Harry Alford, left, is president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) and he recently wrote an article in The Washington Informer entitled, "Environmental Justice: The New "White Man's Burden," where he states:
"Environmental justice is the biggest sham in modern day political leadership. It addresses "minority communities" and presents itself as the protector of them. Never mind about civil rights aka economic development, job creation and proactive policy. Environmental Justice seeks to limit progress in minority communities via inertia through excess regulation, bureaucracy and adverse policy in regards to infrastructure and economic progress. It acts like it is there to protect us from evil corporate America and young and new Black entrepreneurs. It demands to stop all industrial activity and progress that might cause another economic shift in the demographics of our communities."Alford believes that environmental justice legislation in Congress will erode civil rights enforcement by shifting the focus from the Justice Department to the Environmental Protection Agency. The legislation was introduced by Representative Hilda Solis (H.R. 1103) and by Senators Dick Durbin (S. 642) and Hillary Clinton (S. 2549) and will codify the original Clinton Exectuve Order 12898 establishing environmental justice policies in the Executive Branch. Alford continues:
"This would put the Justice Department's responsibilities for civil rights enforcement further into the hole. It would shift to the Environmental Protection Agency. From the US Deparment of Justice (the laws of the land) to the EPA, a quasi agency for the environment and not civil rights, this is so counter to real civil rights enforcement. Our economic future will whither on the vine. Once again, they will order the Congressional Black Caucus to step aside and the Civil Rights Community to turn a blind eye and accept federal grants ("30 pieces of silver" ala Judas). The diversion is creating a formidable infrastructure if we allow this to go on. It's time for new leadership and a return to the tried and proven Civil Rights Act enforcement."