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GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE

CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY BY: HARRY C. ALFORD, PRESIDENT & CEO,

NATIONAL BLACK CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, INC.

PRESENTED TO: HOUSE COMMITTEE ON SMALL BUSINESS. HONORABLE JAMES M. TALENT, CHAIRMAN

PRESENTED ON: JUNE 4TH, 1998

My name is Harry C. Alford. I am the President and CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc. located at 2000 L St. NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20036, Tel. 202-416-1622, FAX 202-416-1722.

Mr. Chairman, honorable members of the Committee, thanks for inviting the NBCC to participate in this very important discussion on Global Climate Change. God has given us just one Earth and it is the responsibility and obligation of every official, organization and business to ensure that the future of our planet is safe and secure.

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The NBCC, incorporated in May 1993, is a trade association with 180 affiliated chapters throughout the nation. Our chapters and direct members represent over 64,000 Black owned businesses, which are approximately 10% of the national total. Our mission is to enhance the economic empowerment of Black neighborhoods and communities through business development, the creation of a thorough understanding of entrepreneurship and the full utilization of the great American capitalistic system. This is no small task. Blacks only account for 1% of the total sales by small businesses in this nation while representing 14% of the population. Black Enterprise magazine just reported. June 1998, that the BE 100 companies experienced a 9% decrease in sales during 1997 despite it being one of the greatest economic growth periods ever experienced in this century by mainstream businesses.

The key to dramatically reducing crime, poverty, poor health, low education and unemployment in Black urban communities is jobs via business development and economic growth. There is no substitute and it is the charge of the NBCC to educate our masses to this American fact and to advocate good business regulations, laws and practices.

We have reviewed the Kyoto Protocol and what our Administration has pledged in terms of this nation's commitment. We have a serious concern about the effects this commitment is going to have on our urban communities. To say that we are targeting the reduction of "greenhouse gasses” by 7% below 1990 levels during a “commitment period” between the years 2008 and 2012 is tantamount to declaring current urban areas "economic deserts”. Is this actually necessary?

A typical NBCC business did not operate in 1990. The particular growth patterns for Black owned business would show a doubling in population from the years 2000 versus 1990. The year 2010 will perhaps show an increase of 500% versus 1990. In essence, to achieve the proposed reductions we will have to require a forced suppression of Black owned business development and a continuation of the 20% + unemployment rates many of our urban areas experience today. It is not fair and why should the Black business community pay an inordinate cost for this initiative?

It is not uncommon for our urban, particularly Black communities, to pay for environmental initiatives at a disproportionate rate. There are 525,000 Brownfield sites in this nation and most are in urban communities. Please keep in mind that urban communities are the venue for 98 percent of all Black-owned businesses.

What is the scientific rationale behind the administration's commitment? A growing body of economic studies demonstrate that any U.S. effort to significantly limit energy use through taxes, caps or limits on “greenhouse gas” emissions, as proposed by the Administration, would slow economic growth, cost hundreds of thousands of American jobs, especially in urban areas seeking to revitalize, and would further reduce or delay investments in more energy-efficient technologies or facilities.

We see mandatory constraints on fossil fuel use would raise the cost of monthly electricity, heating and cooling bills: limit personal mobility; and could seriously disrupt urban economies and our lives, as did gasoline lines and high energy prices did in the 1970's and early 1980's. Constraints on energy use would be particularly harmful to those Black-owned businesses seeking to enter the marketplace; as well as individuals on fixed incomes, those living in rural areas and/or who are otherwise dependent on personal transportation for work and other worthwhile social activities, and those Black-owned businesses who depend on transportation to compete effectively against their foreign counterparts as a result of higher fuel costs.

Why should we exempt developing nations from participating in any commitment? It is ludicrous for the United States to offer itself as a heavy participant in the reduction of "greenhouse gases” while nations such as China, India, Pakistan, Brazil, etc. can continue with “business as usual”. The effort to reduce the environmental dangers must be shared by all and in a fair manner.

Can we rely on the data and efforts made by developed nations? The Washington Post has reported (May 31, 1998) that our friendly neighbor, Canada, cannot be depended on actual reporting and living up to its commitment: “The reports also indicate that major development projects are not adequately reviewed for their effect on the environment and that federal departments are not doing enough to determine how Canada will meet its international commitments, such as the promise signed last year in Kyoto, Japan, to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases."

Can we rely on the accuracy and disclosure of the EPA? The NBCC is very disappointed in the EPA's track record on manipulating “race" as an issue to further its own objectives. We are engaged in redefining what “Environmental Justice“ actually is. The EPA has been too quick, and sometimes deceitful, when its screams “Environmental Racism”. Evidence of this was printed May 28. 1998, in the Detroit News: “The Environmental Protection Agency ignored some of its own ethnic population studies in pushing to link environmentalism and racial discrimination, internal documents show. The documents, obtained by The Detroit News, concluded that whites were more likely than blacks to live around highly polluted sites on the nation's “Superfund” priority cleanup list. That study never reached the highest levels of the agency as it developed its “environmental justice" policy, and has never been made public.... The next year, the agency completed an exhaustive survey of the racial demographics around every one of the 1,234 polluted “Superfund” sites in the country. Again, the study failed to find evidence that would bolster the agency's drive to meld civil rights laws into environmental regulations. Again, the agency shelved the report and never released the results."

The EPA has just released requirements for companies renewing permits to demonstrate that they are in compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The NBCC applauds this but also wants to know: WHEN WILL THE EPA GET IN COMPLIANCE WITH TITLE VI? The US Commission on Civil Rights found the agency in noncompliance during recent audits of federal agencies.

The NBCC dedicates itself to educating its members, constituents and others that there is no scientific reason for limits on “greenhouse gas” emissions. The economic implications for urban areas and specifically Black-owned businesses would lead to an increase in costs and lost jobs, as well as higher living expenses in terms of such essential items as housing, food and clothing. We support climate policies that are balanced and cost effective, and that do not unfairly burden Black-owned businesses and the citizens of a particular urban area or community, state or country.

We urge the Administration to reconsider its commitment to the Protocol, which was set in Kyoto. The United States should not be a signatory to any protocol or other agreement regarding “greenhouse gas” emissions unless the protocol or other agreement also mandates new specific scheduled commitments to limit or reduce “greenhouse gas” emissions for developing countries within the same compliance period. At no time should this result in significant job loss or serious harm to the economy of the United States.

Thank you once again for this opportunity.

Statement of Fredrick Dahlberg
Representing the National Association of Manufacturers

Before the
Committee on Small Business of the U.S. House of Representatives

June 4, 1998

on the

Kyoto Protocol to the Convention on Global Climate Change

Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. I am Fredrick Dahlberg, chairman and CEO of St. Mary Galvanizing Company, Inc., of St. Mary Parish, Louisiana. I have built up a profitable small business with strong local and regional ties. My gross sales in 1997 were approximately $3 million. I employ 30 workers with a total annual payroll of $750,000 and buy $250,000 annually in goods and services from local venders. I also pay about $160,000 in federal, state and local taxes annually, excluding income taxes. To create this wealth, my workers and I galvanize steel, primarily for offshore oil and gas facilities, and for petrochemical and oil refining facilities onshore.

This morning I am proud to represent the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the nation's oldest and largest broad-based industrial trade association. Its 14,000 member companies and subsidiaries, including approximately 10,000 small manufacturers (of which I am proud to be one), produce about 85 percent of U.S. manufactured goods. Through its member companies and affiliated associations, the NAM represents every industrial sector and more than 18 million employees.

At the outset, let me be clear that the NAM recognizes that many members of the public, many scientists and many politicians are concerned

that man-made greenhouse gas emissions should be reduced. Accordingly, while much uncertainty exists about the science and the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions, NAM believes that American industry's unrelenting voluntary efforts to become ever more efficient in a globally competitive market, including increasing energy efficiency, will have the effect of reducing U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions. Additionally, we support the following environmental and energy efficiency objectives:

(1) Seek market opportunities, as well as identify impediments, for

earlier and wider applications of existing energy-efficient, low

emitting technologies;
(2) Identify international trade barriers and opportunities for

exporting clean, energy-efficient U.S. technology; and
(3) Conduct research and development for new technologies and

processes to increase energy efficiency resulting in cleaner

processes.

The NAM believes, however, that the Kyoto Protocol to the Convention on Global Climate Change is inherently flawed in its omission of the developing countries and, therefore, will damage the U.S. economy without achieving the desired environmental benefits. Accordingly, the NAM strongly opposes the Kyoto Protocol and any attempts by the Administration to mandate greenhouse-gas emission reductions in the absence of Senate ratification of the Protocol and/or enactment of specific authorizing statutes.

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