New NAACP report touts energy equity opportunities

Guest Blog | December 20, 2013 | Energy Justice, Energy Policy
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) released a new report this week,  Just Energy Policies,  profiling energy policies that can help reform energy production and use in the U.S., and highlighting the opportunities they provide to improve equity and economic growth in communities of color.

The report includes state summaries detailing which of these policies each state has in place. Not surprisingly, many of our southeastern states have the most room to improve, with Alabama and Tennessee at the bottom of the list.

NAACP’s leadership on this topic is pivotal for engaging communities of color in transforming energy policy. We’ve known for years that these communities are more likely to bear the burdens of energy production and use in our region and across the country. This report reinforces the reality that energy equity is a civil rights issue, and disproportionally-affected communities need to be involved in steering new energy policies that drive economic opportunities for all.

As highlighted in the report, “According to a 2010 study by the American Association of Blacks in Energy, while African Americans spent $41 billion on energy in 2009, they only held 1.1% of energy jobs and only gained .01% of the revenue from the energy sector profits.” This inequity has limited progress and adoption of key policies by many of the decision-making bodies across our region.

As we discussed in our past blog posts (here, here and here), energy equity is critical in building a clean energy economy. This report is a welcome challenge to all who are working to improve energy policy in this country and expand cleaner, just energy options. We look forward to expanding work with NAACP and more of their chapters in the region.    

“Climate change is a civil rights issue. We are seeing its impacts in our own communities in the form of record-breaking temperatures, floods, droughts, hurricanes, and the list goes on and on. When your children suffer from asthma and cannot go outside to play, as is the case for many in Atlanta, it is a civil rights issue. When unprecedented weather disasters devastate the poorest neighborhoods in places like New Orleans, New Jersey, and New York, it is a civil rights issue. When farmers in faraway lands cannot feed their families because the rains will no longer come, it is a civil rights issue. “

Dr. Gerald Durley, Pastor Emeritus, Providence Missionary Baptist Church and consultant to SACE

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