Saturday, January 30, 2010

Organizing Across Organizations, Beliefs and Agendas


Norris McDonald

These are the most exciting times ever in Washington, D.C. I'm glad I stayed. I was going to move to Los Angeles but I figured I had to stay to participate in the exploits of this latest administration. For me the first year included being invited to The White House in record time. Same with meeting with the EPA administrator. I'm impressed.

Last week I participated in an energy forum sponsored by Black Enterprise magazine. This week I attended a press conference and board event by the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) and participated as a panelist at a forum sponsored by the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE). These events and the address given by House Majority Whip James Clyburn at the AABE summit made me think about how we need to organize to get a fair share of resources for the Black community. The notion that this offends many Whites is interesting to me. President Obama cannot even address the needs of the African American community directly without seriously offending most of the White voter base.

Yet Blacks do not own energy infrastructure in the United States. AAEA, AABE, NBCC and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), among others, need to do something about that. Since the CBC has enough votes in the House to help approve or kill energy legislation, they should fashion amendments during all upcoming energy and climate legislation to provide more minority ownership opportunities of traditional and 'green' energy infrastructure, products and services. One concept I am entertaining is 'expensing' tax benefits to companies including minority protege equity partners in future energy projects. Of course, Black Enterprise could publicize this energy renaissance.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Morehouse Energy Entrepreneurship Conference

Morehouse College is holding its 3rd annual Entrepreneurship Conference "Energy, Economy, Innovation and You!" at its campus in Atlanta, Georgia from February 25-26. The conference will bring together 500 change agents from the public and private sector that are engaged in efforts to support minority/small business development and community growth. This year’s theme builds on conversations at the national, state, local and community levels that have identified energy as a transformative agent to renew and revitalize the U.S. economy.

With more than $70 billion allocated in FY09 alone for energy-related research and development, education, workforce training and related activities, it is imperative that individuals and organizations across all sectors and within all communities be provided with a venue to explore energy within a context that provides personal meaning, professional relevancy and broad stakeholder inclusion.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

AABE Energy and Climate Change Summit

Frank Stewart (AABE), Norris McDonald (AAEA), David Owens (EEI)
The American Association Of Blacks In Energy (AABE) and its partners held a landmark "Energy And Climate Change Summit" on Thursday, January 28, 2010 at the Heritage Center of the United States Navy Memorial in Washington, DC. The theme of the summit was "Implications & Economic Opportunities," the goal was to establish a vehicle to provide a credible voice for people of color on the issues of energy and climate change policy. The Summit focused on economic opportunities and impacts to vulnerable populations, and providing a dialogue to establish a set of principles to be presented to key policy officials in Congress, the Obama administration and other government agencies.

The summit, which was very well attended and successful in achieving its goals, was opened by Frank Stewart, President of AABE and David Owens, AABE Chair and Edison Electric Institute Vice President. Majority Whip James Clyburn was the featured speaker at the morning plenary session. Kevin Bryan, Meridian Institute, served as the facilitator of the morning and afternoon sessions. Mr. Stewart and Mr. Owens also served as stakeholder panelists.

Session 1 with the theme "State of the Debate: Energy and Climate Change Policy," featured Chris Miller, Senior Policy Advisor for Energy and Environment for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Session 2 with the theme "Economic Implications of Energy and Climate Change Policy," featured former Congressman Philllip Sharp, President, Resources For The Future (RFF) and Ray Kopp, Senior Fellow & Director Climate and Technology Policy, RFF. Former EPA Administrator Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy & Climate Change delivered the keynote address.

The afternoon Session 3 had the theme "Economic Opportunities from Energy and Climate Policy and featured Barbara Tyran, Director, Washington Relations, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and David Rosner, Senior Policy Analyst, National Commission on Energy Policy. Session 4 was themed " Forging Ahead--Clarifying the Unifying Themes and Identifying Opportunities for Input Into the Political Process and featured Walter McLeod, Summit Secretariat, EcoCapitol, LLC.

Stakeholder panelists included Norris McDonald, President, AAEA, Ms. Marti Doneghy, Senior Legislative Representative, American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), Dr. Charles Steele, former SCLC President and CEO, Niger Innis, National Spokesperson, Congress of Racial Equity (CORE), Gina Wood, Director of Policy, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Donnell Spivey, Vice President, National Association of Real Estate Brokers, Janet Murguia, President & CEO, National Council of La Raza, and Linda Haithcox, President, National Organization of Black County Officials.

The summit was sponsored by AABE, Bonneville Power Administration, American Electric Power, Consumers Energy, American Gas Association, Edison Electric Institute, Blue Diamond Ventures, Inc., General Electric, Nuclear Energy Institute, Peabody Coal, Progress Energy, Southern Company

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

NBCC "Legacy Project" and New Board Chairwoman

Mike Little, Norris McDonald, Harry Alford, Sherrie Gilchrist
President Obama's State of the Union speech is not the only big event in Washington, D.C. today. The National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) had two very important events near The White House today: The first was a press conference at the National Press Club to announce their "Legacy Project," which is an initiative to improve the value of local Black chambers of commerce throughout the United States. The second was a luncheon at the St. Regis Hotel to celebrate their outgoing board chairman Mike Little.

The press conference in the Zenger Room of the National Press Club in Washington, DC was conducted by new NBCC Board of Directors Chairwoman Sherrie Gilchrist and NBCC President/CEO Harry C. Alford. They and other officers of the organization explained the mission and details regarding their new Legacy Project. Sherrie Gilchrist stated:

“The economy is in the tank and our communities are suffering. We must seize the time and use it wisely by providing technical assistance to our affiliates so that they may better serve their communities and improve the economic status, through business growth and jobs. Thus we have devised this comprehensive approach.”
According to Harry Alford:

"There are 140 affiliated chapters of the NBCC. Some are great; some are good and others need much improvement. We can’t have social clubs representing out interests. Each chapter must be trained and prepared to provide assistance in business growth and job creation."
When the National organization was founded in 1993, the US Census Bureau reported 300,000 Black owned businesses doing $33 billion in sales. Today, the Bureau reports over 1 million Black owned businesses doing more than $88 billion in sales. That growth is the fastest growing segment of the US economy and the NBCC believes there is a correlation between the two.

The NBCC will publish training manuals, hold workshops, and will rate local chapters on a 5 star rating system. It should be the goal of each chapter to have a 5 Star rating which would indicate credibility and professionalism in its management. The national organization will have 10 formal regions and will begin implementing the program immediately with committee formation and a specific Strategic Plan.

The luncheon to honor outgoing chairman Mike Little was inspirational. Mr. Little served as chair of the NBCC for the last six years. The current board chairwoman, president and members of the board of directors all praised Little's local, national and international leadership. Mr. Little led trade missions to Nairobi, Kenya, Canary Island, Accra, Ghana and held conventions all over the United States. Bill Kovacs, Environmental Director for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce also praised Mr. Little for his leadership.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


20% - - Liberal

40% - - Conservative

40% - - Moderate

The Anacostia River, The New York Times & AAEA

Time Machine: Let's Go Back In Time With AAEA (The Anacostia River Is Still Polluted)

The New York Times Washington Bureau reporter Felicity Barringer, left, covered some of AAEA's early work on the Anacostia River. The late Damu Smith actually recruited AAEA President Norris McDonald to accompany him in order to show Ms. Barringer some toxic spots along a tributary to the river. The article, "In Capital, No. 2 River Is a Cause," was published on December 1, 1991.

An excerpt:

"They spent about $1 billion to clean up the Potomac," said Norris McDonald, director of the three-year-old African American Environmentalist Association. "Virtually none of that money went to the Anacostia." So Mr. McDonald, who worked for the Friends of the Earth before forming the group to combat the urban pollution that affects large numbers of blacks, has tried to explain the relationship between the muddy river and their lives.

"You have to relate it to things people can understand," Mr. McDonald said. "You have to show them where the storm sewer flows into the river, how the sewer overflows come out there in storms, and how the half can of Ajax or Drano they pour down the drain can end up in the fish they catch and feed their families."

"There are lots of places where we could get teams of people out, get kids out, and clean up the refuse," Mr. McDonald said. "We have to make people understand." Their Government, too. "The powers that be that have worked on pollution have worked on the Potomac but not on the Anacostia," he said. No officials who could be reached, from the District of Columbia government, the Council of Governments or Congress, disagreed with Mr. McDonald's assertion.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Hope For Haiti Now - Donate Now

The Friday night telethon was a huge success, but Haiti will need ongoing help in order to achieve stability and to rebuild. So go to HopeForHaitiNow and give some more if you can. Other Haiti charities are also included at he Hope For Haiti Now site, including: Wyclef Jean's Yele Haiti, Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, UNICEF, American Red Cross,, OXFAM America, and Stand With Haiti. 100% of funds raised will go towards relief efforts in Haiti and there are NO backend costs. Additionally, the Entertainment Industry Foundation has waived all administrative fees.

A massive, 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti near the capital of Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, January 12th. The damage to buildings is extensive and the number of injured or dead is estimated to be over 100,000. Your gift will help rush emergency supplies to survivors of this catastrophe. Your gift now will help distribute life-saving relief supplies including food, clean water, blankets, medical supplies and tents to children and families devastated by the earthquake and aftershocks in Haiti.

EPA & CBC Announce Joint Environmental Justice Tour

First Stop: Jackson, Mississippi

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and U.S. Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, today announced plans to visit American communities most ravaged by environmental degradation and pollution. The joint EPA-CBC Environmental Justice Tour will visit several areas throughout the country to highlight environmental justice challenges faced by Americans in all communities. The tour will also include stops in South Carolina, Maryland, and Georgia among other states.

Mississippi marks the first stop on the tour with visits to Greenville and Jackson on January 22-24. Representative Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), right, will host Administrator Jackson in Greenville where both a roundtable discussion with regional mayors and tour of a local water treatment plant are slated. In Jackson, EPA and the CBC will host an Environmental Justice Conference at Jackson State University with the participation of community leaders, elected officials, students and religious leaders.

Administrator Jackson, left, has made promoting environmental justice and expanding the conversation of environmentalism one of the seven key priorities of her tenure at EPA. Since taking office she has appointed a Senior Advisor for Environmental Justice and a Senior Counsel for External Civil Rights in order to focus the agency’s efforts to address the health and environmental burdens faced by communities disproportionately impacted by pollution. Most recently, and consistent with this commitment, the agency announced that it would asses the impacts of its hazardous waste rule on disadvantaged communities. This action will also be used to inform EPA’s ongoing effort to strengthen the consideration of environmental justice in rulemakings.

The Congressional Black Caucus, under the auspices of its Energy & Environment Taskforce, and the leadership of Barbara Lee, left, is actively engaged on a host of environmental issues including green jobs, climate change, alternative energy options and environmental justice issues. Together with community and business leaders, faith networks and other relevant stakeholders, members of the CBC are continuing to develop a “Green Agenda” that comprehensively builds healthy families and sustainable communities by increasing access to opportunities provided by the federal government.

The environmental justice movement was started by individuals, primarily people of color, who sought to address the inequity of environmental protection in their communities. Grounded in the struggles of the 1960s civil rights movement, the environmental justice movement sounded the alarm about the public health dangers for their families, their communities and themselves. In 1990, the Congressional Black Caucus and a bipartisan coalition of academic, social scientists and political activists met with EPA officials to discuss their findings that environmental risk was higher for minority and low-income populations. In response, the then-EPA administrator created the Environmental Equity Workgroup in July 1990 to address these issues. EPA’s environmental justice office was later established in 1992. AAEA was a participant in the 1990 meetings.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Picarro Claims To Have Revolutionary New Gas Analyzers

Picarro makes gas analyzers that the company claims can track concentrations of all sorts of greenhouse gases and pollutants including methane, hydrogen sulfide, CO2, formaldehyde, ammonia and others. Picarro's units can be mounted on a car and driven around a neighborhood or around the perimeter of a refinery or chemical plant, and according to the company, can capture emissions plume information. The YouTube video below shows what one of the units can do. The video shows a real drive in California performed with a standard pickup truck.

Picarro says their emissions detectors are so easy to use that current users include an innkeeper and a high school teacher. According to Picarro, it is literally plug and play. Their customers are among the biggest names in atmospheric sciences including NOAA, the World Meteorological Organization and the Chinese Meteorological Administration. The EPA and other agencies have test-driven their products.

Note: AAEA is not recommending the product and is not being compensated for this publicity. It does appear to be a very interesting product.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Nigeria Is Looking At Ethanol To Create Alternative Jobs

Green Energy Society of Nigeria (GESON) Director General Mrs. Tokunboh Jakande, left, believes green energy in the form of ethanol could create over 500,000 jobs yearly in Nigeria. Nigeria's She believes Nigeria's Vision 2020 plan can work only if employment is created. Mrs. Jakande believes investing in a sub-sector, such as green energy, can successfully address the unemployment problem. We hear you Mrs. Tokunboh, and we have an office in Nigeria, but we are not sure that this is the best use of limited resources in Nigeria.

GESON is working with Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to write 'off-take' agreements on the use of ethanol products in the country. The agreements involve the timing of a government pronouncement on the use of ethanol in Nigerian cars. Nigeria is looking at 2011 as the year all cars will blend at least 10 per cent ethanol with fossil fuel. Nigeria is also the largest consumer of power generators and two stroke engines that contaminate the environment.

GESON is encouraging the government to develop feedstock that could be used for production of large quantity of biofuels to reduce the level of fossil fuel consumption in the country. GESON wants Nigeria to stop importing ethanol since the country can produce it locally to reduce the rate of capital flight from their economy. At present, GESON is working with Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to ensure that a sufficient quantity of ethanol needed for daily is produced.

According to Jakande, Nigeria's annual carbon footprint stands at 100 million metric tonnes. She believes this could be significally reduced by using biomass for electricity production, solar, ethanol and hygro as alternatives to fossil fuel.

AAEA has real doubts about this biofuels proposal as a significant jobs creator. We are also doubtful about the Nigerians depending on cellulosic ethanol production because the practice has not even been significantly developed in the United States or anywhere else yet. Moreover, biofuels production requires large amounts of farm land for cultivation of the feedstock, such as sweet sorghum, even if it does not compete with the food chain. Ultimately corn would be the best way for them to produce ethanol, and that would compete with the food supply. There are better ways to generate employment. Traditional farming would probably be much better than trying to jumpstart an ethanol industry. Ethanol production in America has not been very successful, even with significantt government mandates and massive government subsidies. (Vanguard News Online, 1/16/10)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dr. John Boyd Comments on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day‏

MLK Statement From Dr. John W. Boyd, Jr.

Founder and President

National Black Farmers Association

On this day that we remember the life and impact of Dr. Martin Luther King, we recall a letter Dr. King sent to newly-elected president, John F. Kennedy. This letter was published in "The Nation" on February 4, 1961. In this letter Dr. King outlines the many areas that President Kennedy’s administration could affect positive change. Among areas cited specifically by Dr. King are the practices of the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) and the Department of Justice:

The Department of Agriculture—which doubtless considers civil-rights issues as remote from its purview—could fruitfully reappraise its present operations with a view to taking certain steps that require no new legislative powers. The department could be of tremendous assistance to Negro farmers who are now denied credit simply because of their desire to exercise their citizenship rights. To wipe out this kind of discrimination would be to transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of Negroes on the land. A department zealous to implement democratic ideals might become a source of security and help to struggling farmers rather than a symbol of hostility and discrimination on the federal level. A Justice Department that is imbued with a will to create justice has vast potential. The employment of powerful court orders, enforced by sizable numbers of federal marshals, would restrain lawless elements now operating with inexcusable license. It should be remembered that in early American history it was the federal marshal who restored law in frontier communities when local authority broke down.
It is now 2010, some 49 years after Dr. King’s letter. Unfortunately, many of the same issues remain for black farmers. Discriminated black farmers still await compensation from the government. In May 2009, the President proposed $1.15 billion for the 2010 budget – In a statement, President Obama said the proposed settlement funds would "close this chapter" in the USDA's history of discrimination. He went on to say:

"My hope is that the farmers and their families who were denied access to USDA loans and programs will be made whole and will have the chance to rebuild their lives and their businesses…"
Sadly, that promise remains unfulfilled. Congress has thus far failed to fund the requested $1.15 billion to compensate discriminated black farmers. May this be the year that this portion of Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream gets fulfilled. (Dr. Boyd is pictured with then Senator Barack Obama)

Martin Luther King, Jr. Gave His Life To Improve America

Happy Birthday

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

We Will Never Forget What You Did For America

"We Made It Through" - - by Dave Bass, 2002

Stimulus Spending and African American Small Businesses

Conservatives and many business entities oppose the concept of affirmative action set-asides, but the marketplace is a harsh environment for many minority businesses. Set asides are oftentimes the only way a minority business will get any of the business. Just as busing was a bad solution to a bad problem, it was the only way America was going to get any public school integration. Economic discrimination is still alive and well. It is frustrating to experience such bias when a minority business knows it is offering beneficial products and services to a situation and to clients, yet circumstances clearly indicate that numerous corporate and government entitities would rather not develop a beneficial project than partner with or fund minority firms.

According to the Kirwan Institute, which studies race and ethnicity at Ohio State University, small businesses received 34 percent of the $39 billion direct federal contract awards. Of those contracts, 7.6 percent went to firms owned by women, 3.5 percent to firms owned by Hispanics and 2.5 percent to firms owned by African Americans. Approximately 80 percent of the $787 billion stimulus funds have flowed through state and local governments, making them harder to track than direct federal spending becaue state and local laws vary widely in how much government spending must be set aside for minority-owned businesses.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in October 2009 that the unemployment rate in the African American community was 15.7%, Men, 20 years and over........ 17.1%, Women, 20 years and over....12.4%, and Both Sexes, 16 to 19 years.....41.3%. The general unemployment rate was 10 percent. One would think that minority communities would be directly targeted for mitigation of joblessness and economic degradation because they are in the worst shape. And they are too big to fail. Most jobs are created by small businesses. Yet, it appears once again that recovery subsidies will somehow avoid the Black community. (Wash Post, 1/18/10, Bureau of Labor Statistics, The New York Times Jobless Rate Chart)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Jackson Calls For Stimulus Part II at Wall Street Summit

Jesse Jackson Sr. called for a "Stimulus Part II" at a news conference outlining the goals of the 13th Annual Wall Street Project Economic Summit, which was held in New York City from January 12-15. According to Jackson, the impact of foreclosures, Depression-level unemployment in the black community, and rising healthcare costs show that the stimulus act approved by President Barack Obama left conditions rough for many on Main Street while Wall Street was heavily subsidized. The theme for the 2010 summit, “Targeted Stimulus: A Call to Equity & Parity,” focused on strategies to invest in job creation, minority businesses, and underserved communities.

President Obama has launched his version of Stimulus Part II via his proposed Clean Energy Manufacturing Jobs Initiative, which provides a 30 percent tax credit ($2.3 billion worth) for investments in 183 manufacturing facilities for clean energy products across 43 states. Congress is considering a jobs-creation bill (Jobs For Main Street Act--H.R.2847), which includes investments and incentives backed by President Obama via his aforementioned Clean Energy Manufacturing Jobs Initiative to spur clean energy manufacturing jobs. H.R. 2847 has already passed in the House on December 16 by a vote of Passed, 217-212. The Senate will take it up when Congress returns later this month.

The Obama Administration has awarded $2 billion in “neighborhood stabilization” funding to states, cities, and communities hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis. The funds, part of 2009’s $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The foreclosure crisis is far from over. A report released by real estate data firm RealtyTrac showed a record 2.8 million properties received a foreclosure notice in 2009, a 21% jump from 2008 and 120% higher than 2007. High foreclosure activity is expected to continue in 2010. (Black Enterprise, 1/14/10, Black Enterprise, 1/16/10)

Harry Reid Redux: "Light-Skinned & No Negro Dialect"


By Norris McDonald

I am dark-skinned and have a southern accent (Negro dialect equivalent). So is that why I can't get serious consideration for my legislative proposals in the U.S. Senate? And here I always thought it was just because I support Yucca Mountain as the national repository for our nuclear waste. Now admittedly I have not been up in Harry's face with my support for the nuclear suppository, but now he has me wondering if he would take me seriously if I did.

Oh well, Harry was generalizing anyway. So how pervasive is his statement? Now I am going to have to check those Congressiaonl Black Caucus pictures to see the ratio of light-skinned to dark-skinnned members. And how did James Clyburn (D-SC) get the number three spot in the House of Representatives? He's dark skinned and has a hint of southern accent. What about The White House? Hmmmmm. So maybe it was more than his hyper conservativeness that hampered Clarence Thomas during his confirmation hearing. Let us not forget the 4th Estate. How many dark-skinnned folk do you see on those news shows? Just saying. Maybe Harry was on to something there.

Booker Rising Covers Conservative Blacks On Glenn Beck

AAEA Wonders Why Conservative Blacks Align With Liberal Blacks Against Cap & Trade

We love Booker Rising and nobody covers moderate to conservative Black thought as well or as comprehensively as its publisher, Shay Riley (who is shy). As such, Booker Rising provided good coverage of the recent "Glenn Beck Meeting With Black Conservatives, Part 2."

Our interest in Beck's two shows with Black conservatives is related to their general opposition to cap and trade as a tool to fight climate change. AAEA supports cap and trade. It is interesting to us that the Black conservatives align with the liberal Black environmental justice activists in opposing cap and trade legislation. These EJ groups do not make too much noise in their opposition to cap and trade though because they are on the wrong side of the liberal left mainstream environmental movement establishment on this issue.

Mainstream environmental groups support cap and trade. So AAEA finds itself in the unusual position of aligning with traditional environmental groups against the views of conservative Black and environmental justice groups. How odd. Yet, AAEA has an environmental justice solution to complaints about possible disproportionate environmental impacts of cap and trade legislation - - Environmental Justice Allowance Reserve (EJAR), which provides carbon dioxide allowances to address this potential problem.

The EJAR is market-based so it should satisfy the interests of the conservative Blacks. It also directly addresses environmental justice, which should satisfy the interests of environmental justice activists and climate justice activists.

Friday, January 15, 2010

US Department of Labor ‘Pathways Out of Poverty’ Grants

$150 Million In Training Grants For Green Jobs

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, right, today (1/13/10) announced $150 million in green jobs training grants, as authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). The "Pathways Out of Poverty" grants will support programs that help disadvantaged populations find ways out of poverty and into economic self-sufficiency through employment in energy efficiency and renewable energy industries.

Through the 38 grants awards, targeted populations will receive recruitment and referral services; basic skills, work-readiness and occupational skills training; supportive services to help overcome barriers to employment; and other services at times and locations that are easily accessible. Through these programs, participants will receive certifications and on-the-job training that will lead to employment.

In order to serve the specific populations targeted by these grants effectively, the Department of Labor encouraged applicants to focus project efforts in communities located within one or more contiguous Public Micro Data Areas (PUMAs) where poverty rates were 15 percent or higher. PUMAs are geographic areas designated by the U.S. Census Bureau. All applicants were required to have experience serving economically disadvantaged populations. Programs funded today will serve unemployed individuals, high school dropouts, and other disadvantaged individuals within areas of high poverty.

There are two types of award recipients for these grants: 1) national nonprofit entities with networks of local affiliates, coalition members or other established partners; and 2) local entities including nonprofit organizations, such as community and faith-based organizations, the public workforce investment system, the education and training community, labor organizations, and employer and industry-related organizations.

Today's grants are part of a larger Recovery Act initiative — totaling $500 million — to fund workforce development projects that promote economic growth by preparing workers for careers in the energy efficiency industries.

Full listing of the grants and project descriptions

Video by Secretary Solis

(U.S. Department of Labor)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pre-Earthquake: Electricity Production and Use In Haiti

Earthquake Recovery Must Include Electricity Delivery

In Haiti, 12.5% of the 9 million population have access to electricity, which is delivered at 110 volts alternating current at 60 cycles per second. This matches the USA standard. In 2006, total installed capacity was 270 MW, of which about 70% was diesel oil-fired thermal and 30% hydroelectric. That is enough electricity for about 270,000 homes.

There are currently three large thermal plants and one hydroelectric plant serving the metropolitan area and some smaller thermal and hydroelectric plants in the provinces. The most important plants are:

Péligre, an hydroelectric plant with 54 MW of installed capacity. However, its actual power varies between 30 MW in the rainy season and 10 MW in the dry one.
Carrefour, a 50 MW thermal plant with just 12 MW of actually available capacity.
Varreux 1 and 2, two thermal plants with installed capacities of 33 MW and 21 MW respectively, which can just provide 12.5 MW

Demand: In 2003, total electricity consumption in Haiti was 510 GWh, Average per capita consumption in 2004 was 75 kWh. The share for each sector is as follows:

Residential: 60%
Industrial : 20%
Transport : 15%
Services : 5%

About a third of the electricity is stolen by unauthorized users.

Demand vs supply: The Haitian electricity sector has a national installed capacity that is largely insufficient to meet a demand of 157 MW in Port au Prince and of 550 MW at the national level.

Electricité d’Haïti (EdH) holds the monopoly for electricity generation, transmission and distribution in Haiti. EdH is unable to meet the electricity demand so other private sector companies sell their electricity to EdH at an agreed price.

APR Energy LLC, a Jacksonville–based power company, a 1-megawatt power plant it operates in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, that stopped operating during the January 12th earthquake. APR operates about 12 other plants around the country. APR has about 40 employees in Haiti. The company’s plants in Haiti are widely scattered with many serve in remote areas. Sensor systems on those plants showed that all but the Port-au-Prince site were working normally, suggesting the others had little or no damage.


About 80% of Haiti's energy needs are met by using domestic biomass fuel (wood and charcoal), which is used in the household sector mainly for cooking.

(Wiki, JacksonvilleNews, 1/14/10, Haiti Bureau of Mines and Energy)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Black Enterprise Energy Forum A Big Success

Black Enterprise magazine hosted an energy forum today, with cosponsor Shell Oil, that was very successful. The speakers were excellent and there were excellent exchages during the question and answer portion of the forum. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson was scheduled to deliver the keynote but had to cancel to attend the funeral of Vice President Joe Biden's mother in Delaware. Stephanie Owens, Director Of EPA's Office of Public Outreach, delivered a great keynote for the adminstrator. She also answered questions during the first panel.

AAEA President Norris McDonald and AAEA Vice President Derry Bigby attended the forum. McDonald asked about ownership potential in traditional energy sectors and whether mentor/minority protege partnerships could help in overcoming regulatory barriers to needed energy infrastructure.

Black Enterprise is the premier business magazine for the African American community. The magazine's BE 100's is enthusiastically anticipated by people worldwide each year. That particular issue is of great use to AAEA in determining entrepreneurship opportunities. In fact, our two favorite business publications are Black Enterprise and The Wall Street Journal.

Clean Skies Video

Clean Skies: Roderick West

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Will EPA & OMB Ignore & Abuse Blacks With Fly Ash?

While OMB Regulatory Czar* Cass Sunstein, right, is meeting with coal industry representatives and evildently delaying EPA's regulations on coal ash, Blacks are once again left out of the business side and literally dumped on, on the pollution side. In other words, the coal ash from the Kingston, Tennessee spill disaster in Debember 2008 is being shipped to a black community in a different state, while contracts for environmentally friendly reuses seem to end up everywhere except with black contractors. We are confident that EPA Administrator Lisa Perez Jackson, left, is promoting environmental and economic justice in the deliberations with OMB, which is charged with reviewing all proposed regulations.

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, right, is chairwoman of the House committee with jurisdiction over the TVA spill/fly ash issue. The House Infrastructure Committee Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment held the first oversight hearing on the spill on March 31, 2009. Johnson held a second hearing a month later on April 30, 2009. In fact, the entire Congressional Black Caucus should get involved in this issue and monitor the promulgation of this regulation. EPA, OMB & TVA are required to consider environmental injustice under Presidential Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice. To date, such consideration has been given short shrift.

Fly ash from coal-fired power plants will have to be ruled a hazardous waste. AAEA believes there should be exemptions for positive reuse of fly ash, such as producing cement and concrete. AAEA promoted keeping the fly ash on site and constructing a cement/concrete production facility there to process the contaminated ash. Moreover, minority contractors should be included in reuse production. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is spending $1 billion on cleanup/export and a fair share of the clean up should go to minority vendors. After all, the toxic ash is being transported from Tennessee to a black community in Alabama. AAEA opposed the waste being shipped to that landfill, but since it is already happening, the blacks in that area should be properly compensated, or even relocated. It is simply unconscionable that blacks will get none of the business but most of the pollution. This is the height of environmental injustice. (WSJ, 1/9/10)

* Directs the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs within the White House Office of Management and Budget.


Friday, January 08, 2010

Jerome Ringo Joins GreenPort

Jerome Ringo, left, president of the Apollo Alliance since 2005, has accepted the position as senior executive for global strategies with GreenPort, a private company that focuses on establishing sustainable “green” ports around the world. Ringo will continue as a member of the board of directors at the Apollo Alliance.

Our very first blog article in March 2005 was about Jerome Ringo when he was elected Chairman of the Board of the National Wildlife Federation.

Ringo has been a dedicated champion of environmental justice and vocal clean energy advocate. He began his career working in Louisiana’s petrochemical industry, where for more than a decade he was an active union member and worked with fellow members to secure a safe work environment and quality jobs. As he began to observe the negative impacts of the industry’s pollution on local communities – primarily poor, minority communities – Jerome began organizing community and environmental justice groups. His experience organizing environmental and labor communities and his drive to further diversify the environmental movement helped solidify his lifelong dedication to environmental and social justice. (Apollo Alliance)

AAEA Is The Canary in the Coal Mine

AAEA opposes mountaintop removal, pictured at left, because it destroys streams and threatens human health. AAEA supports African American ownership of coal mines (even in a global warming world), but using the less efficient, less safe and more labor intensive mine shaft method of extracting coal. Blacks do not own any coal mines in the United States even though 50 percent of the nation's electricity is produced with coal.

West Virginia's senior senator Robert Byrd has it wrong in his belief that:

"...mountaintop removal allows companies to employ fewer miners to produce the same amount of coal."
We need more employment in West Virginia, not less. We also need African American ownership of coal mines. And even though shaft mining, pictured at right, is more dangerous, numerous workers are willing to take that chance. We should have the strictest safety standards for coal mine workers and all coal mining should be shaft mining. We need to ban mountaintop coal mining that pollutes streams and threatens human health and AAEA will be working actively to do so. EPA should reject the Spruce No. 1 mine in Logan County, West Virginia. Mingo Logan Mining Company, a subsidiary of Arch Coal, which owns the mine, should be required to shift to shaft mining and should recruit a 49 percent minority partner to extract the coal.

A recent study by 12 environmental scientists, headed by the University of Maryland, supports AAEA's position that the scientific evidence shows that mountaintop coal mining destroys streams and threatens human health. The scientific team also concludes that the evidence is so strong the government should stop granting new permits for mountaintop removal. (The Bellinghead Herald, 1/7/10)

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Sonja Ebron: blackEnergy

Sonja Ebron, left, is the chief executive officer of blackEnergy, based in Atlanta, Georgia. blackEnergy is a national distributor of energy conservation products and an organizer of energy buying groups that help people use their utility bills to support Black communities.

Sonja has a PhD electrical engineering and is a former college professor with a background in utilities. Ms. Magazine described her as a change agent for "the belief that environmental and social consciousness can create satisfaction in the soul and the wallet."

Sonja is the recipient of the Atlanta Business League's 2007 Super Tuesday Award for Non-Traditional Business, and she was named a 2008 SuperWoman by the Atlanta Tribune.

Sonja is a longtime friend of AAEA and we salute her work with blackEnergy.

Black-On-Black Murder Rate Dropping All Over America

Washington, DC: 143 killings in 2009, the lowest tally in the nation's capital since 1966.

San Francisco: 45 homicides in 2009, its lowest in 48 years.

Los Angeles: 314 homicides in 2009 -- the lowest number of killings since 1967.

Chicago: 453 homicides in 2009, down 11% from 509 over the same period in 2008.

New York: 466 homicides in 2009, down 10.9% from 2008.

Dallas: 166 homicides, the lowest number of killings there since 1967, when the city registered 133.

"It is a crisis that youth today think they have more in common with Scarface than with Martin Luther King Jr." -- Al Sharpton

(WSJ, 1/7/10)


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Coal Ash From Kingston, Tenn To Perry County, Alabama

On Dec. 22, 2008 a disaster of historic proportions happened in Kingston, Tennessee when a pond containing several million cubic yards of coal ash burst into the Emory River.

That ash is now being shipped by the train load to Perry County, Alabama, an Environmental Justice Community.

It is then mixed with household garbage and the leachate trucked to nearby Marion Alabama. Listen to these citizens describe the horrible living conditions.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Norris McDonald: Diary Of An Environmentalist


By Norris McDonald

Ah the 21st Century. You can publish your own autobiography. So I did. See excerpt below:

I started as a young man in his mid twenties and now I am a man in his mid fifties. I went looking for a job on Capitol Hill in 1979 after I graduated from Wake Forest University. I answered an ad in The Washington Post to work for an environmental group. It was two blocks from Capitol Hill so I figured it would be a good stepping stone to getting a job in a congressional office. I was just delighted to be in the political power center of the world. I had no idea at that time that I would make a career out of working on environmental and energy issues.

Now I have been working as an environmentalist for over 30 years. I have been committed to being a good steward to our planet and to work for improvements in local neighborhoods. It has been gratifying and I am delighted to have found my calling in life. Of course, life throws you curve balls that makes it interesting. I did not anticipate becoming a chronic, acute asthmatic and a single parent. Plus, my personal worldview has probably limited my success, but I would not change it because it is rooted in my belief in God.