Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Fred Krupp : Innovative Environmentalist & Clean Air Guru

Fred Krupp is too reasonable to be a traditional environmentalist. That is why he isn't. He is an innovator. From the Acid Rain Program to this year's TXU Mega-deal, Krupp is on the scene. As the president of Environmental Defense, he has cut an interesting path within the environmental movement (outside of it too). They were the Environmental Defense Fund but changed the name about a decade or so ago. Of course, he is backed by an incredible staff of practical environmentalists.

Environmental Defense helped create the cap and trade system that is so popular everywhere today. Cap and trade is behind the universally agreed upon success of the Clean Air Act Acid Rain Program. Krupp and crew did not support the Clear Skies Initiative even though it was based on the Acid Rain Program. Environmental Defense did complete AAEA's Diversity Survey (one of only 4 other groups to do so). Krupp even attended our diversity meeting along with the heads of 12 other environmental groups in 2002. Environmental Defense received a good rating according to the criteria in the survey. So if you are a minority and want to work for an environmental group, you will find a good home at Environmental Defense. Yep. Krupp is a clean air guru and environmental innovator.

Global Warming Bills Should Address Environmental Justice

Global warming legislation should address environmental justice concerns related to the perception that emission trading programs cause disproportionate pollution from older, dirtier plants to negatively impact low-income and minority communities. Although carbon dioxide poses a global threat, old plants might still remain open in minority communities.

AAEA is recommending an Environmental Justice Allowance Reserve (EJAR) to address the racial 'Hot Spots' issue. These allowances would come from a special reserve, similar to the current Acid Rain Program Renewable Energy and Conservation Reserve, when the initial allowance allocation is made. They would be awarded to utilities that undertake environmental justice practices and programs designed to promote carbon dioxide offsets. Utilities could choose to work with organizations and businesses that conduct environmental justice activities that reduce related emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury. The EJAR should receive an allocation of 50 million allowances.

The EJAR program will leverage allowances and resources to promote environmental justice practices and projects designed to:

1) Increase the installation of pollution control equipment and carbon dioxide offsets,
2) Promote community education and
3) Enhance health-related activities.

Allowances are fully marketable commodities. Once allocated, allowances may be bought, sold, traded, or banked for use in future years. Contact us at:

Bush Beats Gore Again : This Time on Home Environment

Former Vice President Gore has an energy guzzling home and President Bush has an energy friendly home. It is being reported that Gore has a 20-room home and pool house that used 221,000 kilowatt-hours in 2006, more than 20 times the national average of 10,656 kilowatt-hours. The Gore 2006 energy bill: $30,000 - enough for the average person to live on. Just like the Hollywood stars advertising their Prius but not their other 10 cars and 5 homes, the former VP is living large. We are sure he will do something about it, just as he did with the leaking underground storage tanks at the Naval Observatory when he lived there.

By contrast President Bush's 4,000 square foot home in Crawford, Texas is eco-friendly and uses geothermal heat pumps located in a central closet circulate water through pipes buried 300 feet deep in the ground where the temperature is a constant 67 degrees. The water heats the house in the winter and cools it in the summer. It uses about 25% of the electricity that traditional heating and cooling systems utilize. A 25,000-gallon underground cistern collects rainwater gathered from roof runs; wastewater from sinks, toilets and showers goes into underground purifying tanks and is also funneled into the cistern. The water from the cistern is used to irrigate the landscaping surrounding the four-bedroom home. (Source: Chicago Times)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Five Western Governors Agree to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

Arizona, New Mexico, Washington, and Oregon have joined with California in an agreement to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. They will establish reduction targets in six months and design a regional cap and trade system within a year after that. They will have to get approval from thier respective legislatures. California has already passed legislation. Northesastern states have already established a Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

These states need to support the aggressive construction of nuclear power plants if they are serious about their carbon dioxide reduction programs. We suspect they are not serious, particularly Nevada -- note their absence from this group. Nevada is probably afraid they would have to endorse Yucca Mountain as the repository (and recycling center if AAEA had its way) for nuclear waste. In 2003, California, Oregon and Washington created the West Coast Global Warming Initiative, and in 2006, Arizona and New Mexico launched the Southwest Climate Change Initiative. So maybe we are wrong about Nevada. (New Mexico Business Weekly)
The agreement is called the Western Regional Climate Action Initiative. The governors include: Janet Napolitano (AZ- Upper Right), Bill Richardson (NM), Chris Gregoire (WA), Ted Kulongoski (OR) and of course Arnold Schwarzenegger (CA). (Wash Post)

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Black Entrepreneurs Should Emulate Joe Kennedy

Joe Kennedy cut a $100 million advertising and oil deal with evolving dictator of Venezuela Hugo Chavez. You've seen the television commercials. Poor people getting served by Kennedy's Citizen's Energy, based in Boston, Massachusetts. AAEA's president visited the operation 25 years ago. Kennedy is providing a great service to people having trouble heating their homes. Hugo Chavez is also having fun advertising his company all over the USA. If Kennedy is planning on running for office soon, these are great commercials to get his name back out in front of the public.

Harry Belafonte, Danny Glover and Cornel West visited with Hugo Chavez and instead of cutting a Kennedy-type of deal to advance African American ownership of energy infrastructure and product, they denounced President Bush. If AAEA had the opportunity to meet with Chavez we would try to negotiate some sort of equity deal. The Black consumer market for energy products in America is huge; we just do now own any of its tools. So next time a "prominent' Black gets in front of Chavez, please try to at least broker a tanker deal, drilling deal or refinery deal. Something. Anything besides just screaming insults at Bush. (Wash Post)

UPDATE: Props to Danny Glover who DID cut a $30 million deal with Chavez to finance his movie about Toussaint L'ouverture.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Dingell & Solis Seek Underground Leak & Money Fix

A General Acounting Office (GAO) report requested jointly by Reps. Hilda Solis, right, and John Dingell, left, shows the public cost of cleaning up leaking underground storage tanks is $12 billion and that these leaks are negatively impacting public health and our water supplies. In its response to the GAO state survey, California noted that there are approximately 14,800 leaks in its "cleanup backlog," 80 percent of which have affected groundwater at levels requiring cleanup. 9,000 of these leaks (approximately 60 percent) contain MTBE at levels that require cleanup.

The Trust Fund had a surplus of $2.57 billion in 2006 that is expected to grow to $3.0 billion at the end of Fiscal Year 2008. The tax on gasoline brought in $197 million in 2006 and an additional $99 million was collected in interest on the amounts in the Trust Fund. President Bush only requested $72.4 million in his FY 2008 budget for cleanup, which is approximately 2.82 percent of the total amount in the Trust Fund. A Press Release by Reps. Dingell and Solis provides more information.

Congresswoman Hilda Solis
(D-CA) has also introduced an environmental justice bill to codify Executive Order 12898 and to require the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to fully implement the recommendations of the Inspector General of the Agency.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

AAEA Offers 'Authentic Black' Certificates

A debate has erupted about whether Barack Obama is black enough. What does it mean to be Black (better capitalize it)? This issue has been debated in the past regarding O.J. Simpson, Tiger Woods and Michael Jackson, among others. AAEA took this issue to our laboratory and our researchers developed a 'Certification of Black Authencity' so that poeple will have an objective measure.

Please answer the questions below with a 'yes' or a 'no' to describe yourself. If you qualify, we will send you a certificate upon your request. You will have to provide your own frame.

1. Articulate

2. Educated

3. Aspire to be middle-class or higher

4. Dress well

5. Pious

6. Polite

7. Neat

8. Organized

9. Generous

10. Kind

If you answered 'yes' to at least 7 of the questions, then you are an Authentic Black. To order your certificate click HERE. Leave you address and the certificate will be mailed to you.

Prince George's County Black Chamber Awards Program

The Prince George’s Black Chamber will celebrate its 6th Anniversary and its 6th Annual Gala & Awards Program on March 17th, at Camelot of Upper Marlboro. The Prince George’s Black Chamber has been both a constant in helping to service the needs of small, local, minority and women owned businesses, as well as a catalyst in the ongoing effort to promote greater access to opportunities in the Washington Metropolitan region. In a very short time we have established a history of commitment to the growth and stability of the small, local and minority-owned businesses in our region.

Former AAEA Board Chairman Addresses Black Violence

AAEA's founding Board Chairman Charles Stephenson was quoted in The Washington Post:

"Closing a club here or there is just a Band-Aid," says Charles Stephenson, co-author of "The Beat," a book about the District's go-go scene, and a longtime aide to former congressman Ron Dellums. "As long as we keep dealing with this one club at a time, we're going to continue to go to Johnson & Johnson's to buy a lot of Band-Aids. The venue is not the issue; it's the larger problem of violence in the black community."

Stephenson argues that politicians should focus not on isolated incidents outside some club's front door but on developing alternatives to the street corner for teens. He points to New Roc City in New Rochelle, N.Y. -- an entertainment complex with a skating rink, bowling alley, movie complex, go-kart track and games arcade, and a police substation prominently placed at the entrance -- as the kind of development that provides a safe environment for people not old enough to drink.

"Let's do some creative things to show young people that we really love them and want them to learn and to have a good time," Stephenson says. "All they hear is that go-gos are bad and their schools are bad and whatever they're interested in is bad and they are bad. The kids who go to the Black Cat get very different messages. They hear that the 9:30 is a nice place to go to, the schools in Fairfax are excellent, and all those messages are internalized."

Mr. Stephenson was an incorporator of AAEA. AAEA's first office was in Mr. Stephenson's apartment on Capitol Hill. Charles Stephenson initiated and held the annual Malcolm X Day observances in Anacostia Park for two decades. He was a key legislative aide to former Congressman Ronald Dellums (now mayor of Oakland). We could go on about Charles. The bottom line is that is one of the nicest people you could ever meet. We are honored to know him. Charles is pictured above with his daughter Zora and wife Judith.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Maryland Legislature Considers Global Warming Bills

The Global Warming Solutions Act would reduce total greenhouse gas emissions from Maryland cars, homes and power plants to 1990 levels by 2020. The bill was introduced by House majority leader, Delegate Kumar Barve ( D-Montgomery) and Sen. Paul G. Pinsky (D-Prince George's)

The Clean Cars Bill is also being considered by the legislature that requires Maryland to adopt California emission standards, which are stricter than federal standards. Auto manufacturers are required to have new gas-saving technology in cars by model year 2011 and sell a percentage of low emission cars, such as hybrids. The bill is cosponsored by Delegate Elizabeth Bobo (D-Howard(l. (Southern Maryland Online).

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Al Gore Concert Event : Ozone Man Goes Woodstock

He is everywhere. And carbon-neutral. It is the former Vice President Al Gore now promoting seven concerts to promote the global warming issue in seven locations on 7-7-07. Blbical? Preliminary cities include London, Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, South Africa, Kyoto, Japan, Moscow and Washington, DC. Preliminary names for the concert are "Live Earth," and " Save Ourselves."

Gore appeared at the MTV Music Awards in New York, the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles and will probably receive an Oscar at the Academy Awards. He has also been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. The man is clearly competing with Jimmy Carter for a post White House 'activity' award. He is also definitely running for president (without announcing). (Wash Post)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Nuclear Power Blackout in Media Continues for AAEA

Although AAEA and its president were the first environmental organization and environmentalist to publicly support nuclear power in the United States, it is being ignored in the maintream media. We have pointed this out before. It is just a continuation of a sad history in America of ignoring contributions by African Americans. The latest slight is our absence from the Wall Street Journal article about nuclear power. Our work was also not mentioned in previous Washington Post and New York Times articles. We are being rendered invisible. An inaccurate history is being publicized.

Anti-nuclear activists should get a kick out of this. Here we are whining over being overlooked for something they think we are crazy for supporting. The mainstream environmental movement remains antinuclear. AAEA is still the only American-led environmental group supporting nuclear power and Norris McDonald was the first environmentalist to publicly support the technology in this country. We simply are not getting any credit for it in the media. And our friends in the nuclear industry are not stepping forward to correct the record.

Kim Jong Il Promises Anything To Get Heating Oil

North Korea agreed to an accord with South Korea, China, Russia, Japan, and the U,S. to terminate the one nuclear reactor it operates within 60 days in return for 50,000 tons (14 million gallons or 340,000 barrels) of fuel oil as a first step in abandoning all nuclear weapons and research programs. Right. And Al Gore isn’t running for president either. Remember how North Korea ignored the 1994 Accord. The current accord also says North Korea will abandon it plutonium fuel reserves (50 kilograms) and nuclear weapons program (6 bombs). North Korea has agreed to accept the return of nuclear inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor the reactor and other nuclear installations. Korea exploded a nuclear test device in 2006.

Our guess is that Kim Jong Il needs heating oil for his country to make it through the winter. And he will agree to anything right now to get it. He can always renege this summer. North Korea would receive additional "economic, energy and humanitarian assistance up to the equivalent of 1 million tons of heavy fuel oil (286 million gallons or 7 million barrels)." President Bush will have to get Congressional approval for the oil. (Wash Post)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Iran, Energy & War: Oil, Nuclear Power & Nukes

Iran currently produces about 4 million barrels of oil per day and exports 2.5 million barrels per day. The U.S. has 300 million people and uses 20 million barrels of oil every day (more than half of that imported). Iran, a nation of 70 million people, holds 11 percent of global oil reserves, second only to Saudi Arabia. Iran's oil exports produced income of $47 billion in 2006, accounting for half the government’s revenue.

Currently 97 percent of Iran's electricity is produced from so-called fossil fuels (oil and natural gas). We prefer the term hydrocarbon fuels to fossil fuels. About 3 percent comes from hydro. None is currently produced by nuclear power.

When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected president he initiated a more aggressive program to develop nuclear power (and nuclear weapons). Israel and the West want to provent Iran from producing nuclear weapons. The Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) would provide a way for Iran to utilize nuclear power without producing nuclear weapons. Any nuclear weapons production facility constructed in Iran will be destroyed. GNEP provides nuclear technology and fuel and would calm the nerves of the West. Of course, Ahmadinejad sees our position as arrogant, consistently stating publicly that, "The U.S. has no authority to prevent Iran from producing nuclear weapons." He threatens to attack the U.S. if Iran is attacked. Such a standoff is unfortunate for global warming.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Congressman Al Wynn Needs Subcommittee Staff

We stopped by to introduce ourselves to staff members of Congressman Al Wynn's Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials and found that there was no staff. We were told that staff for the full Energy and Commerce Committee would support the subcommittee workload requirements. According to full committee Senior Counsel Dick Frandsen, the Republican model was adopted by the committee at the January organizing meeting.

This is unacceptable. The subcommittee needs adequate staffing to provide the required research, outreach, scheduling and other office activities. We estimate that such an office would need a budget of at least $1 million and a staff of at least 10 people. The subcommittee should be fully staffed in order to conduct the people's business. Environmental issues, particularly hazardous materials, are very important and the full committee staff is not adequate to perform the necessary subcommittee functions. Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell should carve out a budget for this subcommittee. If he does not have the budget, then he should request the budget from Congress.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Fiscal Year 2008 Budget

President Bush has delivered his FY 2008 Budget Request to Congress. Total outlays are $2.9 trillion on projected Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $14.5 trillion.

The EPA budget request is $7.2 billion, DOE $24.3 billion, DOI $10.6 billion & NSF $6.4 billion.

The total FY 2008 Budget Request can be found at OMB.

AAEA Meets with House Majority Whip

African American Environmentalist Association President Norris McDonald met with James Clyburn (D-SC) in his Capitol Building office to discuss energy and environmental issues facing the 110th Congress. Congressman Clyburn is the House Majority Whip and he has an office on the second floor of the Capitol Building in addition to his regular legislative office in the Rayburn House Office Building. McDonald also met with Clyburn's Chief of Staff, Yelberton R. Watkins. The meeting was arranged by John Rosentall, who is the Coordinator for the Environmental Justice in America 2007 Conference scheduled for March 29-31, 2007. AAEA is a cosponsor of the conference.

While on Capitol Hill McDonald and Rosenthall visited the offices of Al Wynn (D-MD), Alcee Hastings (D-FL) and Hilda Solis (D-CA). The conference and pending environmental justice legislation were discussed. All of the bills are available at the Environmental Justice Coalition. One last stop was made to attend the EPA Budget Briefing by U.S. EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson. (More)

Picture: John Rosenthall, Congressman James Clyburn, & Norris McDonald

Saturday, February 03, 2007

AAEA Is As American As Apple Pie

The African American community is as American as apple pie. Although most whites rarely experience the black community, there is one in virtually every city in the United States. It is the American way and it is here to stay. From Prince George's County to the now destroyed Lower Ninth Ward in Louisiana, the black community is part of the fabric of America. It is the pepper in the melting pot. It is the stitch in the quilt. Unique in all the world, it is a power unto itself. What would America be without it?

Some people are taken aback when they see the term African American or black this and that are broached. Whether a longing for a color blind society or a nagging prejudice, some people would rather just ignore blacks and the black community. Too bad because it is a very interesting part of American culture and geography. Even with the insanity of Black-on-Black murder and other dysfunction, it is still a vibrant jewel. No community anywhere in the world has worked harder to make it. And continues to work hard every day. Pass a slice of that apple pie.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Bush Administration Budget Requests: Energy

President Bush's 2008 federal budget includes requests of $9 billion in loan guarantees for alternative energy projects and $2.7 billion to fund research into advanced technologies for the electrical and auto sectors. President Bush will also ask Congress for $405 million to fund the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, which aims to recycle spent nuclear fuel. The $405 million is part of the $2.7 billion advanced technology request.

James Inhofe Dissents on IPCC Global Warming Report

Sen. James Inhofe, (R-Okla.), right, Ranking Member of the Environment & Public Works Committee, today commented on the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Summary for Policymakers.:

"This is a political document, not a scientific report, and it is a shining example of the corruption of science for political gain. The media has failed to report that the IPCC Summary for Policymakers was not approved by scientists but by UN political delegates and bureaucrats," The IPCC is only releasing the Summary for Policymakers today, not the actual scientific report which is not due out until May 2007."

AAEA believes that the 90 miles or so of atmosphere cannot absorb an unlimited amount of emissions without consequence. We must find a way to mitigate emissions or there will be all kinds of changes to our atmosphere and climate. Moreover, American are not going to reduce our standard of living to reduce global warming. We promote increased use of nuclear power and plug-in fuel cell hybrid electric vehicles as technologies that can make a difference.

U.N. Climate Panel Says Humans Heating Earth

Most of the American public no longer needs thousands of scientists from many countries to tell us the climate is changing. All we really have to do is look out the window to see the daffodil shoots sprouting in winter to know there is warming. And Al Gore is everywhere now being the Ozone Man he once avoided. So thank you United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN-IPCC) for telling us what we already know. The Earth is warming up due to human activity. (Report)

According to The Washington Post report from "Reuters", the IPCC has moved from reporting that it is "likely" that human activities are causing global warming to reporting that it is "very likely." WOW. The report also predicts a two foot rise in sea levels. AAEA's big concern is an increase in summer temperatures that will produce longer and more intense smog seasons. If increased nitrogen oxide (component of smog) levels increase from more use of ethanol in our cars, there could be significantly more smog and possibly a super heated smog. Asthma rates could significantly increase and so could asthma suffering and death. Let's get busy.

Politics could get in the way. Many want to blame global warming on President Bush. However, the U.S. Congress has repeatedly refused to pass global warming legislation. Congress also rejected the Kyoto Protocol. Published reports, including The Washington Post, like to say that Bush 'pulled us out' of the Kyoto Protoocol, but the USA was never a signatory to the treaty. The bottom line is that Americans are not willing to reduce the standard of living to reduce global warming. America will not use less energy and renewables plus alternative technologies alone simply cannot provide the energy America needs to thrive. So ADAPTATION is the buzz word. And we can mitigate global warming by building many more nuclear power plants and using plug-in fuel cell hybrid electric vehicles, particularly in China and India, because they do not emit greenhouse or smog-forming gases.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

National Day of Climate Action

Bill McKibben, left, is starting a movement to address the perils posed by climate change. On April 14, a new organization called Step It Up 2007 is inviting organizations to hold rallies and events across the country. So far, over 300 events are planned in 39 states. It can be as humble as a sign, as entertaining as theater, or as bold as a mass demonstration.

This National Day of Climate Action could be an unparalleled event, drawing together people of every creed, color, and background. If we can create events in every town and city in the U.S., nothing could say more to our Congress and President. All of the tools are in place to address climate change and avert a disaster, all except one: the resolve and voice of the American people willing to form a movement. April 14, 2007 is the day.