Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Gwen Fleming: EPA Chief of Staff

Gwen Fleming
Gwen Keyes Fleming is the new chief of staff of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC. Fleming is the former DeKalb (GA) district attorney and was most recently the EPA’s Region 4 regional administrator based in Atlanta.  She began her new assignment on June 3. In her new role, she will serve as a senior adviser to the EPA administrator and agency senior leadership. She also will be responsible for managing the Office of the Administrator, which includes overseeing more than 17,000 employees.

Gwen Keyes Fleming has more than 15 years experience as both a prosecutor and administrator, serving as the District Attorney for five years in Georgia's Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit, which encompasses all of Dekalb County. She is the first African-American and the first woman to have held the District Attorney position. As District Attorney, she managed more than 165 employees, handling 13,000 felony cases each year with an annual budget of more than $12 million

Keyes Fleming has instituted several successful community outreach programs related to crime prevention on behalf of young women and children, working with vulnerable adults and at-risk communities. Prior to serving as District Attorney, she served as the elected Solicitor-General handling misdemeanor crimes and implemented numerous domestic violence prevention initiatives which successfully decreased the rate of domestic violence deaths in the county.

Keyes Fleming obtained her B.S. in Finance from Rutgers University and her Juris Doctorate from the Emory University School of Law. She has received numerous awards, including the Emory Law's Distinguished Alumni Award, Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys Leah Ward Sears Award for Distinction in the Profession in 2010, Atlanta's Top 100 Black Women of Influence in 1999, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, and the Women in the NAACP Award in 2010.

Keyes Fleming credits her parents – Ursula Keyes, a retired registered nurse, and her late father, Andrew J. Keyes, a former Tuskegee Airman – for her commitment to community service. She is married to Randal Keyes and they have two sons, Cory and Kyle.  (EPA, Cross Roads News, 6/7/2013)

President Obama's Climate Action Plan: EPA Meets With African Americans

EPA held a meeting yesterday with African American stakeholders to discuss President Obama's Climate Action Plan. New EPA Chief of Staff Gwen Fleming addressed the group.  The meeting was held at EPA headquarters in Washington, DC.  The last African American roundtable meeting was held on May 17, 2013.

There are three basic components to the plan:

1) Cut Carbon Pollution in America:

The Obama Administration is putting in place tough new rules to cut carbon pollution to protect the health and move our economy toward American-made clean energy sources that will create good jobs and lower home energy bills.

2) Prepare the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change:

The Obama Administration will help state and local governments strengthen roads, bridges, and shorelines in order to better protect people’s homes, businesses and way of life from severe weather.

3) Lead International Efforts to Combat Global Climate Change and Prepare for its Impacts:

The Obama Administration intends tof orge a global solution to this global challenge by galvanizing international action to significantly reduce emissions (particularly among the major emitting countries), prepare for climate impacts, and drive progress through the international negotiations.

EPA and participating stakeholders discussed how African Americans could contribute to mitigating climate change adn how the agency might assist them with information and outreach.  It was a very dynamic meeting and participants agreed to follow up on recommendations discussed in the meeting.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Intern with GREENPEACE for Fall Semester 2013

Apply now for a Greenpeace internship!

Who is Greenpeace? Greenpeace is the leading independent environmental campaigning organization that uses peaceful direct action and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and to promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.

Why intern with Greenpeace?

As a Greenpeace intern you can:
  • Promote solutions to the global warming crisis
  • Stop the destruction of the world's last ancient forests
  • Empower consumers and shareholders to hold corporate polluters accountable
  • And yes - save the whales!
A Greenpeace Internship is a great way to learn first-hand how an international environmental campaigning organization works. You’ll gain issue expertise, build valuable career skills and make connections. In addition to job training, you’ll have the opportunity to take part in trainings such as corporate campaigning, non-violent direct action, media relations and grassroots outreach. You’ll get to meet awesome people and work alongside experienced staff in a casual, high-energy environment.

Apply now for a Greenpeace internship! Go to:

Available Internships: Global Warming, Executive Team, Campaigns, Grassroots Organizing, Governance and Internal Communications, Frontline, Actions, Strategy, National Activist Network, Finance, Photography, Video, Online Organizing, IT Applications, Human Resources, Direct Marketing, Oceans, Student Network and more! Visit our website for a full list and details on the specific tasks and requirements for each internship.

Locations: Positions are available in Washington, DC, San Francisco, Austin, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver, LA, New York City, Philadelphia, Denver, and Orange County. Not all internships are available in all locations. Visit our website to see details on where each internship is offered.

Program Details: Our fall internships start September 9th and end December 6th. Part time and full time positions are available. Each intern is trained and closely supervised by a member of the department to which they've been assigned. We are flexible with your schedule and can help you receive class credit. All internships are unpaid. Unfortunately Greenpeace cannot provide travel or housing.

Requirements: Applicants must be over 18, but do not have to be current students. We’re looking for people with excellent verbal and written communications skills, strong online research skills, the ability to work well independently, commitment to non-violence as a means of affecting change and enthusiasm for protecting the environment. Visit for the qualifications required for each of the various positions.  (Greenpeace)

Conservation Fund Project Coordinator Position Available

Milwaukee Project Coordinator

The Coordinator is responsible for assisting with implementing the Greenseams Program, an acquisition program that connects publicly owned parcels of land along river corridors in a four county area. The position is also responsible for coordinating due diligence, negotiating contracts, coordinating wetland restorations, monitoring acquired properties and general office operations. The work is in collaboration with a team of professionals within the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, outside contract real estate service providers, and The Conservation Fund’s staff. 

The position involves traveling frequently in the Greater Milwaukee area. 

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:
·         Administer the Greenseams Program in collaboration with The Conservation Fund’s Milwaukee Program Director
·         Coordinate and assist with due diligence (contractors, surveys, environmental hazard review, and provide backup support to Program Director on GIS databases)
·         Timely process payment of invoices
·         Prepare Baseline and Monitoring Reports and completing property walks on new properties where trash needs to be removed
·         Coordinate with Program Director on working with partners such as NRCS, USFWS, and Pheasants Forever to administer the restoration and management of Greenseams properties;
·         Employ GIS software to create maps and databases as needed for Greenseams programs;
·         Assist MMSD in developing grant proposals to fund acquisitions and restoration; 
·         Complete mailings and filings
·         Work with the Graphic Department to create annual reports and visual aids
·         Research and apply data obtained through internet and other resources as needed for the Greenseams Program
·         Explore new business opportunities for The Conservation Fund
·         Assist with projects as assigned.

The qualified candidate will have the following:

·         Knowledge of land negotiation process and experience in negotiating projects
·         Strong computer skills with GIS and ESRI products, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Access.
·         Ability to conceive, plan, and implement programs. 
·         Willingness to travel extensively; must have a valid driver’s license and a clean driving record.  (Please note a driver’s background check will be conducted.)
·         Must be able to work effectively as part of the Greenseams team as well as independently. 
·         Ability to work various hours including nights as needed. 
·         A demonstrated commitment to land conservation. 

For additional information, please visit They offer a competitive salary and excellent benefits including medical, dental and life insurance, vacation and sick leave, 403(b) plan and paid holidays. They strongly encourage people of color, women, and veterans to apply for this position.  Qualified/interested candidates should send their resume with salary requirements to:

The Conservation Fund
Attention:  Human Resources
1655 Ft. Myer Drive, Suite 1300
Arlington, VA  22209-3199
Or email to
Or fax to (703) 525-4610

The Conservation Fund is an equal opportunity employer.

Lisa Jackson Joins Joint Center Climate Change Commission

Former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson Joins Commission to Engage African Americans on Energy, Climate Change and the Environment Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson will join its Commission to Engage African Americans on Energy, Climate Change and the Environment.

Established in 2008 to offer guidance to the Energy and Environment Program, the Commission brings together leading experts spanning the health, civil rights, business, academic and science fields to enhance African Americans’ awareness and understanding of climate change, energy and environmental issues and to advance their perspectives in critical policy forums.

While heading EPA from 2009 to 2013, Jackson made addressing environmental justice concerns a signature of her tenure and was known for forging collaborations to drive progress on the issue. Her accomplishments as the Agency’s Administrator included setting limits on mercury and other air toxics, an initiative that was supported by mayors from more than 90 cities across the U.S. In addition, standards to double automobile fuel efficiency standards, finalized under her watch, will save consumers more than $1.7 trillion dollars at the pump.

Danielle Deane, Director of the Joint Center Energy and Environment Program, commented, “We look forward to matching the energy and dedication of former Administrator Jackson as we work towards a future that is powered by clean energy and pays attention to the needs of the most vulnerable.” (Joint Center Press Release)

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies is one of the nation’s leading research and public policy institutions and the only one whose work focuses primarily on issues of particular concern to African Americans and other people of color.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Elwood York in Scapegoat Wilderness in Nothern Montana

Accompanies Trenton, New Jersey Group

Elwood York (right)
Elwood York, with the U.S. Forest Service National Wilderness Program, accompanied other conservationists to Missoula, Montana earlier this month to experience Scapegoat Wilderness.  They set off for three days of exploring, camping and connecting with grizzly country wilderness.

The Scapegoat Wilderness recently burned, consuming much of the forest, but it is recovering.  (Read more at Trentonwild)

AAEA President On Energy Panel at CBC Institute Tunica Conference

The Congressional Black Caucus Political Education and Leadership Institute (CBC Institute) is holding its Annual Policy Conference, TUNICA-2013. at the Mid-South Convention Center in Tunica, Mississippi from Thursday, August 15 to Saturday, August 17 , 2013.

AAEA President Norris McDonald will serve on the energy panel, Energy’s Future Impact on the American Consumer scheduled for August 16 at 4:00pm.

The Annual Policy Conference is representative of the CBC Institute’s ongoing commitment to meeting that mission. The policy sessions and working luncheons provide a perfect opportunity for a cross section of committed individuals including, community leaders, state and locally elected officials, private sector leaders, labor leaders, academics and government officials to join in discussions with Members of Congress and highly qualified issue specific experts.

The CBC Institute is a non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission, in part, is to educate today’s voters and train tomorrow’s leaders.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The New EPA Administrator Called Me Today


By Norris McDonald

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, pictured below in the video message to her staff, called me today. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate last Thursday and was sworn in at the newly named William Jefferson Clinton Building (EPA HQ) on Friday. I have to say that I am impressed that she would take the time to call.

She is personally reaching out to environmental protection stakeholders and I am delighted to be on that list.  I look forward to working with her going forward.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

EPA Headquarters Named After Bill Clinton - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - And Dr. Marsha Coleman Adebayo?

By Norris McDonald

EPA HQ South Building Should Be Named After Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

EPA Headquarters was named after former President Bill Clinton at a ceremony in Washington, DC this week.  Legislation sponsored by Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer making the change passed last December.   It wasn't easy.  She had to tack on naming a federal court building in Texas after the Bush presidents in order to get it passed.

Yet, Bill Clinton was not seen as being a particularly distinguished environmentalist during his two terms.  In fact, the consensus in the environmental community is that his adminstration was very disappointing, particularly in regards to global warming.  This disappointment was exacerbated by Al Gore being vice president, who was seen as being in the environmental protection vanguard.  Gore appeared to be handcuffed for eight years and made up for it after he was out of office.

EPA Headquarters

I always have to be the curmudgeon.  Sigh.  EPA, under the Clinton administration, was convicted of racial and sexual discrimination and fined $600,000 in the Marsha Coleman-Adebayo court case.  She went on to get the No Fear Act passed in Congress, that addressed such problems throughout the Executive Branch.  I guess her invitation to the naming ceremony was lost in the mail.  So not only was Bill Clinton not considered to be a notable environmentalist, his administration has the ugly Adebayo stain on it.  But Coleman-Adebayo's antagonists were all promoted and now their boss has the federal government's environmental protection building named after him.

EPA has two wings, a north building and a south building.  I think it only fair that the south building should be named after Marsha Coleman-Adebayo [The Marsha Coleman-Adebayo Building].  (Wash Post, 7/17/2013)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Segregated 'Urban Heat Islands' Cook Under Global Warming

Researchers at UC Berkeley used satellite imagery to find that Blacks, Asians and Latinos are more likely to live in “urban heat islands.”  Such urban heat islands are most at risk during extreme heat waves that are expected to worsen due to climate change, according to a new study.

The study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives showed that these heat island exit in hundreds of U.S. cities where there are few shade trees and a lot of heat-absorbing, impervious surfaces like pavement, cement or roofing.  Racial segregation appears to increase everyone’s risk of living in a heat-prone environment.

The authors paired that information with data from the 2000 Census to find that blacks were 52% more likely than whites to live in “urban heat islands” -- microclimates that can get an extra 5 to 10 degrees warmer during heat waves -- while Asians were 32% more likely and Latinos were 21% more likely.

To help reduce the risk, the study recommends that city planners plant more trees, paint highly reflective roofs, use pavement that absorbs less heat and consider racial and ethnic inequalities in decisions about adapting to a changing climate.  (LA Times, 7/9/2013)

Friday, July 12, 2013

California Public Utilities Commission Approves Undergrounding of Chino Hills Electricity Lines

The California Public Utilities Commission voted 3-2 on Thursday in San Francisco to underground the lines in Chino Hills, California.

AAEA opposes this decision.

The cost estimate of undergrounding in Chino Hills is approximately $224 million, including offset for Chino Hills’ financial contribution of real property, which is valued at approximately $17 million. The Southern California Edison estimate of the cost is $533 million.  Completion of the portion of the Tehachapi overhead line in Chino Hills, as originally approved by the commission in 2009, would have cost $4 million.

The Southern California Edison transmission lines, built on land owned by the utility company since the 1940s, bring wind-generated electricity to consumers. Thursday's vote to move 3.5 miles of the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project underground, combined with the closure of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, puts Southern California electricity reliabily at significant risk.

Commissioners Michael R. Peevey, Mark J. Ferron and Catherine J.K. Sandoval voted in favor of putting the lines underground. Commissioners Michel Florio and Carla Peterman opposed the plan.

CalEnviroscreen: Ranks Communities by their Environmental Health

The California Environmental Protection Agency recently rolled out CalEnviroscreen, a new California state program that ranks communities by their environmental health and highlights areas most affected by pollution. The program is something that various public-health and environmental groups have long sought: a way of analyzing the combined effects of multiple pollutants along with residents’ susceptibility to their risks.

The report measures air and water pollution, diesel exhaust, toxins and other factors to calculate pollution burdens of communities at the ZIP code level. It also evaluates socioeconomic and health factors such as asthma rates, poverty and ethnicity to determine the population’s vulnerability to pollution.
The final ranking is the product of the pollution and population scores, with the highest scores highlighting the most environmentally impaired communities. Those areas are entitled to funding for environmental cleanup or sustainable development through the state’s greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program. (UT San Diego, 6/8/2013)

Friday, July 05, 2013

Wildfire Mitigation Program

The AAEA Wildfire Mitigation Program (WMP) includes pre-cutting wood in wildfire areas to prevent or mitigate uncontrolled burns and to generate electricity via construction of 10 megawatt wood-chip-to-electricity plants.  We want to save lives and property while producing electricity and employing youth by building power plants that would use wood from wildfire areas.

Trees Cut To Prevent Wildfire

We intend to get wood from national forests, federal and state park lands and other public and private lands.  We intend to utilize young people to collect the wood, which is described in detail in our Cities To Wilderness Program (CWP)

Woodchip-To-Electricity Plant

Although no commercial activities or machinery can be operated in some wilderness areas, we intend to recruit youth to produce wildfire buffer areas that eliminate some of the wood and brush that fuels uncontrolled wildfires.  In areas that prohibit machiner of any kind, this will involve some cutting that uses axes and manual or animal assisted transport of fuel to collection areas.

Center With Interns On Creek Walk
AAEA initiated a project called Green Electric (GE) in 2011 to coordinate the construction of wood-chip-to-electricity plants.    We conducted scoping and plant construction promotion in Mississippi and California (and Catalina Island).  We are also proposing to build a plant in Kogelo, Kenya

Monday, July 01, 2013

Power Africa

President Obama in South Africa on Sunday touted a “new model” of U.S.-Africa ties that featured new energy and trade initiatives. Obama touted the “Power Africa” plan, a five-year, $7 billion dollar U.S. initiative to help double electricity access in sub-Saharan Africa.  “Power Africa” will initially work with Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, and Tanzania and is aimed at providing 20 million more households and businesses with access to energy.

The president said energy is vital to help students study, businesses operate, families meet basic needs and provides:
“the connection needed to plug Africa into the grid of the global economy. A light where currently there is darkness, the energy needed to lift people out of poverty. That’s what opportunity looks like.”
Obama vowed steps including new trade missions and seeking renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act.

More than two-thirds of residents of sub-Saharan Africa currently do not have electricity, including more than 85 percent of people in rural areas.

From policy and regulatory best practices, to pre-feasibility support and capacity building, to long-term financing, insurance, guarantees, credit enhancements and technical assistance, Power Africa will provide coordinated support to help African partners expand their generation capacity and access.

The program – which the White House said is leveraging more than $9 billion in private sector commitments – will include financing and assistance through a number of agencies.  That includes up to $5 billion through the U.S. Export-Import Bank, and $1.5 billion in financing and insurance through the Overseas Private Investment Corp.  (The Hill, 6/30/2013)