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EPA Administrator, Michael S. Regan, Focused on Clean Air and Water for Communities of Color

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “The bipartisan infrastructure provides resources for our communities. There are matching grants and forgivable loans, which means more of our communities have an opportunity to compete for these grants,” said U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan. “We are also making $50 million available for technical assistance to help our communities to become more competitive. I’ve written a letter to every governor in the country outlining the criteria by which we believe those resources should be spent.”
The post EPA Administrator, Michael S. Regan, Focused on Clean Air and Water for Communities of Color first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael S. Regan remains on a journey to justice.

He said President Joe Biden’s historic bipartisan infrastructure bill provides an opportunity to finally rid America of poisonous lead pipes and free communities of color of the toxins that have polluted their neighborhoods for centuries.

“I’m the first Black man ever to lead this agency, the first to graduate from a historically Black college (North Carolina A&T) leading this agency,” said Regan, who made a special appearance on the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s live daily morning news program, “Let It Be Known.”

The program can be viewed on youtube.com/blackpressusatv, facebook.com/BlackPressUSA, and on Twitter @BlackPressUSA.

During a recent discussion with NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., Regan declared that the Biden-Harris administration is “passionate about the environment and public health.”

The bipartisan infrastructure law invests $3.5 billion in cleaning up superfund sites and addressing the nation’s legacy of pollution, he stated.

Regan said the law delivers more than $50 billion to EPA to improve America’s drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure.

Further, it provides $15 billion to the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) for Lead Service Line Replacement, $4 billion to the Drinking Water SRF for Emerging Contaminants, and $5 billion to Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Grants to address emerging contaminants.

“There are still 6 to 10 million lead services lines in cities and towns across the country, many in communities of color and low-income neighborhoods,” stated Regan, who also will appear later this year on PBS-TV’s “The Chavis Chronicles,” hosted by Dr. Chavis.

Because of the investments in the infrastructure law, millions of American families will no longer have to fear the harmful health effects caused by lead and other pollutants in their water, Regan asserted.

He recounted a visit to Lowndes County, Alabama, where he found disturbing facts about water in communities of color.

Regan said he witnessed homes with malfunctioning septic systems that discharged untreated sewage into backyards.

“Where little children play,” he added.

“There also was straight piping into lagoons and to have to see children walk around delicately so that they don’t sink or get bogged down into their own front yards. This is not the America that we all know it should be.”

He continued:

“This is unacceptable. Safe drinking water, safe sewer systems, you know, this is a basic right. These individuals deserve what every American deserves: clean water and a safe environment.”

On a visit to Wilkins Elementary School in Jackson, Mississippi, Regan recounted another difficult-to-stomach experience for young children of color.

City officials declared a citywide mandate to boil water as Regan arrived because of the discovery of toxic chemicals.

Regan said he had scheduled time to speak with second and third graders and found port-a-potties stationed outside the school.

“It looked like a worksite, and many of the kids had already been sent home because they couldn’t prepare food because of the water,” Regan remarked.

“This is on the heels of a pandemic. But the kids who remained behind were so excited because they got to see someone who looked like them in my position and someone who cared.”

Regan said in each location he visits, he’s sure to invite the national media to accurately report what’s going on in communities across the nation.

“The bipartisan infrastructure provides resources for our communities. There are matching grants and forgivable loans, which means more of our communities have an opportunity to compete for these grants,” he stated.

“We are also making $50 million available for technical assistance to help our communities to become more competitive. I’ve written a letter to every governor in the country outlining the criteria by which we believe those resources should be spent.”

Regan continued:

“I’ve traveled and met with mayors because a lot of this action starts at the ground level.”

Regan said he developed a passion for public service as a young person.

His father graduated from North Carolina A&T and served in Vietnam, working as an agricultural extension agent and with the national guard.

For 40 years, Regan’s mother worked as a nurse.

“I grew up with the desire to contribute to society because of what I saw in my home,” he exclaimed.

Regan studied environmental science and earth science.

Notably, he said Biden’s proposed 2023 budget request for EPA provides $11.9 billion to advance key priorities, including tackling the climate crisis, delivering environmental justice, protecting air quality, upgrading the nation’s aging water infrastructure, and rebuilding core functions at the Agency.

Regan said EPA continues to prioritize addressing climate change with the focus and resources the crisis demands.

“At EPA, we know both climate mitigation and adaptation are essential components of the strategy to reduce the threats and impact of climate change,” Regan said.

“We will invest in programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including an additional $100 million for air quality grants to states and tribes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a local and regional scale.”

Regan further acknowledged that the communities hardest hit by pollution and climate change are most often communities of color, indigenous communities, rural communities, and poor communities.

“For generations, many of these vulnerable communities have been overburdened with higher instances of polluted air, water, and land,” Regan said.

“This inequity of environmental protection is not just an environmental justice issue but also a civil rights concern. Neither an individual’s skin color nor the wealth of their zip code should determine whether they have clean air to breathe, safe water to drink, or healthy environments in which their children can play.

“I am not afraid to enforce the laws on the books to make sure our children are breathing clean air.”

The post EPA Administrator, Michael S. Regan, Focused on Clean Air and Water for Communities of Color first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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COMMENTARY: Coach Saban, Shut Up and Coach

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Jackson State will continue to get its fair share of 5-Star recruits. Coach Prime and all HBCUs can offer an experience that Alabama certainly can’t. It’s nothing like an HBCU experience. This is just the beginning. We will continue to see 5-Star Black athletes signing with HBCUs.
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By Burl “The Coach” Jones, Sports Editor, Houston Forward Times

Recently, Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban made a statement that Texas A&M bought every player they signed with NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) deals.

Alabama came in second in recruiting this year. That has rarely happened since Saban stepped on campus at Alabama. He also stated that Jackson State University, an HBCU coached by Deion Sanders, signed the #1 recruit in the country to a $1 million NIL deal.

The NIL phenomenon was created in June 2021 by the NCAA. This allows athletes to be paid for the use of their name, image, and likeness. Previously, the NCAA made billions in revenue off the backs of college athletes. With the advent of the NIL, expect a shift in the landscape of college football recruiting.

Schools like Texas A&M, Texas, and Oklahoma, have very rich boosters and alumni who have access to millions. They will come up with very creative ways to offer lucrative NIL deals to 5-star recruits. This apparently doesn’t sit well with Coach Saban, who is used to having his way, and getting most of the 5-Star recruits to sign with Alabama.

This will definitely level the playing field and gives schools like Texas A&M, that hasn’t won a National Championship in decades, a chance to recruit 5-Star athletes on a national level and could eventually lead to them winning a National Championship in the near future.

At least that’s what they hope in College Station.

As far as Coach Saban’s statement about Jackson State signing the #1 recruit in the country to a $1 million NIL deal is concerned, that was quickly debunked by Coach Prime, who immediately tweeted that he will address that lie. He followed that up with this statement:

“I haven’t talked to Coach Saban. I’m sure he tried to call. We need to talk publicly- not privately. What you said was public, that doesn’t require a private conversation. Let’s talk publicly and let everybody hear the conversation.”

Coach Saban is speaking from a place of privilege and bigotry. He is used to having his way and getting the players he wants. How dare a little old HBCU such as Jackson State get the #1 recruit in the country? It’s a slap in the face to all HBCUs to insist that they must pay a Black kid to attend an HBCU.

Paying recruits is certainly not new; it has been going on for years.

Former Houston Texan Travis Johnson, who was a 5-Star recruit, recently stated that Alabama offered him six figures in 2000 when he was being recruited.

“Y’all were the NIL before the NIL,” he said.

Jackson State will continue to get its fair share of 5-Star recruits. Coach Prime and all HBCUs can offer an experience that Alabama certainly can’t. It’s nothing like an HBCU experience. This is just the beginning. We will continue to see 5-Star Black athletes signing with HBCUs.

Coach Saban needs to be concerned about that pipeline that he had in Texas, getting those 5-Star recruits to leave the state. That oil money in Texas will be keeping those boys at home. Texas and Oklahoma will be joining the SEC in a few years and that will also influence Saban’s ability to recruit in Texas.

With all those factors coming into play, here is a bit of advice Coach Sabin:

SHUT UP AND COACH!!

“I’m just Telling It Like It Is!!”

The post COMMENTARY: Coach Saban, Shut Up and Coach first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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COMMENTARY: Racism Rears Its Ugly Head in the Buffalo Shootings

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Racial tragedy struck Buffalo, New York, on May 14th. Hate came up from the ground and reared its inhumane and immoral head. Ten Black people were murdered by a White man who hated Black people. It’s that simple and that sad. Payton S. Gendron, 18 years old, was the shooter. He also injured 3 people as well during this shooting spree.
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By James B. Ewers Jr. Ed.D., Houston Forward Times

Racism is a longstanding social illness in the United States of America. Seemingly, there is no cure for it.

It has been with us for as long as I can remember. The result of it has created heartache and heartbreak.

Lives have been lost and it has left the stain of disgrace on this country. Accomplishments, it could be argued, are sometimes overshadowed by our blatant disregard for some members of our beloved community.

I know for sure that racism will be around for as long as I live. It has been a part of my life experiences.

Unfortunately, and I say this with no pride, I have witnessed racism up close and personal.

I have been around long enough to watch the many levels of racism that exist in this country.

For example, we have had educational racism. Segregated schools were the norm until the case, Brown versus the Board of Education of Topeka ended it.

Did that stop us from getting an education?

The answer is a resounding no!

Black colleges, now called Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), were founded in order that higher education was afforded to African Americans.

At this moment, HBCUs are the hottest and most talked about educational venue in the land.

Everybody wants to attend an HBCU. I am a graduate of an HBCU (Johnson C. Smith University), and I know the power and influence they have.

The right to vote has always been problematic for African Americans. It is a fundamental right for all Americans, according to the Founding Fathers.

The problem is that the ‘current fathers’ don’t see it that way.

Will that stop us?

The answer is another resounding no!

African Americans are now voting in record numbers and that trend will continue.

There are states in this union that are creating trumped-up rules to keep us from exercising our privilege at the polls.

Some in this country have taken racism below ground zero. There are people in our states who hate Black people and want to kill us.

That is a powerful statement, yet it is factual and true.

Interestingly, there are citizens who believe the opposite. I suspect their experiences are different, and they live in an almost contactless America.

If you are one of those people, pay close attention now.

Racial tragedy struck Buffalo, New York, on May 14th.

Hate came up from the ground and reared its inhumane and immoral head.

Ten Black people were murdered by a White man who hated Black people.

It’s that simple and that sad.

Payton S. Gendron, 18 years old, was the shooter. He also injured 3 people as well during this shooting spree.

The victims were assaulted at a Tops Friendly Markets store and the victims ranged in ages from 20-86.

This crime of hate is unthinkable and was done with malicious intent.

The killer was not a Buffalo resident. He drove approximately 200 miles from Conklin, New York, to commit this heinous crime.

Gendron had already scouted out the place for his crime. He knew that many African Americans shopped at that location. That is sick beyond words.

According to reports, Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said, “We found some things that show he was here in early March, and then again, we know he was here on Friday, basically doing reconnaissance on the area.”

Gramaglia added, “He was in the store, both on Friday and Saturday.”

These statements were made by him to CNN’s Erin Burnett.

Payton S. Gendron surrendered to police after this life-altering atrocity.

America, where are we headed? Only time will tell.

The post Racism Rears Its Ugly Head in the Buffalo Shootings appeared first on Houston Forward Times.

The post COMMENTARY: Racism Rears Its Ugly Head in the Buffalo Shootings first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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American Petroleum Institute Lays Out Solutions to Rising Gas Prices

NNPA NEWSWIRE — A study of fact sheets provided by the American Petroleum Institute suggests that the complicated answer includes more production in America, which could add more supply. “More U.S. supply means relief for the global market,” Lem Smith, API’s vice president for Federal Relations, wrote in an op-ed.
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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

The average price for a gallon of gasoline has hit record numbers in Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

This week prices rose nationally by four cents, and consumers wondered why the cost is so high.

A study of fact sheets provided by the American Petroleum Institute suggests that the complicated answer includes more production in America, which could add more supply. “More U.S. supply means relief for the global market,” Lem Smith, API’s vice president for Federal Relations, wrote in an op-ed.

“America has an abundance of resources right under our feet, and policymakers should send a clear message that America is open for energy investment,” Smith declared.

API noted that gasoline prices are determined by the supply and demand of crude oil and expenses for refining, distribution, retailing, and taxation. Those fundamental market realities drive prices at the pump, officials stated.

The main components of retail gasoline prices are the cost of crude oil, taxes, refining costs, and distribution and marketing costs, API officials stated.

Of those, the price of crude oil has the most significant impact – accounting for 56 percent of the cost.

“Because of this, changes in the price reflect the global cost of crude oil, which is influenced by current conditions and expectations of consumer demand, supply, inventories, geopolitical events, and other factors, generally have an effect on pump prices,” the organization stated in a fact sheet.

Further, federal, state, and local governments levy various taxes in fees on transportation fuels.

The nationwide average tax on gasoline is 57.09 cents per gallon, including a federal tax of 18.4 cents per gallon and state-level taxes that range from 68.15 cents per gallon in California and 15.13 cents per gallon in Alaska.

API President and CEO Mike Sommers recently discussed the critical importance of American energy leadership “at a time of geopolitical volatility and rising energy costs around the world.”

Sommers urged policymakers to advance U.S. natural gas and oil production to support stability in global energy markets and ensure access to affordable, reliable energy for American consumers and our allies overseas.

“Most everyone knows that the world needs oil and natural gas in a big way and will for decades or more to come; the only question is where that oil and gas is going to come from,” Sommers remarked.

“As much as ever, we need to think hard about that economic truth and our energy future. That means recognizing energy from natural gas and oil as the critical strategic asset it is to America.”

“We can’t treat oil and natural gas as a kind of switch that is turned on or off to suit the moment,” Sommers continued.

“Production and delivery don’t work that way. Yet the overriding policy lately has been to cancel pipelines, block permits and deny leases – all things that discourage investment.

“As more Americans face the consequences of bad policy, the elements of good policy become that much more apparent and desired. We have an opportunity together to re-center the energy discussion with basic realities and good common sense as our starting point.”

Sommers called on the administration and Congress to develop a new five-year offshore leasing program; hold onshore leases on federal lands per the Mineral Leasing Act; approve LNG export applications and allow the approval of exports to non-free-trade-agreement nations, and craft transparent, consistent permitting regulations to enable the development of vital energy infrastructure.

The U.S. has pledged to increase LNG exports to Europe by 65 percent over the next six years.

How quickly could U.S. oil producers scale up production to put downward pressure on domestic gasoline costs?

What could the federal government do to promote that production?

API officials said it begins with access to resources, advancing infrastructure, and enabling – rather than deterring – the industry’s financing.

“Importantly, financial markets have become less hospitable to the natural gas and oil industry partly because of the Biden administration’s positions, policies, and signals,” API officials asserted.

“Those who have capital may be reluctant to invest in long-lived energy assets in such a climate, and a relatively fixed pool of cash flows that could be re-invested by industry have been increasingly spread thin.”

API listed four “concrete actions” the organization believes the Biden-Harris administration could immediately take to support American production.

They include conducting federal lease sales, completing a new five-year program for federal offshore leasing, supporting energy infrastructure, and reopening access to Alaska.

“The administration should reinstate the leases it suspended in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the permit development it approved in the National Petroleum Reserve,” API officials wrote.

“These were permitted with stringent environmental standards and could prove a significant source of domestic production over time.”

The post American Petroleum Institute Lays Out Solutions to Rising Gas Prices first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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