DAILY SIGNAL: How Biden’s Energy Policies Harm African Americans

While gas prices remain at an average of $4.80 a gallon, the Biden administration continues to promote “environmental justice” policies that Donna Jackson says are harming black Americans.

“When you have someone that’s spending more than 30% of their income for gasoline and they’re making choices between whether their kids can have … food to eat, or medicine, or pay their energy bills, electricity, gasoline, then that is not a pain point, that’s genocide,” says Jackson, director of membership development for Project 21 at the National Center for Public Policy Research.

The political left has created an environmental agenda it says will help minority communities, but it is an “agenda that black people never asked for,” Jackson says.

President Joe Biden’s efforts to lessen American dependency on fossil fuels is killing American jobs that minorities depend on and driving up the cost of living, she says.

Jackson joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” to explain why the president’s energy agenda is so harmful to African Americans, and what the president should do to stimulate energy growth across the nation.

Also on today’s show, we cover these stories:

  • Police say the Highland Park shooter planned the attack weeks in advance.
  • Multiple Texas counties declare that they are under an invasion due to the rising number of illegal migrants coming across the border.
  • Twitter bans Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson and conservative commentator Dave Rubin over a tweet referring to actor Elliot Page by birth name and biological sex.

Listen to the podcast below or read the lightly edited transcript:

Virginia Allen: Well, gas prices are at record highs across the country. And these high energy costs, they are affecting all Americans, but they’re affecting some people more than others. And so here with us to talk about that is Donna Jackson. She’s the director of membership development for Project 21 at the National Center for Public Policy Research, which is one of the nation’s largest black conservative think tanks. Donna, thank you so much for being here.

Donna Jackson: Thank you for having me. It’s always a pleasure.

Allen: Well, as of Monday, our average on gas prices, according to the AAA, were $4.80 a gallon. We’re all feeling these effects. President [Joe] Biden right now, he’s blaming Russia, he’s blaming these high gas prices on oil companies. Is this accurate? Who’s really at fault here?

Jackson: Oh, no. I mean, Biden owns this. I love it when he’s always blaming [Russian President Vladimir] Putin.

Let’s start off—he created a perfect storm. So there was this disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, where the focus was on understanding white rage and pronouns. Where they had more meetings about that than actually the Afghanistan pullout. So what happened? It was disastrous and it encouraged Putin to invade.

So he owns that because of the way he handled the pullout. Now, add that to his war on domestic energy.

Now, he said when he was running that he was going to end the fossil fuel industry. Now, the left and the Biden administration have been very strategic in the way they’ve attacked the fossil fuel gas industry at every step. They’ve blocked pipelines, there’s litigations with permits, they’re slow-rolling environmental analysis that they need to get drilling, to get pipelines. And then they’ve also signaled the financial industry, that if anybody invests in the industry, then they were going to target them.

So you got the banks, the financial institutions afraid to invest because this is a long haul. You don’t just get up and drill today and then have everything you need. So they’ve attacked any industry that invests.

Now, with this [Securities and Exchange Commission] regulation, they’re trying to … normalize climate change. And understand, because I’ve worked in the accounting industry for a long time, financial institution, investors use the financial statements to determine whether they want to invest in the industry.

So if you have an industry that looks like fake numbers, I’m going to say they’re fake numbers, but looks worse than it should using these climate change disclosures, then they’re not going to invest their money.

So in every aspect, you got bureaucrats from the [Environmental Protection Agency], you got the SEC, you have everybody targeting. And then you have the president that gives an expectation that says, “I’m going to end your industry in eight years.”

Even if I was a worker, why would I devote my life to working in an industry or a career that I know is going to end in less than eight years? I can’t guarantee a house or a mortgage. I can’t determine that I’m going to be able to take care of my kids and put them through college.

So in every aspect of this issue, this president has a signal that his expectation is that he’s going to end the fossil fuel industry. He has a war on gas and he’s trying to force people into electricity, something that people don’t want.

I want to really explain about how this parallels to what they’ve always [done] to African Americans. Because they’re doing to the American people what they’ve done to African Americans for decades.

Allen: Yeah. If you would get into that a little bit, explain the consequences.

Jackson: The left creates this agenda that black people never asked for, and then they tell them to fall in line and do what they’re told. That’s the same thing they’re doing with this fossil fuel industry.

They decided that everybody should use electricity, and they have this war on fossil fuel. And so they’re going to force the fossil fuel industry into bankruptcy and then force the American people into vehicles, into a Green New Deal energy source that they didn’t ask for. And they expect everybody to fall in line.

Now, why do they use environmental justice? Because I can blackmail you. For black people—and they’ve been very good at the [critical race theory], infusing this into it. For black people, they’ve already given this narrative that we’re too stupid, too dumb, too ignorant to know what’s best for us. So they’re the ones that are telling everybody what we need.

I don’t agree with Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson, or some of those guys. But on this issue, even they said that black people shouldn’t bear the burden of these high green energy deals that’s burdening to the African American community.

Now, people like me, that’s a black conservative, they would say, “She’s just suffering from multiracial whiteness,” or, “She’s just being used.” But even them, they said they’re taking dark money. Because they resent African Americans when they say the impact of pollution or dirty air, as they want to say, poverty has done more harm than any pollutant to any African American.

But they use that environmental justice to push their issues through because any American that says, “I think that this is over-hyped. I don’t really want to buy these vehicles. I don’t think that I want all of my energy sources to come from one source,” they’ll say, “Well, you’re a racist. You’re a white supremacist. You’re an extremist.”

And so they use these kind of policies, they use this kind of environmental justice to blackmail the people into an agenda that they don’t want.

Allen: … My guess is that a common response we might hear from the left if they heard you say something like this is, “Well, there’s going to be a little bit more pain initially, and a little more hurt as we move away from dependence on fossil fuels. But ultimately, environmental justice and shifting to electric and shifting to solar, that will ultimately help minority populations.” What would be your response to that argument?

Jackson: What environmental justice is doing to black people now is creating a new Jim Crow. If you look at California and places that they’ve been advanced in adopting environmental justice policies, they’re also the most racist.

I’m going to give you example. In California, they needed 100,000 to 200,000 units in order to have enough housing for individuals. And it wouldn’t have encamped everybody in there, but just to have enough housing, affordable housing for people.

Using environmental climate change policies, they were only able to get 1,824. It’s a huge difference between 200,000 units and 1,800 units. …

What they decided is that black people are disposable, that your life doesn’t matter because they are actually pushing people into poverty. When you have someone that’s spending more than 30% of their income for gasoline and they’re making choices between whether their kids can have food to eat, food to eat or medicine or pay their energy bills, electricity, gasoline, then that is not a pain point. That’s genocide.

They’re destroying black community. They’re destroying black businesses. In California, they forced every new building to have electricity instead of gas. The Black Chamber of Commerce … and the Latino Chamber of Commerce are the ones that came out and said, “This is hurting minorities the worst, because you have small businesses that can’t afford the fees, can’t afford the taxes, can’t afford the cost of these new regulations.”

In fact, if you look at a small business, which minority businesses generally fall into, they pay four times the cost that big businesses pay for these rules. They usually can’t withstand the expenses involved in being able to comply with these environmental regulations. So they’re forced out of business.

During the pandemic, 40% of black businesses went under. So to understand the volatility that they already face, to pile on more regulations that they can’t afford—plus the fact that the amount of paperwork that you have to do, the outside council that you have to get actually increases that inferior and is pushing people, not only out into poverty, but out of business, and is creating those larger wealth gaps.

That’s not a pain point. That’s actually deciding who gets to live and who doesn’t because the cost of living expenses are too great. And if you tell me a pain point is I have to watch the pain of my child who can’t eat, that’s not an inconvenience. That’s cruelty.

Allen: Yeah. So then let’s talk about solutions. Because what you’re saying is that what the Biden administration is doing right now isn’t working. So then, how can we move forward in such a way where we are lifting everyone up through our energy policy in America?

Jackson: Well, the first thing you do is you create a pro-energy policy, climate change policy. If you signal to an industry that we’re not going to destroy you, maybe they’ll want to create more.

The other thing is that we should be doing an economic impact study of climate change policies that we adopt so that we will see if the policies themselves are creating more hardship than the harm that [they’re] supposed to save us from, then we shouldn’t be adopting these policies.

But they won’t do that because they already know the net result. They already know that people are hurting. But they had already decided long ago, because every black city in America that you see in poverty has been run by liberals for 70 years, they’ve already decided that we don’t matter. And now what they’ve done is realized that that experiment worked and they’re imposing it on all the American people today.

And so now, you don’t have a choice. The market should determine what we buy, not the administration telling us what we should buy because people know what’s best for them. But their signal is, “You’re too ignorant, you’re too stupid, and so we have to tell you what you need.”

Allen: So if we keep going down the path that we’re going down right now, if the Biden administration is successful at continuing to press their climate change agenda, where are we headed as a country? We hear people throw out the word “recession.” What do you think?

Jackson: I mean, I think that we’re already in a recession. I mean, for a lot of people, maybe you’re affluent Americans, they’re not feeling the pain. But I can tell you your middle-class and your working-class people, if it’s 8.5, the inflation rate is 8.5 for everyone, for them it’s 11% to 12% because all of the goods and services that they use are more impacted by it.

But we have to first make people aware of it. Because people don’t really realize that they’re imposing regulations on every appliance in your house. That’s making it more expensive, less efficient. And they’re taking away all of your choices. So they’ve already decided, “It doesn’t matter if you can’t afford it. We don’t care if you can’t afford it, you can go without.” And so first, we need to educate people. Then we need to make sure that when these regulations are coming out, that people are chiming in.

The environmental justice, when it started, was supposed to be designed so that the communities impacted could give their input. Do you know that ever since they started that environmental justice in 1994, not one community of color has been able to chime in on any of these regulations they’re doing in the name of communities of color?

Allen: Really? Wow.

Jackson: That was the whole goal. If there’s pollutants, if there’s disproportionate impacts, whatever solutions, they’re supposed to have the opportunity to comment and be part of the process.

They’ve 100% excluded anyone. I mean, from liberal to conservative. Any black person that says, “Wait a minute, you’re creating an environmental policy that is killing good blue-collar gateway jobs because our communities have fewer people with education, and these jobs give them the opportunity to be able to get into the middle class, to be able to be homeowners.”

They kill every job, every new factory in the name of environmental justice. Well, where’s the justice in pushing me into poverty? That I don’t have the income to be able to afford to move in your neighborhood?

They always say, “Well, black people live in communities where it’s more pollutants.” Well, they only live there because that’s what they can afford.

If you didn’t kill high-paying blue-collar jobs—like killing the Keystone pipeline; attacking Alaska pipelines; in Virginia, they did the same thing where they attacked the pipelines—then they wouldn’t live in those communities because they could be able to afford to live in better communities.

But every time those jobs come up, the first thing they do, they come in, convince people to go in against those factories. Once that factory or project is killed, they’re gone. They’re not giving any substitute.

Allen: So are there any action steps we can take? Because it’s really discouraging, honestly, hearing you talk. And you think, “My goodness, this is so unjust. What can I do?”

Jackson: Well, how many people really realize that this was going on? Podcasts like this, different avenues where we’re speaking out and saying, “Hey, there’s this bill, HR 255,” whatever the bills are that are coming up, “and this is what they’re proposing,” the more we make people aware of it.

And we need to really contact those congressmen that are participating, that may end up voting on some of these bills. Because this is a multibillion-dollar industry. You would not believe how many grants have been given out in the name of environmental justice with zero impact to the communities.

We need to contact our congressmen. Any energy issues, we need to make ourselves aware of it. There’s the Energy and Commerce Committee that has hearings every day. We should be looking at their websites, make people aware of any policies that are actually going to be detrimental to the lifestyle and the cost of living for most Americans. They’re out in the open, but they’re not in the open.

Allen: Donna, tell us how we can follow your work and the work of Project 21.

Jackson: You can follow us at nationalcenter.org, Project 21 at nationalcenter.org. We’re always excited to partner with people to get their input. We fight for issues that concern our communities, but all communities. And we definitely don’t want these false narratives out here that say that all black people just sit around and want a check.

We believe in capitalism, we believe in upward mobility, we believe in self-determination. We believe in all of the same principles, believe it or not, that everyone else does. We love our Constitution. And we fight on behalf of any injustice, regardless of the color of your skin.

Because at the end of the day, we’re all the same. We’re all created equal. We all can determine our own path and whatever that success is, which the Constitution guarantees us.

Allen: Absolutely.

Jackson: So we’re there, we’re open. Just let us know.

Allen: Got it. Thank you. Thank you for the work that you’re doing. And thank you so much for joining the show today. We really appreciate your time.

Jackson: Thank you for having me. We’re winning. I signed up for the fight. I feel positive. …

Allen: Good. I’m glad to hear you say that you’re positive.

Jackson: I’m positive.

Allen: That’s good. We should all be positive.

Jackson: We’re David. We’re slaying giants. Remember that.

Allen: Amen. Donna, thank you.

Jackson: Thank you for having me.

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