Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Rand Paul & Environmental Justice


By Norris McDonald

Rand Paul has the right idea about revitalizing urban inner city neighborhoods, but his implementation plan needs some tweaking.  His dismissal of environmental laws in the service of reducing burdensome government red tape in redeveloping sites in urban areas is admirable, but unworkable in the face of environmental justice opposition.

Senator Paul's Economic Freedom Zone (EFZ) [S. 1852] concept of repealing the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act protections walks directly into opposition from the environmental justice communities and environmental justice activists. Because these environmental justice communities are disproportionately affected by pollution from so many sources, giving a pass to companies wanting to locate in these areas will be met with black environmentalist opposition. So although Senator Paul's desire is in the right place, his mechanism for getting there will put him in direct opposition to the environmental justice community and by association, the environmental community.  

We want industry to reinvest in black communities.  But we do not want polluting industries relocating in areas that already face a disproportionate amount of pollution from industrial pollution sites.

So how do we reconcile Senator Paul's aspirations for improvements in the black community with his economic/environmental vision?  We think Senator could balance his legislative proposal by sponsoring the Environmental Justice Act of 2015, which would have the protections that are needed from an environmental justice perspective in relation to the Economic Freed Zone bill.  Any relaxation of Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act protections would be more than offset by the Environmental Justice Act.  Senator Paul can have it both ways.  And his sponsorship of the Environmental Justice Act of 2015 would show that he is serious about addressing environmental injustice within the context of redevelopments in black communities.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Nuclear Matters & AAEA Support Nuclear Power Plants

Nuclear Matters announced today that 15 organizations have joined the campaign as Partners, coalescing in their support for existing nuclear energy plants and the need to ensure they are preserved. The diverse cross-section of voices includes environmental, consumer and academic groups, among others. They will work alongside Nuclear Matters’ Leadership Council to raise awareness around the value of the existing nuclear fleet for their benefits in terms of reliability, carbon-free generation, and economic impact.
“In my role as co-chair of Nuclear Matters, I’ve heard first-hand from a range of organizations and individuals who are in strong support of our existing nuclear fleet,” said former Senator Evan Bayh. “The fact that many of these organizations have joined Nuclear Matters as Partners is representative of the serious and growing desire that exists across the country to do everything we can to ensure that these plants are preserved.”
“As an organization whose mission it is to apply practical environmental solutions to ensure a cleaner energy future, our partnership with Nuclear Matters is well-suited,” said Norris McDonald, President of the African American Environmentalist Association. “Given that our existing nuclear energy fleet provides 63 percent of the nation’s carbon-free energy, it plays a key role in helping to address environmental challenges, including meeting proposed rules laid out by the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce carbon emissions.”
Below is a complete list of the organizations that have partnered with Nuclear Matters and will join the campaign in various events and initiatives across the country:
  • African American Environmentalist Association
  • Carolinas Nuclear Cluster (CNC)
  • Center for Environment, Commerce and Energy
  • Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness
  • Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA)
  • Energy for Carolinas (E4C)
  • Energy Information Center
  • Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy - USA
  • Go Nuclear
  • Illinois Clean Energy Coalition
  • National Museum of Nuclear Science and History
  • North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NAYGN)
  • Nuclear Advocacy Network
  • Nuclear Fuels Reprocessing Coalition
  • U.S. Women in Nuclear
About Nuclear Matters
The mission of Nuclear Matters is to inform the public about the clear benefits that nuclear energy provides to our nation, to raise awareness of the economic challenges to nuclear energy that threaten those benefits, and to work with stakeholders to explore possible policy solutions that properly value nuclear energy as a reliable, affordable and carbon-free electricity resource that is essential to America’s energy future.
Supporters of Nuclear Matters include a range of companies and organizations in the energy industry, including Ameren Missouri, American Nuclear Insurers, Arizona Public Service Company, AREVA, Black & Veatch, POWER Burns and Roe, Centrus Energy Corp. Dominion, Duke Energy, Energy Future Holdings Corporation, Energy Northwest, Entergy Corporation, Exelon Corporation, FirstEnergy Corporation, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, Lightbridge Corporation, Nebraska Public Power District, NextEra Energy Inc., Omaha Public Power District, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company, Southern Company, Tennessee Valley Authority, and Westinghouse Electric Corporation.
Media Contacts
For Nuclear Matters:
Alexandra Meredith
(212) 446-1887
Joe Germani
(212) 446-1899