Monday, August 18, 2008

National Black Chamber Says EJ Limits Minority Progress

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."


Rechtsanwalt said...

I think this is a good step to introduce this legislation to avoid this dispute. This will help better in the resolution of the matters regarding the minorities.

Lucas Mills said...

I work for ShoreBank (, a Chicago (South Side) and Cleveland-based financial institution that focuses on a philosophy of environmental justice right in its mission statement. We lend our capital toward socially-responsible projects, the development of communities, green sector businesses, etc - and we've been doing so for over 35 years. We have invested more than $3.4 billion in the urban communities of Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit since our inception in 1973, specifically providing more than $415 million in community development and conservation loans in 2007. We’ve financed the purchase and renovation of more than 51,000 units of affordable housing and created more than 12,000 new jobs for local residents. I’m encouraged to see this kind of business practice spreading, and it’s great to know we’ve paved the way for other banks to realize that they too can be a part of bettering the world around them. Environmental justice CAN be good for communities and the bottom line.

PenMan said...

I have a question for Harry Alford: Why do people of color have to settle for toxic industries that one else wants as a means for economic improvement? Even if it is the case that these industries do not have the health effects that people fear (and I doubt this), they still cause land values to depress and they perpetuate poverty, and we all know what a blessing poverty is for the livelihoods of people.