Famed Civil Rights Leader Says
New Battle Is Brewing For Minorities and the Poor
Congress of Racial Equality's Roy Innis Says Opposition Is Rising To
Climate Change Proposals Because Of Their Disproportionate Impact On The
Salt Lake City (April 22, 2008) – Roy Innis, Chairman of CORE, told a Salt
Lake City audience today that a new civil rights battle is brewing: the
disproportionate impact on America's working poor of higher energy prices
caused by climate change proposals and other extremist environmental
"What is under attack is the ability to tens of millions of Americans –
many right here in Utah – to afford to live and prosper in this great
nation and continue to climb the ladder of economic opportunity," said Roy
Innis. "The culprit of this new civil rights battle? Environmental
policies and laws that increase the cost of energy and economically
enslave those Americans who most struggle to climb the ladder of economic
Innis was in Salt Lake City as part of a conference entitled, "Earth Week
'08: The Future of Utah," hosted by the Sutherland Institute. Innis
said misdirected global warming proposals, proposals to limit public
access to public lands and policies that restrict access to America's
abundant energy "are driving up the cost of energy and consumer goods"
"These policies cause widespread layoffs, leaving unemployed workers and
families struggling to survive, as the cost of everything they eat, drive,
wear and do spirals out of control," he said. "They threaten to roll back
much of the civil rights progress for which civil rights revolutionaries
and Dr. King struggled and died"
Innis cited a recent study that showed the passage of the leading climate
change bill in Congress would "cost Utah very dearly," The study, done by
the highly regarded Science Applications International Corporation, found
that passage of Lieberman-Warner would have these impacts:
Utah will lose 10,227 to 15,384 jobs in 2020 and 28,155 to 37,479 jobs in
2030 under this bill. Utah would see disposable household income reduced
by $919 to $2,979 per year by 2020 and $3,780 to $6,893 by 2030.
The price of gasoline in Utah would increase between 74% and 140% by 2030,
while electricity prices would increase by 96% to 133%. Natural gas prices
would rise by 113% and 154% by 2030.
Utah's gross state product would drop by by between $1.1 and $1.5 billion
per year by 2020 and $4 and $4.7 billion by 2030. The impacts of
this bill on the poor, who spend more of their income on energy and other
goods than other income brackets, would be especially harsh. By 2020,
energy costs would chew up 17% and 19% of income under this bill, compared
to a projected 14% without this bill. Others on fixed incomes, such as the
elderly will also suffer disproportionately.
Finally, Utah's 1,125 schools and universities and 56 hospitals will
likely experience a 20% to 24% percent increase in expenditures by 2020
and a 64% to 84% increase by 2030. For government entities, costs for
services, including public transportation and vehicle fleets, such as
school buses, will also rise under this bill.
After citing the results, Innis asked: "You call this progress? I don't.
And I would wager than more than 90 percent of the voting-age population
of Utah would agree with me on that point. I hope each and every one of
our elected officials of Utah listens and contemplates this point," he
"As the well-renowned environmental leader Bjorn Lomberg himself has
admitted, these elitist groups want people to feel good, rather then do
good," he said. "Doing good means helping those on the bottom rungs of the
economic ladder climb ever higher. But the policies pushed by these
elitists prevent any upward mobility, because they increase the cost of
living for the working poor"
"These elitists want to keep minorities and the poor impoverished and
laboring at menial jobs, to deny them a seat at the energy lunch counter,
to send them to the back of the economic bus," charged Innis.
Innis cited specifically the attempt by the Southern Utah Wilderness
Society to restrict the public's access to more than nine million acres
within the State of Utah as "wilderness," a move he said will restrict the
production of energy in Utah. "That will in turn cause energy prices to
rise. And those price increases will hurt low-income families the most"
"I call on every one gathered here today, and every caring, thoughtful
citizen in our great nation to join with me in challenging these Energy
Killers, these modern day Bull Connors and George Wallaces, who are
standing in the door, trying to prevent poor Americans from achieving
Martin Luther King's dream of equal opportunity and true environmental
justice," said Innis.