National Black Chamber of Commerce

National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC)

Background

The National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) was incorporated as The National Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc. in 1993. The organization describes itself as “a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nonsectarian organization dedicated to the economic empowerment of African American communities.”

According to their website, “In essence, the NBCC is a 501(c)3 corporation that is on the leading edge of educating and training Black communities on the need to participate vigorously in this great capitalistic society known as America.” [1]

The NBCC maintains at least 140 affiliated chapters in the United States, as well as international affiliate chapters based in Bahamas, Brazil, Colombia, Ghana, Kenya, France, Botswana, Cameroon and Jamaica.

The National Black Chamber of Commerce is a proponent of coal power and hydraulic fracturing (fracking), as NBCC President/CEO Harry Alford revealed in a column supporting the Kemper power plant in Kemper County, Mississippi. [2]

Stance on Climate Change

“Certainly the climate changes as time goes on - sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.  So far, there is no pattern that seems to be very detrimental to our earth.  There is an ebb and flow and it takes time to see any significant detrimental trend.  It is like Stevie Wonder wrote, 'When you believe in things you don't understand; you suffer.  Superstition ain't the way'.” – Harry Alford, co-founder, President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. [3]

Funding

According to ExxonSecrets, The National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) has received over $1,000,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998. [4]

NBCC's President Harry C. Alford is unapologetic about the organization's fossil fuel funding. Alford states on the group's website (emphasis added):

“Recently, a writer from USA Today wanted to know if the National Black Chamber of Commerce receives money from fossil fuel companies (coal, oil, natural gas, petrochemicals, etc.).  That is a 'no brainer'.  Of course we do and it is only natural.  The legacy of Blacks in this nation has been tied to the miraculous history of fossil fuel and the economic growth in communities because of the successful harvest of fossil fuels.  Consistent with the emergence of the Industrial Revolution and the availability of the Homestead Act for freed slaves, fossil fuels have been our economic friend.” [14]

Conservative Transparency details the National Black Chamber of Commerce's funding as follows, with data going up to 2013: [5]

Donor Contribution
American Petroleum Institute $75,000
DonorsTrust $25,000
Exxon Mobil $835,000
MyWireless.org $150,000
Grand Total $1,085,000

990 Forms

Key People

Harry C. Alford – President & CEO
Kay DeBow Alford – Co‐founder

According to their website, “The National Black Chamber of Commerce does not distribute information about our members to protect their privacy.” [7]

    Actions

    January 12, 2017

    NBCC's President Harry C. Alford was a signatory to a January 12, 2017 official letter of support (PDF) for Scott Pruitt, in which numerous groups, including The Heartland InstituteAmerican Energy Alliance (AEA), and others, declared that the Senate should “swiftly approve his nomination” for Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

     Other signatories of the letter included: [30]

    June 13, 2016

    The National Black Chamber of Commerce was listed as a creditor in Peabody Energy's 2016 bankruptcy filings, reports the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD/PRWatch). [26]

    While the available bankruptcy documents do not list the scale or dates of funding, they outline Peabody Energy's financial ties to a large network of groups promoting climate change denial. [27]

    Prominent individuals appearing in the documents include climate deniers Willie SoonRichard LindzenRoy Spencer and Richard Berman. The long list of organizations also includes groups such as Americans for ProsperityAmerican Legislative Exchange CouncilCFACTInstitute for Energy ResearchState Policy Network, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and dozens more. [28]

    The Guardian also analysed and reported on the Peabody bankruptcy findings: [29]

    These groups collectively are the heart and soul of climate denial,” said Kert Davies, founder of the Climate Investigation Center, who has spent 20 years tracking funding for climate denial. “It’s the broadest list I have seen of one company funding so many nodes in the denial machine.”

    The company’s filings reveal funding for a range of organisations which have fought Barack Obama’s plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and denied the very existence of climate change. […]

    Among Peabody’s beneficiaries, the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change has insisted – wrongly – that carbon emissions are not a threat but “the elixir of life” while the American Legislative Exchange Council is trying to overturn Environmental Protection Agency rules cutting emissions from power plants. Meanwhile, Americans for Prosperity campaigns against carbon pricing. The Oklahoma chapter was on the list. […]

    The breadth of the groups with financial ties to Peabody is extraordinary. Thinktanks, litigation groups, climate scientists, political organisations, dozens of organisations blocking action on climate all receiving funding from the coal industry,” said Nick Surgey, director of research for the Center for Media and Democracy.

    We expected to see some denial money, but it looks like Peabody is the treasury for a very substantial part of the climate denial movement.”

    Notable organizations listed in the initial documents include:

    Notable individuals named in the initial documents include the following:

    November 4, 2015

    The National Black Chamber of Commerce's President and CEO Harry Alford published an article in the Philadelphia Tribune where he describes global warming as a “costly farce.” [22]

    “[The NOAA and NASA ]have reported that there has been no global warming detected for the last 18 years. That is over 216 months in a row that there has been no detected global warming. At the same time, sea ice in Antarctica is building up at record levels,” Alford writes. “

    “No global warming, but millions of jobs have been erased through adverse regulations in the name of addressing the global warming issue. Billions of dollars, mostly tax dollars, have been spent trying to address the same 'ghost.' Many low-income and minority communities have greatly suffered from these onerous regulations that seem to be made in vain.”

    Alford says that the “the National Black Chamber of Commerce has been slandered for its energy positions”, but claims that “we are right and they are wrong.”

    However, climate scientists provide an explanation for this supposed hiatus in global warming. According to Michael Mann at Penn State University, “There certainly has not been a hiatus in global warming — global warming hasn't stopped, even though you still hear those contrarian talking points.” [23]

    An 2015 analysis by US government scientists in the journal Nature and Climate Change suggested that if temporary natural fluctuations were ignored then world was probably now warming at a rate of about 0.2°C per decade — higher than the IPCC's longer-term average. [24]

    August 25, 2015

    The National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) was a “Supporting Organization” at the Heartland Institute's “Affordable Energy Summit 8.0,” which was co-sponsored with the Libertarian Party of Nevada in Las Vegas. Niger Innis, who serves on the NBCC's Board of Directors, was a speaker at the summit. [19]

    According to the Affordable Energy Summit's “Events” webpage, the purpose of the summit was to “discuss the costs of climate change, as well as the fiscal and environmental impact of the so-called 'Clean Power Plan.'” [20] The “Events” page of the Affordable Energy Summit's website goes on to state that the speakers at the National Clean Energy Summit, which took place just one day earlier, “believe that evidence of man-made global warming is enough to justify any action intended to solve the problem, without regard for effectiveness and without any regard for the expense.” [20]

    The Heartland Institute's James Taylor wrote in Forbes that, “Unlike the Clean Energy Summit, the Affordable Energy Summit will present the full picture on energy, economics, and the environment.” Taylor asserts that wind and solar power initiatives are “not only prohibitively expensive, but they produce worse environmental damage than the conventional power Obama and Reid seek to vilify.”  [21]

    July 28, 2015

    The National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) announced that it had joined forces with Consumers for Smart Solar effort to support the “Smart Solar Amendment, “ which would be a “Consumer-friendly alternative to the Shady Solar Amendment proposed by Floridians for Solar Choice.” [12]

    NBCC submitted a brief to the Florida Supreme Court, claiming that the Solar Amendment was misleading. [13]

    “As an advocate of small and minority-owned businesses, the National Black Chamber of Commerce is concerned with the substantial, negative impacts the Shady Solar Amendment may have on small and minority businesses,” said Harry C. Alford, President/CEO of NBCC. “These negative impacts – potential increases in electric service rates and higher state and local taxes – are why we oppose the Shady Solar Amendment.”  [12]

    June, 2015

    As reported by Media Matters, The National Black Chamber of Commerce joined other organizations including Americans for Prosperity, the Beacon Hill Institute, and the State Policy Network in an op-ed campaign opposing the EPA's climate change plan. NBCC President Harry C. Alford alleged in newspapers across the U.S. that the Clean Power Plan would impose “economic hardship” on blacks and Hispanics. [8]

    Seven nearly-identicall op-eds were published: 

    1. “The EPA vs. Iowa's minorities”  – The Des Moines Register (June 23, 2015) 
    2. “Another Voice: 'Clean power' will impose hardships on minorities” – The Buffalo News (June 24, 2015)
    3. “Harry C. Alford: The EPA vs. Oklahoma's minorities” –  Tulsa World (June 22, 2015)
    4. “The EPA vs. Pennsylvania's minorities” –  Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (June 24, 2015)
    5. “Reader View: Clean Power Plan a matter of justice” –  The Santa Fe New Mexican (June 22, 2015)
    6. “Their View: Minorities to suffer under proposed EPA emissions standards” –  Centre Daily Times (June 22, 2015)
    7. “Harry C. Alford: The EPA vs. West Virginia minorities” –  Charleston Daily Mail (June 22, 2015)

    Media Matters also reports that of the seven reports that the NBCC cites in the op-eds, three predate the Clean Power Plan, one was a preliminary analysis by a mining group, and the others received funding from fossil fuel interests. 

    The Op-Eds make reference to a study made by the National Black Chamber of Commerce that has also been repeated cited across conservative media sources. The original study, titled “Potential Impact of Proposed EPA Regulations on Low Income Groups and Minorities” is available here (PDF)

    According to the study's abstract, “EPA is proposing new regulations, including guidelines to reduce CO2 emissions from existing fossil-fueled power plants. These regulations would have serious economic, employment, and energy impacts at the national level and for all states, and the impacts on low-income groups, Blacks, and Hispanics would be especially severe. The EPA rules would: 1) Significantly reduce U.S. GDP every year over the next two decades – over $2.3 trillion; 2) Destroy millions of jobs; 3) More than double the cost of power and natural gas to over $1 trillion; 4) Require the average family to pay over $1,225 more for power and gas in 2030 than in 2012.”

    The report was prepared by Management Information Services, Inc. According to the group's website, the company has a history of providing services and reports for the oil and coal industries (American Electric Power Company, Chesapeake Energy, Energy Corporation of America, Peabody Energy, Washington Gas Company, Affordable Power Alliance, National Coal Council, to name a few). [15][16]

    Harry Alford also testified at the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on June 23, 2015 to oppose the EPA's Clean Power Plan. With reference to the NBCC study, Alford said that “The study finds that the Clean Power Plan will inflict severe and disproportionate economic burdens on poor families, especially minorities.” He continued, saying “The EPA’s proposed regulation for GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions from existing power plants is a slap in the face to poor and minority families.” Video below. [17]

    Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) rebutted this view, saying that states who have taken action on climate change have seen their economies grow:
    “Many states, such as New York and Delaware, have already taken action to reduce the largest emitter of carbon pollution - power plant emissions,” Carper said. “As we will hear today, the economies of these states continue to grow at a faster rate than the states that have yet to put climate regulations in place. However, we need all states to do their fair share to protect the air we breathe and stem the tide of climate change. The EPA’s Clean Power Plan attempts to do just that.”

    September, 2013

    The National Black Chamber of Commerce was a signatory to a letter designed by the American Energy Alliance (AEA) asking Congress not to renew wind energy tax credits that would expire at the end of the year.  [9]
    Other signers of the letter included:

    July 16, 2009

    Black Chamber of Commerce President Harry Alford had a heated exchange with Senator Boxer in a discussion on Global Warming Job Losses at a hearing by Senator James Inhofe's Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Video below. [10]

    2005

    The National Black Chamber of Commerce worked with the 60 Plus Association and United for Jobs as a coalition to oppose climate legislation put forward by Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), as reported by Connor Gibson at Polluterwatch. [11]

    NBCC Contact & Location

    As of June 2016, the National Black Chamber of Commerce listed the following contact information on its website: [25]

    400 Jenifer St NW Suite 331
    Washington DC, 20015 
     
    [email protected]
    Phone: (202) 466-6888
    Fax: (202) 466-4918

    http://www.nationalbcc.org

    Related Organizations

    Resources

    1. About Us,” National Black Chamber of Commerce. Archived June 30, 2015.

    2. About The National Black Chamber of Commerce,” Kemperproject.org. Archived June 30, 2015.

    3. Environmental Racism, Global Warming and Climate Change,” National Black Chamber of Commerce. Archived June 30, 2015.

    4. ExxonSecrets Factsheet: National Black Chamber of Commerce. Accessed August 16, 2016.

    5. National Black Chamber of Commerce,” Recipient profile at Conservativetransparancy.org. Accessed June 30, 2015.

    6. Management Bios (PDF)”, National Black Chamber of Commerce. Accessed June 30. 2015. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

    7. Frequently Asked Questions,” National Black Chamber of Commerce. Archived June 30, 2015.

    8. Denise Robbins and Andrew Seifter. “National Black Chamber Of Commerce Joins Oil Industry's Op-Ed Campaign Against EPA Climate Plan,” Media Matters, June 26, 2015. Archived June 30, 2015.

    9. David E. Newton. Wind Energy: A Reference Handbook: A Reference Handbook. (P. 74)

    10. National Black Chamber of Commerce President Takes on Chairman Boxer Over Global Warming Job Losses,” YouTube Video uploaded by user Senator Jim Inhofe. July 16, 2009.

    11. Connor Gibson. “Science Denial and Andrea Saul – Romney 2012 Campaign Spokesperson,” PolluterWatch, August 6, 2012.

    12. (Press Release) “National Black Chamber of Commerce Joins Effort in Support of Consumer-friendly Smart Solar Amendment,” PRNewswire-USNewswire, July 28, 2015. Archived July 31, 2015.

    13. INITIAL BRIEF OF OPPONENT NATIONAL BLACK CHAMBER OF COMMERCE” (PDF), Case Nos. SC15-780, SC15-890. Filing # 28320521 E-Filed 06/10/2015 01:47:04 PM. Archived July 31, 2015.

    14. Fossil Fuels and African Americans – It’s Family!” National Black Chamber of Commerce. Archived July 31, 2015.

    15. Clients: Private Industry,” Management Information Services. Inc. Archived July 31, 2015.

    16. Clients: Trade and Professional Associations,” Management Information Services. Inc. Archived July 31, 2015. 

    17. Ali Meyer. “Black Chamber of Commerce: EPA Clean Air Plan Will Increase Black Poverty 23%, Strip 7,000,000 Black Jobs,” CNSnews.com, June 24, 2015.

    18. Brendan Mock. “Why are black lawmakers fighting clean energy?“ Grist, October 13, 2014.

    19. Speakers,” Affordable Energy Summit 8.0. Archived September 3, 2015.

    20. Events,” Affordable Energy Summit 8.0. Archived September 3, 2015.

    21. James Taylor. “What The Clean Energy Summit Doesn't Want You To Know,” Forbes, August 24, 2015.  Archived September 3, 2015.

    22. Harry C. Alford. “Global warming proponents cling to costly farce,” The Philadelphia Tribune, November 4, 2015. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

    23. Graham Readfearn. “Global warming hiatus explained and it's not good news,” ABC Environment, April 8, 2015. Archived March 22, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6gCqfe6bV

    24. Near-term acceleration in the rate of temperature change,” Nature Climate Change  333–336 (2015). 

    25. Contact,” National Black Chamber of Commerce. Archived June 16, 2016. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6iK1Rl4Am

    26. Nick Surgey. “Peabody Coal Bankruptcy Reveals Climate Denial Network Funding,” PRWatch, June 13, 2016. Archived June 20, 2016. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6iPmXjc4W

    27. In re: Peabody Energy Corporation, et al. Debtors,” United States Bankruptcy Court Eastern District of Missouri Eastern Division, Case 16-42529, May 27, 2016. Retrieved from DocumentCloud.

    28. Farron Cousins. “Court Documents Show Coal Giant Peabody Energy Funded Dozens Of Climate Denial Groups,” DeSmogBlog, June 13, 2016.

    29. Suzanne Goldenberg and Helena Bengtsson. “Biggest US coal company funded dozens of groups questioning climate change,” The Guardian, June 13, 2016. Archived June 20, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6iPnEUG1o

    30. “Dear Senators,” (PDF)Competitive Enterprise Institute, January 12, 2017. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.