OPINION – The environmental activist community slowly started during the Nixon administration. It morphed into a replacement for the anti-Vietnam War movement. Groups such as the Sierra Club and Greenpeace saw a new angle to this. They wanted to recruit the civil rights activists into this cause. I remember Attorney General Janet Reno (in the Clinton administration) declaring to seek environmental justice. The groups quickly changed this to environmental racism. They are basically the same thing. The former says things are unequal in the fair implementation of environmental stewardship. The latter states the reason for the inequity.
We started looking into this since it was an incredible charge. After about a year of researching, surveying and interviewing people in authority, we came to the conclusion that to say violating environmental regulations or laws was solely the cause of racial hatred was a bit extreme. In fact, it was a ploy to put fear into people and gain support against targeted corporations.
The National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) decided to challenge such claims and actually demand proof. Hearings after hearings, debates after debates and speeches at various conventions soon turned the tide. The late Arthur A. Fletcher, when he chaired the Office of Civil Rights, did a review of the Environmental Protection Agency and found it to be, in fact, in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Thus, it was the “kettle calling the skillet black.” The poverty pimps and other extremists soon backed off and started looking for other causes.
Vice President Al Gore was outdone. He started a new approach. The problem wasn’t necessarily environment racism but global warming. That is what is happening and we are going to become endangered by it. He delivered speeches, held seminars and gathered many of the aforementioned individuals to start changing “global warming.” He is still shouting this today. Whenever there is a hurricane, big blizzard, drought, tornadoes, etc. there is Al Gore shouting global warming. He was even awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his “work” proving global warming exists. Recently, he has emerged again claiming Superstorm Sandy was the result of global warming.
Actually, there is no sound science to support the claims of global warming. If you look at the last 10 years, there has been a sizeable drop in hurricanes/cyclones around the world. When we had congressional hearings on the claim, they would always end in a demand for irrefutable proof, i.e. scientific data and facts. It would never come.
The EPA would and still does “cook their books” when doing surveys and holding panels. For example, they will organize a panel to provide input by representatives of various organizations. These representatives represent organizations or institutions that receive grants and even unsolicited financial support from the EPA. They aren’t going to cut off their funding so their statements are nothing but conflicts of interest.
They love to beat up on our federal government and the citizens of the United States, saying we are polluters of the world. However, they are reticent when it comes to noting the environmental recklessness of such nations as China, Russia, India, Brazil and other growing industrial nations. The truth is the United States has come a very long way in improving our carbon footprint. The Clean Air Act has been a success in limiting our pollution levels. The threat is coming from these growing industrial empires that don’t have a governmental agency trying to stop their growth.
The cap and trade bill that this current EPA was trying to force upon American industry would have been an economic catastrophe. We proved it to Congress that it was a job killer and a major transfer of wealth from the United States to foreign nations that could care less about our future. It was defeated and now the EPA is coming back with individual rules that are nothing but pieces of the cap and trade bill. They are trying to sneak it in without constitutional legislation.
In regards to climate change, that is a no brainer. Certainly the climate changes as time goes on – sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. So far, there is no pattern that seems to be very detrimental to our earth. There is an ebb and flow and it takes time to see any significant detrimental trend. It is like Stevie Wonder wrote, “When you believe in things you don’t understand; you suffer. Superstition ain’t the way.” Climate change is an important subject and we should constantly monitor these trends and interpret them with good and absolute data. Factual information will always trump scare tactics. There is no need to deliberately make us suffer and force noticeable pain on our lives and livelihoods.
By Harry C. Alford
Harry C. Alford is the co-founder, president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce®. Website: www.nationalbcc.org. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), known as the Black Press of America, is the federation of more than 200 Black community newspapers in the United States.