Friday, July 13, 2007

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Promotes Environmental Justice

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is in the early stages of supporting environmental justice by promoting alternative energy research and development at historically black colleges and universities. The Chamber is also examining strategies for minority entrepreneurs to participate in the commercialization of alternative technologies. At a recent luncheon cosponsored by the Chamber and the National Small Town Alliance (NTSA) participants discussed how to prepare minority students for gainful careers in the alternative energy production field. A variety of energy sectors are being discussed, including ethanol and other biofuels, wind, solar, nuclear (new designs), fuel cells, hydrogen, clean coal, sequestration and ocean generation, among others.

The NTSA is assembling a team of organizations, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority Serving Instututions (MSIs), industry executives and federal officials to create an HBCU/MSI Alternative Energy Production Consortium (AEPC). The Consortium will concentrate on expanding research and development activities at HBCU/MSIs and commercialization opportunities for minority entrepreneurs.

This 21st Century brand of environmental justice seeks to reduce our dependence on imported oil, assist in the mitigation of negative atmospheric impacts, provide alternatives to reduce disproportionate pollution impacts on vulnerable communities, provide educational opportunities to students interested in alternative energy technologies and encourage more minority participation in the alternative energy sector. Phase one planning was accomplished at the June 28th luncheon. A larger meeting in the fall will address implementation of the Phase I recommenations. Photo: June 28 Meeting at the U.S. Chamer of Commerce

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