep from mitigating environmental conditions in the black community.

Thanks to Darryl Fears, at least The Washington Post covered Damu's life and accomplishments after his death. Damu Smith was a great man, environmentalist and peace activist. Damu organized a toxics environmental conference with AAEA in the 1980's. We have tried and will continue to complement Damu's work in the streets with corresponding work in the suites. It just pisses us off that he had to die to get coverage in The Washington Post that he should have received while he was alive. Damn The Washington Post for its neglect of this great environmental activist during his incredible life. The neglect by the environmental reporters in mentioning or quoting him during his life is despicable and represents the worst kind of environmental racism.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Florida Power & Light Sues State of Maryland

FPL Group, parent of Florida Power & Light Company, filed a lawsuit on Oct 4 cliaming the state of Maryland and the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) are delaying its proposed $11 billion merger with Constellation Energy. FPL wants a hearing and a timely approval ruling by the PSC.

The merger was delayed by a bill passed during a special summer session of the state legislature to deal with increased electric rates brought on by deregulation. The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled in September that the legislature's firing of the five members of the PSC was unconstitutional, but the court let a provision stand that the PSC cannot approve the merger. FPL opposes the provision. FPL believes the PSC does have the authority to approve the merger. FPL filed suit to clarify whether the PSC can approve the merger.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Martha the Eagle Mate to George is Euthanized After Injury

Martha & George
Martha the Eagle became famous because of an attack by a hussy, homewrecking strumpet eagle competing for her mate, George. Martha was rescued and rehabilitated by federal and state officials. It is tragic that Martha survived the attack, lost two eaglets because of her absence, was reunited with George at the Potomac River nest and now this terrible accidental injury ends her life. She was euthanized at a bird rehabilitation center in Delaware. We are saddened by this tragic end to this fairy tale. (Wash Post)

Research Says Blacks Never Had It Easy in the U.S.

According to a study by Steven Gabbidon and Steven Peterson from Penn State Harrisburg, blacks have a lower life expectancy than whites, are more likely to be victims of violent crime, and suffer higher rates of diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. Their "Living While Black" index compared quality of life measure against stressors.

The researchers conclude that although public policy might be used more effectively to help blacks, "religious faith among blacks already provides an effective buffer against life's stresses." Amen to that. (Wash Post)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Banking Environment Getting More Black Ownership

Simpson "Skip" Brown, left, and Robert Johnson, right, have more than basketball in common. Mr. Brown was a star player at Wake Forest University and Mr. Johnson owns the Charlotte Hornets basketball team. These two dynamic individuals are putting North Carolina, Washington, DC and Maryland in the forefront of banking, an environment heretofore alien to black folk in terms of control. Mr. Brown started TriStone Community Bank in Winston-Salem, NC in 2004. TriStone Community Bank plans to offer a full range of banking services that will provide, in its own words, "Banking Built Around You."

Robert Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, which he, along with his wife Sheila, sold to Viacom for $3 billion, opened Urban Trust Bank (UTB) in 2006. Urban Trust Bank's corporate headquarters is in Bethesda, Maryland. UTB intends to serve urban, underserved and minorities at a time when industry consolidation has eliminated some black banks. UTB has a branch in Orlando, Florida, where it started as a black-owned neighborhood bank until Johnson purchased it and utilized its charter to open other branches throughout the Washington area. Johnson's RLJ Cos. owns UBT and Georgia multimillionaire Frank J. Hanna, Jr. owns a minority interest. UTB has also joined with Goldman Sachs Group Inc to form UTB Education Finance LLC to make college loans.

Political Environment in Richest Black County in U.S.

Congressman Albert Wynn (D-MD), right, almost lost his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives to a community activist supported by neighboring Montgomery County. Wynn won marjority black Prince George's County, which is the richest black county in the U.S. What does this mean?

It means whites in liberal Montgomery County voted against Mr. Wynn to protest his initial support for the war in Iraq. It also means blacks in Prince George's County continue to support this moderate to conservative member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Congressman Wynn serves on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. So who should rule the 4th Congressional Distirct- - Montgomery County or Prince George's County? When the district was redrawn to protect Congressman Steny Hoyer, maybe it left Congressman Wynn vulnerable. Maybe it is time to change the environment in the congressional district again.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Diversity Environment at My Alma Mater--Wake Forest Univ

By Norris McDonald. I just returned from Homecoming and upon reading the Old Gold & Black campus newspaper, I discovered that Wake Forest University is ranked 22nd on Black Enterprise magazine's "50 Top Colleges for African Americans."

Well it is good to know the environment at this small, private Baptist affiliated university is even more hospitable to blacks. I had a great time there. I would recommend the school to anyone.

Jimmy Garvin Golf Scholarship Fund for Minority Youth

Jimmy Garvin, right, is the General Manager of Langston Golf Course, located near the Anacostia River on Benning Road near RFK Stadium. Jimmy is a legendary golfer and 2006 Inductee into the African American Golf Hall of Fame. Mr. Garvin has started a scholarship fund in partnership with Howard University to help minority youth play the game. Please help if you can. You never know where the next Tiger Woods will come from. To contribute:

Ms. Stacy Lyons, Director, Advancement Services
Howard University
2225 Georgia Avenue, NW, Suite 627
Washington, DC 20059
Write "Jimmy Garvin Scholarship Fund" on the memo line of the check

Although many whites play the course, it is in one of the blackest parts of our nation's capital. Langston golf course opened in 1939 and is owned by the National Park Service. Golf Course Specialists, Inc. manages this facility through a concession lease.