WASHINGTON - As winter weather already grips portions of the United States, the need for cheap and efficient power for heat and light is essential. Deneen Borelli, a fellow with the Project 21 black leadership network, points out that the Obama Administration's continued war on fossil fuels that is making the guarantee of a comfortable winter increasingly bleak for the nation's poorest citizens.
"With millions of Americans unemployed and struggling to keep their homes warm, the need for government assistance will only increase. Heavy demand and higher prices due to the Obama Administration's assault on the fossil fuels we rely upon are going to stretch charities to their limits and beyond," noted Project 21's Borelli. "It's disgraceful that the first black president and the first black EPA administrator are advancing policies that will preferentially harm blacks who overwhelmingly supported Obama."
In a speech in late November to the Aspen Institute, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson demonized the private sector and strongly defended the Obama Administration's decision to regulate "greenhouse gas" emissions without having specific Congressional authority to regulate these emissions.
Twisting the results of an October Gallup poll in which five percent of those surveyed said the government should have no role in environmental protection, Jackson claimed: "When it came to protecting the environment... 95 percent of Americans said government should have a role in protecting the environment. Fifty percent of Americans said government should be the only protector of the environment, indicating a lack of trust, if you will, in the private sector, not because the private sector is bad... but because the private sector is motivated by profit, and oftentimes without regulatory restrictions."
"By having the EPA regulate carbon emissions, Lisa Jackson is laying the foundation for the 2010 version of bread lines by supporting efforts that will raise energy costs," noted Project 21's Borelli. "It's outrageous that Jackson's policies will drive many low-income citizens to the government plantation."
The Congressional Research Service predicts this winter will cost the average American household $986 just for heat. Already, people are scrambling to find ways to keep warm:
* In Cobb County, Georgia, hundreds of people waited outside in freezing temperatures to apply for county heating assistance -- with two people having to be taken away by ambulance due to the cold. Applicant Deandre Marshall told WSB Radio that people in line were crying over the thought there would not be enough money for everyone, saying, "It's almost like being in a soup line during the Great Depression."
* By late November, over 8,000 households in St. Lawrence County, New York were approved for heating assistance, but county social services coordinator Linda Clark told North County Now that "everyone here is a little edgy" about the consistency of aid funding.
* John J. Drew, the president and CEO of Action for Boston Community Development said: "Washington's inaction on fuel aid, rising energy prices, a ruthless economy and the predicted severe winter" create a "perfect storm of conditions that will leave seniors and low-income working families in grave danger."
"Americans will suffer as a consequence of the Obama EPA's anti-energy agenda. They will experience reduced living standards and have less disposable income because of higher energy costs," noted Project 21's Borelli. "The EPA's plan to regulate carbon emissions would unfortunately result in still higher energy costs and more job losses. With unemployment officially hovering around ten percent, this is something our nation cannot afford."
A 2009 poll of 800 black Americans conducted by Wilson Research Strategies for the National Center for Public Policy Research -- the parent organization of Project 21 -- undercuts EPA administrator Jackson's claim on broad public support. Among the key findings of the National Center poll:
* Fifty-six percent of blacks believed those in Washington setting climate policy fail to properly consider economic and quality of life concerns in the black community.
* Fifty-two percent of respondents don't want to pay more for gasoline or electricity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Seventy-three percent are unwilling to pay more than 50 cents more for a gallon of gas, and 76 percent are unwilling to pay more than $50 more per year for electricity.
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives since 1992, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research