Tuesday, April 01, 2014

EBONY Magazine Partners with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

To Release the State of the Black Family Survey

Reveals Black Family Concerns Regarding Race, Money

In the May issue of EBONY magazine, the publication partnered with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) to release the State of the Black Family Survey. In the study, a national sample of 1,005 African-American respondents identified job loss and financial insecurity as the number one issue confronting Black families. The survey polled African-Americans on their views on the economy, education, relationships, race relations, health care, employment, finances and media trends.

Amy Barnett, the editor-in-chief of EBONY magazine, said, “For more than 70 years, EBONY magazine has been at the forefront of delivering important news that impacts the African-American community, and we are proud to have had the opportunity to partner with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to release these results.” She continued to say, “As the curator of the African-American experience – past, present and future, it is important to shed light on these topics in order to address them properly.

Readers can read the remaining results in the May issue of EBONY magazine, on newsstands now. Part two of the survey is scheduled for release in the June issue of the magazine.
The findings from the study revealed the following:
· 84% of respondents says racial discrimination still pervades American society
· 74% think society isn’t doing enough to support young men and boys of color.
· Almost two-thirds of respondents say they are better off financially than they were five years ago, but 82% are concerned that Whites still make more than Blacks for doing the same jobs.
· 52% see the media portrayal of African-Americans as generally negative.
· 60% of respondents agree we are making progress in providing access to health care.
· 50%, however, feel that we are losing ground in reducing the gap between rich and poor.
· Almost 1/3 are concerned that their children are not getting a quality education.
· 44% of survey respondents said they know someone that has been killed or committed suicide
· 30% said “improving the creating more jobs/good paying jobs” as a top issue of concern.

La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, noted that poll respondents expressed concerns about the impact of racial bias and the income inequality gap that is prevalent within the African American community, as well as other demographics in American society. "We have a lot of work to do in creating jobs and making sure that people of color receive the training and education needed to obtain those jobs," she said. "We believe the lack of employment is really critical and impacts a child's well-being and limits opportunities."
She added that a recent study, ''The Business Case for Racial Equity," by the Altarum Institute with funding from WKKF underscores the potential benefits to business, government and the economy if racial inequities are addressed. "Discriminatory policies and disparities in housing, education, health and crime and justice are outlined and we estimate substantial economic benefits of racial equality, including an increase of almost $2 trillion in minority purchasing power and millions of job opportunities for college graduates.”

Montgomery Tabron said that President Obama’s ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ initiative is bringing government, the private sector and non-profits together to address the obstacles faced by boys and young men of color. She said the initiative exemplifies the type of public-private partnerships needed to improve life outcomes for communities of color. “By directly engaging the business sector to promote racial equity,” she said, “we will create a healthier, better educated and more diverse workforce, help close the minority earnings gap, and provide an overall boost to the economy."
 
###
ABOUT The W.K. Kellogg Foundation:
 
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer Will Keith Kellogg is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to help break the cycle of poverty by removing barriers based on race or income that hold back children, so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti.

About EBONY:
 
EBONY is the No. 1 source for an authoritative perspective on the African-American community. The monthly magazine, now in its 68th year, reaches nearly 11 million readers. EBONY features the best thinkers, trendsetters, hottest celebrities and next-generation leaders of African-Americans. EBONY ignites conversation, promotes empowerment and celebrates aspiration.

Available nationwide on newsstands and the iPad, EBONY is the heart, the soul and the pulse of African-Americans.
 
Follow us and tell us what’s on your mind: @EBONYMag on Twitter | EBONYMag on Facebook| EBONYMag.Tumblr.com on Tumblr| EBONY.com online
 

Friday, March 28, 2014

EPA and Army Corps of Engineers Clarify Protection for Nation’s Streams and Wetlands

EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers jointly released a proposed rule to clarify protection for streams and wetlands under the Clean Water Act. The proposed definitions of waters will apply to all Clean Water Act programs and the proposed rule does not protect any new types of waters that have not historically been covered under the Act.
 
The agencies are launching an outreach effort over the next 90 days, holding discussions around the country and gathering input needed to shape a final rule. Learn more about the proposed rule and how to comment when the rule is available in the Federal Register.
 
Read the op-ed "Clearer Protections for Clean Water" by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy about the proposed rule here. (EPA)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Segregated Cities in the United States of America

Top ten most segregated major cites in the U.S.




According to a 2013 report by professors John Logan and Brian Stults at Brown University and Florida State University, racial segregation rates are still very high in the United States. Analyzing the 2010 Census data, Logan and Stult evaluated segregation in major cities.



In Los Angeles, White people live mostly on the coast around Santa Monica and Brentwood, and the north side of the city beginning with Hollywood Hills. The map below shows the racial lines of Los Angeles.

The red dots represent white people, blue represents Black, orange represents Hispanic, green represents Asian, and yellow is other, according to maps of 2010 Census data by Eric Fischer.


(Atlanta Black Star, 3/24/2014)

Bill Magwood To Head OECD Nuclear Energy Agency

NRC Commissioner William Magwood will take over as head of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) in September of this year following the retirement of current chief Luis Echavarri.

Bill Magwood was appointed to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2010. Previous to that he was the director of nuclear energy at the Department of Energy. He was also chairman of both the Generation-IV International Forum and the OECD's steering committee on Nuclear Energy.

Echavarri retires at the end of April after 17 years as director general of the agency. (World Nuclear News, 3/21/2014)


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Congressional Black Caucus Hip Hop Climate Change Tour

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are trying to get young African-Americans excited about fighting climate change. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn), left, and Rep. AndrĂ© Carson (D-Ind), right,  plan to encourage young African-Americans to take a greater interest in fighting climate change as part of a six-college tour organized by the non-congressional Hip Hop Caucus, which will highlight the effects climate change has on black communities. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy also plans to make an appearance on the tour.

According to Ellison:
“When you think of environmentalists, people think of, quite frankly, some white person, probably wearing Birkenstocks or something and tying themselves to a tree.
Now, I love the Redwoods and vacation there and think they're a jewel of our nation, but we've got to expand the idea of who are the environmentalists.”

“If you've ever wondered about test scores between black students and white students, if you've ever wondered about health disparities, if you've ever wondered about who gets to make it through the flood and the big bad storm and who doesn't, you really don't have to look any further than this issue of climate change.”
The African-American community is disproportionately affected by climate change because more black people live in urban areas that face the greatest exposure to air and water pollution

Ellison and Carson plan to raise awareness about the health effects of climate change on the African-American community. They pointed out that black communities tend to suffer from more asthma cases.  The Department of Health and Human Services reports that African-Americans are 20 percent more likely than white people to have asthma.

Two lawmakers called for the Obama administration to reject the Keystone XL oil pipeline and for the EPA to move forward with new rules for power plants, two of the most heated rules surrounding climate change. Ellison and Carson hope to recruit more members of the Congressional Black Caucus to join the tour.

The tour will begin next Thursday at Hampton University in Virginia and includes stops at Howard University in Washington, D.C., Wayne State University in Detroit, Central State University in Ohio, North Carolina A&T and Clark Atlanta University. (The Hill, 3/21/2014)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Week In Review

PRESIDENT'S CORNER

By Norris McDonald

This was a very good week.  Two very exciting events included 1) meeting two of my latest program partners in person: Wayne Hubbard and Candice Price of Urban American Outdoors and 2) opening a Seattle Office.  Wayne and Candice were in town for a meeting at The White House.

Wayne Hubbard, Candice Price, Norris McDonald

We had an excellent chat over lunch at our office.  We are trying to implement some very exciting programs together.  It is always refreshing when people want to work together for the greater good.

We also came to an agreement with Paris Yates to open an AAEA Office in Seattle, Washington.  The AAEA Seattle Office will cover environmental issues in the Pacific Northwest.

Paris Yates

Paris was born and raised in Seattle Washington. Over the past two decades, Yates has worked at local government and state parks departments operating and maintaining parks and recreation grounds and facilities. He has also worked with local community leaders and environmental agencies volunteering for projects designed to get residential people of color involved in their natural environment and access to federal environmental incentives. Yates holds an A.A.S. in Horticulture from South Seattle Community College and a B.A. in Environmental Studies from The Evergreen State College. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

East Harlem Natural Gas Explosion

Two Manhattan apartment buildings exploded on Wednesday in East Harlem and the death toll currently stands at seven people with many others missing.  A gas leak-triggered the explosion that reduced the area to a pile of smashed bricks, splinters and mangled metal.  The explosion injured more than 60 people, with searchers still trying to locate others.   The site is at Park Avenue and 116th Street and the blast erupted at about 9:30 a.m., around 15 minutes after a neighboring resident reported smelling gas. The Con Edison utility said it immediately sent workers to check out the report, but they didn't arrive until it was too late.

   
A tenant in one of the destroyed buildings said residents had complained to the landlord about smelling gas as recently as Tuesday.  A few weeks ago city fire officials were called about the odor, which was so bad that a tenant on the top floor broke open the door to the roof for ventilation.
   
The fire department said a check of its records found no instances in the past month in which tenants of the two buildings reported gas odors or leaks.

Con Ed said there was only one gas odor complaint on record with the utility from either address, and it was last May, at the building next door to Borrero's. It was a small leak in customer piping and was fixed.
   
Con Ed said it remains to be seen whether the leak was in a company main or in customer-installed inside plumbing. The gas main that serves the area was made of plastic and cast iron, and the iron dated to 1887.
   
Age is not in and of itself an issue with cast iron. Con Edison has a cast iron replacement program and the pipe was not slated to be removed in the next three-year period.

A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) team is investigating. The agency investigates pipeline accidents in addition to transportation disasters.  The NTSB team investigators will be looking at how Con Edison handles reports of gas odors and issues with the pipe and will be constructing a timeline of events.  (AP, NECN, 3/12/2014)

Monday, March 03, 2014

New York City Council Environmental Justice Hearing

PRESIDENT'S CORNER

By Norris McDonald

AAEA New York Director Dan Durett and I testified at the New York City Council Committee on Environmental Protection on Friday, February 28, 2014.  The title of the hearing was: "Oversight - Air quality impacts and ways to measure and address them in NYC environmental justice communities."  The committee has a new chairman, Donovan Richards, and apparently a refreshing new interest in examining environmental justice issues in New York City.

Donovan Richards, Norris McDonald

AAEA - NY is promoting a New York City Environemental Justice Act that would provide protection for environmental justice communities. AAEA derived the legislation from a draft of the National Environmental Justice Act [at the link behind the NY EJ Act].

It was an incredible four hour hearing.  Stakeholders from throughout the city testified to the need for protection from disproportionate pollution.  Leading environmental justice activists presented the chair and committee with testimonial after testimonial about the vulnerability and lack of protection from pollution. 

The first panel included the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Carter Strickland and New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Assistant Commissioner Thomas Matte. 



My testimony focused on asthma and AAEA New York Office Director Dan Durett's testimony focused on pollution sites.

Hearing video [AAEA appearance begins at 2:20.50]             

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

EPA 20th Anniversary Ceremony for EJ Executive Order

There was an excellent program at EPA Headquarters today in the Rachel Carson Green Room that celebrated the 20th anniversay of the signing of the Presidential Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice:  "Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations."   President Bill Clinton signed the order on February 11th, 2014.



Congressman John Lewis was recognized for his groundbreaking work in the area of environmental justice.  He and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy gave excellent speeches to the packed room.



The event recognized past environmental justice leaders, to focus on the next generation.  The event highlighted how America can address many of the environmental justice challenges over the next 20 years.


The Executive Order directs federal agencies to make environmental justice part of their missions by identifying and addressing disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of their programs, policies, and activities on minority, low-income populations. The Order is intended to promote nondiscrimination in federal programs substantially affecting human health and the environment. The Order also provides minority and low-income communities access to public information and an opportunity to participate in matters relating to human health or the environment. The Presidential Memorandum accompanying the Order underscores certain provisions of existing law that can help ensure that all communities and people across this nation live in a safe and healthy environment.

On February 10th, 2014, President Obama released a proclamation acknowledging the anniversary of the executive order. The proclamation is much more than a purely symbolic gesture. It is a very visible statement from the White House firmly re-committing this Administration's dedication to making sure that we, "live up to the promise that here in America, no matter who you are or where you come from, you can pursue your dreams in a safe and just environment."  (EPA)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

American Association of Blacks In Energy Annual Conference


The American Association of Blacks in Energy invites interested parties to attend the 37th Annual American Association of Blacks National Conference. The Conference features an interactive professional leadership sessions, town hall seminar, scholarship luncheon, awards gala, Career Fair and booth exhibits.

Please forward this information to your members and contacts.
 
AABE National Conference - April 8-11 in Houston, TX
 
The Annual American Association of Blacks in Energy Conference is set for April 8-11, at the Hilton Americas Houston Hotel.

The national conference attracts leaders from around the U.S. who work or have interests in the utility industry specifically the oil and gas, petroleum, solar, wind, biomass energy, electricity, nuclear, pipeline and hydrogenation energy arena.

This conference will feature nationally renowned sought after speakers who tackle tough issues regarding platforms in the energy industry.

REGISTRATION -  http://aabeconferences.org/2014/ 
 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Pro-Nuclear Environmentalists Refuse To Recognize AAEA Role in Promoting Nuclear Power

PRESIDENT'S CORNER

By Norris McDonald

AAEA was the first environmental group to support nuclear power in the United States.  I was the first environmentalist in the United States to support nuclear power.  This support started in 2000 and continues to this day.  But you would never know that if you listened to environmentalists who followed in my footsteps.  The white environmentalists casually and routinely recognize each other, but somehow manage to exclude mention of AAEA or me.  Other environmentalists started coming out in support of nuclear power around 2005.  By then, I had carved a significant path of supporting nuclear power, from testifying at NRC hearings and meetings to touring nuclear power plants all over the United States.

I isolated Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York right away as the central domino of the anti-nuclear movement.  If this plant could be closed, the other dominoes would fall too.  I spoke all over New York, from the New York City Council to churches to county and civic meetings to the New York State legislature to the National Governor's Association to national and international forums.  AAEA currently has full party status in the water permit adjudication and I intend to assure that Indian Point Energy Center gets its water permit(s) and license renewal(s).  I also testified at the water permit hearing for the James Fitzpatrick nuclear plant in upstate New York.  They received their water permit(s) and license renewal. 

I toured the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor facility 40 miles northwest of Beijing in China in 2007.  And I toured the Daya Bay nuclear facility in Guangdong, China.  I toured France's newest nuclear plant in Civaux, France and toured France's LaHague reprocessing facility near Normandy in 2007.  I toured Yucca Mountain in 2005.  I have toured 12 nuclear power plants throughout the United States, China and France.  All of this before most environmentalists ever publicly supported nuclear power. But do they recognize AAEA's groundbreaking work?  No.  In fact, they go out of their way to avoid recognizing AAEA's work.

Why?  And I have to be brutal here. It is part of the environmental movement's ethic of elitism and racism.  They exclude blacks in hiring and in their distribution of resources.  Plus, they thought (think) that support might lead to notoriety and financial benefits if nuclear power is adopted as a significant global warming mitigation tool. 

AAEA has led the documentation of this elitism and racism.  The old school environmentalists relish this elistist status and give lip service to diversity.  They are privately very proud of their elitism.  And very good at denying their racism.  They like to hear minorities whine about their exclusivity (as I am doing right now).  Even new school environmentalists and a recent film are intent upon keeping AAEA and me invisible on the nuclear scene.  I suspect they want us to stay in the Negro energy sections of weatherization, green jobs and renewable energy.

Ahhh.  That felt good.  I have been meaning to get that off my chest for some time.  Oh, and nuclear power is an environmental justice issue.  The emission free nature of nuclear power mitigates air pollution issues in environmental justice communities.  {Videos} [More Videos]

Oh?  So it's not just me:

Saturday, February 15, 2014

New York City Councilman Donovan Richards

New Chairman of the New York City Council Committee on Environmental Protection


Donovan Richards
Donovan Richards is a Democratic New York City Council member from the borough of Queens representing New York City’s 31st District.  During June 2011, Donovan Richards became the chief of staff for New York City Councilmand James Sanders. After Sanders was elected to the New York State Senate, Richards was elected to the New York City Council during a 2013 special election.

Incumbent Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) — who won a special election in February for the southeast Queens seat vacated by his mentor, state Sen. James Sanders (D-Jamaica) — won his first term in City Hall with 92 percent of Tuesday’s vote. Richards had the second-largest number of votes among the borough's council races with 17,226. (Wiki, Facebook)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Calvin G. Butler Jr. to Become BGE CEO

Calvin G. Butler, Jr.
Baltimore Gas and Electric announced Feb. 12 that Calvin G. Butler will become the chief executive officer of the Central Maryland-based company. With current CEO and President Kenneth W. DeFontes Jr.’s retirement becoming official on Feb. 28 after 42 years, Butler will move up from his current position as BGE’s senior vice president of regulatory and external affairs.

Stephen J. Woerner, who currently serves as senior vice president and chief operating officer, will become president while keeping his COO title.

Prior to managing BGE’s legislative business and playing middleman for the company’s corporate relationships and communications, Butler, an attorney, was senior vice president of corporate affairs for Exelon.

He also managed compensation and benefits for roughly 19,000 Exelon employees while strategizing on how to increase performance and push development as the company’s senior vice president of human resources.

Butler was key in the merging of BGE’s former parent company, Constellation Energy, with Exelon Corps in March 2012.

After graduating from law school, the St. Louis native went to work as in-house legal counsel for the Central Illinois Light Company. A 27-year-old Butler was soon aiding in the deregulation of the Illinois energy business, making it possible for residents to take their energy needs to the utility company of their choosing. (Afro American, 2/12/2014)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

CASEnergy Coalition Appoints Ron Kirk as New Co-Chair

AAEA is delighted about this appointment.

Ron Kirk
Ambassador Ron Kirk, former U.S. Trade Representative and mayor of Dallas, has been named co-chair of the Clean and Safe Energy (CASEnergy) Coalition. Kirk joins former EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman, who has served as the coalition’s co-chair since its 2006 launch.
In his role as the CASEnergy Coalition Co-Chair, Kirk will provide perspectives on how electricity choices impact local communities, and how investments in advanced energy technologies today will better prepare America to compete in the global marketplace.

Kirk is currently Senior of Counsel for Dallas-based Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher with a focus on strategic advice pertaining to global interests.

His leadership as U.S. Trade Representative under President Obama will help provide policy leaders and other audiences a broader understanding of the role nuclear energy plays in creating and sustaining American jobs. The global market for nuclear energy trade is estimated at $500 billion to $750 billion over the next decade.

Kirk served as the mayor of Dallas from 1995 to 2001. He was the city’s first African American mayor, and he led the city to garner more than $3.5 billion in new investment and created 45,000 new jobs. (CASEnergy Coalition)


About Clean and Safe Energy Coalition

The Clean and Safe Energy Coalition is a national grassroots coalition that promotes the economic and environmental benefits of nuclear energy as part of a clean energy portfolio. The coalition is comprised of more than 3,400 members across the business, environmental, academic, consumer, minority, and labor communities. To learn more about the coalition, please visit www.CleanSafeEnergy.org, follow us on Twitter @CASEnergy, and checkout theirr blog, Clean Energy Buzz.

For more information please contact:

The Clean and Safe Energy Coalition
(202) 338-2273
Media@CASEnergy.org

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Presidential Proclamation -- 20th Anniversary of Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice


20TH ANNIVERSARY OF EXECUTIVE ORDER 12898
ON ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

- - - - - - -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

 
A PROCLAMATION

Two decades ago, President William J. Clinton directed the Federal Government to tackle a long-overlooked problem. Low-income neighborhoods, communities of color, and tribal areas disproportionately bore environmental burdens like contamination from industrial plants or landfills and indoor air pollution from poor housing conditions. These hazards worsen health disparities and reduce opportunity for residents -- children who miss school due to complications of asthma, adults who struggle with medical bills. Executive Order 12898 affirmed every American's right to breathe freely, drink clean water, and live on uncontaminated land. Today, as America marks 20 years of action, we renew our commitment to environmental justice for all.

Because we all deserve the chance to live, learn, and work in healthy communities, my Administration is fighting to restore environments in our country's hardest-hit places. After over a decade of inaction, we reconvened an Environmental Justice Interagency Working Group and invited more than 100 environmental justice leaders to a White House forum. Alongside tribal governments, we are working to reduce pollution on their lands. And to build a healthier environment for every American, we established the first-ever national limits for mercury and other toxic emissions from power plants.

While the past two decades have seen great progress, much work remains. In the years to come, we will continue to work with States, tribes, and local leaders to identify, aid, and empower areas most strained by pollution. By effectively implementing environmental laws, we can improve quality of life and expand economic opportunity in overburdened communities. And recognizing these same communities may suffer disproportionately due to climate change, we must cut carbon emissions, develop more homegrown clean energy, and prepare for the impacts of a changing climate that we are already feeling across our country.

As we mark this day, we recall the activists who took on environmental challenges long before the Federal Government acknowledged their needs. We remember how Americans -- young and old, on college campuses and in courtrooms, in our neighborhoods and through our places of worship -- called on a Nation to pursue clean air, water, and land for all people. On this anniversary, let us move forward with the same unity, energy, and passion to live up to the promise that here in America, no matter who you are or where you come from, you can pursue your dreams in a safe and just environment.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim February 11, 2014, as the 20th Anniversary of Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice. I call upon all Americans to observe this day with programs and activities that promote environmental justice and advance a healthy, sustainable future.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this tenth day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.

BARACK OBAMA

 

 
February 11, 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of President Clinton's
 signing of Executive Order 12898, "Federal Actions to Address
Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income
 Populations." EPA's Administrator, Gina McCarthey, has declared
  February 2014 as Environmental Justice Month at EPA, to
highlighting the agency's progress while also launching a
 yearlong effort to focus our environmental justice leadership
 and reaffirm our commitment to do even more. Throughout
 the year, tune in to EPA.gov to find out more about the great
 events that are going on across the country to commemorate
 this historic milestone, and to find out about the exciting
developments going on in EPA and across the government
 to advance environmental justice.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Position Available: Environmental Health News Climate Science Reporter

They are hiring!

@TheDailyClimate seeks experienced climate science reporter. 

Pls RT & send resumes to me at pdykstra@ehn.org

Peter Dykstra
Publisher
Environmental Health News
The Daily Climate
404-272-3304
Twitter: pdykstra

Friday, February 07, 2014

DOE Secretary Speaks at Hampton University

Ernest Moniz
Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz travelled to Hampton Roads, Va. on January 31st to highlight President Obama’s State of the Union address at Hampton University, one of the nation’s top historically black universities and a leader in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

The Secretary focused on President Obama’s State of the Union address and the Obama Administration’s commitment to making America a magnet for good jobs, business investment and innovation.

Below are excerpts of the Secretary’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
“As the President mentioned in the State of the Union, one of the best ways to grow the economy and create jobs is to prepare students with the skills necessary to succeed in our new economy - particularly in science, technology, engineering and math or ‘STEM.’”

Science and engineering has long been an important pathway for social mobility in this country – a ticket to the middle class and beyond for those willing to work hard and pursue the American dream. I happen to be proof of this American experience.”

We have to fund the schools and universities that give students these opportunities. We have to support mentors and teachers that help discover the next great scientific breakthrough – and inspire the next great generation of scientists. And we have to invest in the basic scientific infrastructure that has laid the groundwork for America to be a global leader in these fields.”

“This is an exciting time for the energy industry. Thanks to President Obama’s all-of-the-above approach to energy we have seen unprecedented growth in domestic energy production. For the first time in nearly two decades, the United States now produces more of our own oil here at home than we buy from other countries. Today, the United States is the number one natural gas producer in the world. And at the same time that we have seen dramatic increases in fossil fuel production, we have also doubled the amount of energy that we produce from solar and wind in the last five years.”

“The work that Hampton University does– both educating the next generation of scientists and engineers and helping to drive cutting edge research and innovation– helps to ensure that the United States remains competitive in today’s global economy.”
(DOE)

Notice: New York City Council Air Quality EJ Hearing




 
The New York City Council


Committee on Environmental Protection


Councilmember donovan richards, Chairman


 
REPORT of the Infrasturcture Division

Robert Newman, legislative director

TO:                              Invited Guests

FROM:                       Samara Swanston, Counsel to the

                                    Environmental Protection Committee

Re:      Air quality Impacts and ways to measure and address them in NYC environmental justice communities

Date: 2/28/14

Time: 1:p.m.

Location: 250 Broadway, 16th FL Committee Room

We would very much appreciate an opportunity to hear your ideas and perspectives on the above Oversight Hearing topic.

Please testify in person and it will be real time live streamed on Time Warner Channel 74 or submit comments in writing.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Blacks Outdoors

PRESIDENT'S CORNER

By Norris McDonald

There are other African American groups out there involved in outdoors activities.  There is the notion that Blacks aren't necessarily interested in the outback.  There is also the reality that Blacks have abandoned rural and outback experiences in favor of a sophisticated urban pathos.  Well the groups below are taking us back out there where we belong too.

Urban American Outdoors

Urban American Outdoors is the First Multicultural Outdoor TV show in the country. Celebrating our thirteenth year we are EMMY nominated and have won over 50 Broadcast Industry Awards representing the Outdoors Lifestyle.
 
Mission: To share the beauty of the Outdoors Lifestyle. To let everyone know that Outdoors belongs to all of us and everyone should be included in decisions concerning its healthy continuation for future generations.The Outdoors brand has always been represented by one viewpoint and we are here to promote inclusion and bring Diversity to the table to share all stories of the greatness of Outdoors.
 
Company Overview: Urban American Outdoors is produced by Urban American Productions based in Kansas City and is a MBE and WBE. The show is hosted and produced by businessman and avid outdoorsman Wayne Hubbard and Executive Producer Candice Price. The show airs across the US on various TV Affiliates and Internationally in Europe. The show depicts the Outdoors Lifestyle, Entertainment, Travel, Cultural History and Cooking.

Outdoor Afro

Outdoor Afro celebrates and inspires African American connections to nature.
        
Mission: Outdoor Afro uses social media and develops locally relevant leadership to create communities and events in nature.

They collaborate and partner with regional and national organizations that support diverse participation in the Great Outdoors.
Company Overview: Outdoor Afro is a community that supports reconnecting African-Americans with natural spaces and one another through recreational activities such as camping, hiking, biking, birding, fishing, gardening, skiing — and more!

African American National Parks Event

June 7th & 8th 2014, are the new dates for this event. Please mark your calendars.
 
Description: They are organizing a day when African Americans across the country will congregate in one of their local National Parks.This CALL TO ACTION is to show that African Americans do enjoy the outdoors and will work to protect and maintain our precious resources. There are numerous stories of African Americans forging history in our national parks, such as the Buffalo Soldiers and Colonel Charles Young. Let's make sure their stories continue to be told.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Heather McTeer Toney Named EPA Region 4 Administrator

Heather McTeer Toney
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy announced President Barack Obama's selection of Heather McTeer Toney as regional administrator for EPA's regional office in Atlanta. EPA Region 4 includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and six tribal nations.Ms. McTeer Toney was the first African-American and first female to serve as the Mayor of Greenville, Mississippi, holding that post from 2004-2012. She joins EPA from Mississippi Valley State University, where she is the Executive Director of the Center for Excellence in Student Learning. She is also the Principal Attorney at Heather McTeer, PLLC.

Ms. McTeer Toney's private-sector success is complemented by considerable experience in local and state politics. She began her career working as a member of McTeer and Associates Law Firm and handled a diverse group of cases ranging from racial discrimination to medical malpractice. Later she served as the President of the National Conference of Black Mayors and in 2009, was nominated by former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, to serve as the Chairwoman of the Local Government Advisory Committee.

Previously she was president of START Strategies & Consulting Group. She serves as one of the National Spokeswomen for She Should Run!, and is the State Director for the Political Institute for Women. Heather appeared regularly on Women for Progress Radio 90.1 in Jackson, MS. Heather is an expert with SheSource, a publication of the Women’s Media Center.

McTeer has received numerous award and honors. She has appeared on news outlets such as CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and C-Span. She has been featured in the Washington Post, Jackson Clarion Ledger, Jet Magazine, Essence Magazine and the Mississippi Business Journal. She is also a published author in Voices of Historical and Contemporary Black American Pioneers Vol. 2. McTeer was featured in the May 2005 issue of Essence Magazine as one of the “50 Most Remarkable Women in the World.” She was featured in the November 2011 issue of Marie Claire magazine as the “Top Politician” in their annual “Women On Top” awards. She was also recognized by Black Entertainment Television (BET) as a “Black Woman In Politics That Rock!” Most recently, Heather is included in the PBS/AOL documentary entitled “MAKERS”, where she appears alongside noted women such as Hilary Clinton and Condalizza Rice.

Heather received her undergraduate degree from Spelman College and her law degree from Tulane University Law School.  Heather enjoys reading, running and is the MS Delta Run coordinator for Black Girls Run! MS Chapter. She is an active member of New Living Way Christian Fellowship church in Greenville, MS.  She is married to Dexter Toney and they have two children.

EPA regional administrators are responsible for managing the Agency's regional activities under the direction of the EPA administrator. They promote state and local environmental protection efforts and serve as a liaison to government officials. (EPA Press Release, Linkedin)

Job Available: The Conservation Fund Major Gifts Manager

Major Gifts Manager

The Conservation Fund, headquartered in Arlington, VA, seeks a dynamic fundraiser with a minimum of 3-5 years experience to create, manage and implement donor strategies for a large portfolio of major donors.  Will work collaboratively with field staff to research, cultivate, solicit and steward significant contributions.  Assists Vice President of Development and President with select donor relationships.

The ideal candidate will have excellent communication skills and the ability to work with all types of people.  A bachelor’s degree in a related field is preferred.  Must be able to work long hours and/or weekends from time-to-time.  Some overnight travel required.  This position will be located in the Philadelphia/New York corridor.

For additional information, visit our website at www.conservationfund.org.  We offer a great benefits package including, medical/dental insurance, 403(b), educational assistance and vacation/sick leave.  Qualified/interested candidates should send their resume and cover letter with salary requirements to:

The Conservation Fund

E-mail:  careers@conservationfund.org

Fax:  (703) 525-4610

EOE

 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Issues Voting Record

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights today released vote ratings for every member of the Congress for the First Session of the 113th Congress. The Voting Record, which has been published for every Congress since 1969, reflects positions taken by every senator and representative on the legislative priorities of The Leadership Conference and its more than 200 coalition members.

Members of Congress were graded on 13 House and 19 Senate votes taken through December 2013 addressing important civil rights protections, as well as jobs, the budget, education, immigration reform, judicial and executive branch nominations, violence against women, and more.

The publication of the Voting Record is accompanied by the 2014 edition of the Civil Rights Monitor, a review of the year’s civil and human rights issues published by The Leadership Conference’s sister organization, The Leadership Conference Education Fund. This edition, which focuses heavily on the Supreme Court, brings substantive commentary on voting rights, equal opportunity in college admissions, immigration reform, judicial and executive nominations, education, financial reform, and much more.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals.

The Leadership Conference Education Fund builds public will for federal policies that promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. The Education Fund's campaigns empower and mobilize advocates around the country to push for progressive change in the United States.

For more information on The Leadership Conference and The Leadership Conference Education Fund, visit www.civilrights.org.   (Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Press Release)

Friday, January 17, 2014

5,900 Natural Gas Leaks Discovered Under Washington, D.C

A Dozen Locations Had Concentrations High Enough to Trigger Explosion

More than 5,893 leaks from aging natural gas pipelines have been found under the streets of Washington, D.C. by a research team from Duke University and Boston University.



A dozen of the leaks could have posed explosion risks. Some manholes had methane concentrations as high as 500,000 parts per million of natural gas -- about 10 times greater than the threshold at which explosions can occur.
Repairing these leaks will improve air quality, increase consumer health and safety, and save money.

Nationally, natural gas pipeline failures cause an average of 17 fatalities, 68 injuries, and $133 million in property damage annually, according to the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

In addition to the explosion hazard, natural gas leaks also pose another threat: Methane, the primary ingredient of natural gas, is a powerful greenhouse gas that also can catalyze ozone formation. Pipeline leaks are the largest human-caused source of methane in the United States and contribute to $3 billion of lost and unaccounted for natural gas each year.


Researchers from Boston University and Gas Safety, Inc., mapped gas leaks under all 1,500 road miles within Washington using a high-precision Picarro G2301 Cavity Ring-Down Spectrometer installed in a GPS-equipped car. Laboratory analyses then confirmed that the isotopic chemical signatures of the methane and ethane found in the survey closely matched that of pipeline gas.

The average methane concentration observed in the leaks was about 2.5 times higher than in background air samples collected in the city. Methane levels in some leaks were as high as 89 parts per million, about 45 times higher than normal background levels.

Last year, the team mapped more than 3,300 natural-gas pipeline leaks beneath 785 road miles in the city of Boston. The average density of leaks mapped in the two cities is comparable, but the average methane concentrations are higher in Washington.

The new study comes at a time when the nation's aging pipeline infrastructure is generating increased legislative attention. Last November, Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced two new bills to speed up the replacement of natural gas pipelines in states with older infrastructures by offering new federal programs and incentives to help defray the costs associated with the repairs. (Science Daily, 1/16/2014)

Elite Green Groups Challenge President Obama on Climate Change

PRESIDENT'S CORNER

By Norris McDonald

The large, rich, elite environmental groups sent a letter to President Obama condemning his belief in an 'all of the above' energy strategy.  They also condemned any approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.  We support President Obama's 'all of the above' energy strategy because it makes sense in the real world.  Also, the Keystone XL pipeline is already operating and the Canadian tarsands will be developed (and transported via rail) regardless of whether the proposed shortcut part of the pipeline is approved by the Obama administration.  Ignore them President Obama.  You are the strongest global warming mitigation president in history and these groups are still complaining.

Also big media like The Washington Post, and particularly reporters like Juliet Eilperin, restrict alternative environmental viewpoints by exclusively reporting the agenda of the elite groups.  It is a disservice to the public for such big media outlets to strictly endorse only one particular viewpoint when it comes to environmental public policy.  In essence, big media is rejecting dissenting viewpoints and is serving as a biased conduit for elite environmental groups to dominate the discussion.

America is an energy consuming nation.  We believe in the efficient use of natural resources.  We also believe that climate change is best addressed via technology solutions instead of 'banning fossil fuels' the way the rich groups recommend.  They can afford a world where energy is very expensive and unavailable.  Many of the rest of us cannot.

We are proposing two strategies to address global warming: 1) Defense Energy Reservations (DER) and 2) Energy Defense Reservations (EDR).  The DER leads with renewables implementation under a Presidential Executive Order to 'Declare War on global warming and a Congressional 'Declaration of War' on global warming.  The EDR proposes to utilize nuclear power and oxycombustion of coal in a process that produces hydrogen via steam cracking or hydrolysis for a hydrogen economy and converting CO2 into diesel fuel.

Although expensive, and any 'solution' to global warming will be expensive, we believe these technological solutions are more practical than banning the use of fossil fuels.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

National Harbor Capital Ferris Wheel

Artist's rendering/Brown Craig Turner Architects + Designers

National Harbor developer Milt Peterson envisons a $15 million brightly lit 175-foot-tall Ferris wheel offering visitors 12- to 15-minute rides on the Potomac River.


A look at the scale of the planned ferris wheel in D.C.
Scale of the planned ferris wheel

 
Click Here to View Full Graphic Story

Peterson envisions the attraction, easily visible from flights arriving at or departing from Reagan National Airport, becoming as much a part of region’s skyline as the Washington Monument or U.S. Capitol. In mid-2016, it will be joined by a $925 million MGM resort and casino.   The attractions will be part of the $4 billion playground known as National Harbor, seven miles south of the District in Prince George’s County.

AAEA supports the Capital Wheel.  The Army Corps of Engineers will have to issue a permit for the ferris wheel.
 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wayne Hubbard

Wayne Hubbard
Wayne Hubard is the host/producer of the Urban American Outdoors (UAO), which is the first multicultural Outdoor Lifestyle TV show in the country.

UAO is an EMMY nominated award winning TV program that first aired in 2003 and shares the outdoors from a different perspective.


According to Hubbard:
"We bring it to you like you have never seen it done before. Our show is always entertaining and different, you never know quite what to expect. So stay tuned!"
The show is airing across the country on various TV affiliates and Overseas. UAO has been on air since 2003, is EMMY Nominated and has won over 50 Broadcast Industry Awards.  Hubbard has also created a spin off cooking show "Urban Soul Wild" featuring Celebrity Chef Kevin Kimbrough.




Along with hosting and producing duties, they sponsor free annual outdoor kid events that has serviced over 51,000 youth in the past 7 years and provide food to families in need in the community.

Hubbard is organizing annual Urban Outdoor Summits that celebrate and inform people in regards to the Outdoors Industry.  Hubbard consult on diversity and inclusion in regards to connecting to underserved markets. He want to continue to connect people to nature to help improve their lives and health.  His specialties: Outdoors Lifestyle & Adventure, Media, Diversity & Inclusion Consulting. (LinkedIn)