Monday, October 6, 2008

PRESS RELEASE: Congress of Racial Equality

Carbon Taxes Will Hurt the Poor Most, Civil Rights Activist Charges

Anti-Energy Activists Are Also Indirectly Supporting Foreign Terror Groups, Innis Says, By Keeping America Dependent On Foreign Oil

Winnipeg, Manitoba (Oct. 6, 2008)– Environmental activists seeking to push through taxes on carbon dioxide emissions and strangle energy production in North America will put a disproportionately high burden on low-income families and the poor, according to a leading American civil rights activist.

Niger Innis, National Spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality, made the charge in a speech on Monday at an event sponsored by the Winnipeg-based Frontier Center for Public Policy. Innis is making a series of speeches across Canada this week just ahead of the Canadian elections.

"Higher energy prices caused by wrong-headed government policies discriminate against the poor, and those who push these policies are guilty of waging an immoral war on the poor," Innis said.

He cited these statistics which demonstrate why high energy prices are discriminatory:

* The average median-income family in the U.S. today has to spend about a nickel of every dollar of their income on energy.

* The average low-income family has to spend 20 cents on the dollar to buy their energy.

* The average poor family has to devote 50 cents or more of each dollar on energy.

"As energy prices go up, the poor suffer the most. And not just because energy costs more. Because higher energy prices mean higher prices for everything, especially food and housing, medicine and so on and so on," he said.

"Of course, I believe that those motivations are inherently immoral. Because the consequences, however unintentional, hurt the poorest of our society the most," he said.

Innis also serves as the national co-chairman of the Alliance to Stop the War on the Poor (, an coalition of civil rights, religious, consumer, agriculture and veterans leaders that are fighting against government policies that raise the cost of energy.

"Virtually every study done by virtually every economist has found the same thing: raising the cost of energy by putting a tax on carbon will raise the cost of energy, of food, of almost all goods and services by a huge amount," he said. "In the U.S., energy bills for the average citizen may easily double. Some studies show costs going up two, three, four times what they are now."

"And so I ask: will citizens agree to pay all of those higher costs, especially when the United Nation's science says that it will result in temperature changes over the next century that we can barely measure?" he asked.

Innis said that a new study soon to be released by the NextGen Energy Council will show that, based on all of the science behind the United Nation's predictions on climate change, if the U.S. shuts down every power plant in the U.S. right now, and keeps them off for the next 100 years, "we would only affect the temperature in the year 2100 by less than one-tenth of one percent of a degree Celsius," he said. "This calculation does not come from climate change skeptics. It is based on the same science that the environmentalists' say cannot be questioned."

"Now, you tell me," he asked, "is that barely measurable temperature change over the next 100 years something that the citizens of North America will conclude is worth all of the additional costs we will saddle ourselves with?" he asked.

Innis also said that those extremist environmental groups that oppose energy production in North America are "indirectly helping foreign terror groups."

"The less energy produced here on this continent, the more we have to import from foreign nations that hate democracy and free-market economies such as we enjoy in North America," Innis said. "The more dollars we sent to those foreign nations for energy, the more we end up subsidizing the foreign terror groups that these dictators support.

"Therefore, those who are want to strangle North American energy production are indirectly helping to support terrorist groups that trying as we speak here today to kill American and Canadian citizens," he said.

"I realize that this is a stark and uncomfortable chain of logic. It is an uncomfortable truth to speak," he said. "But it is truth nonetheless."

"I don't think the leaders of extremist environmental groups see things through this prism," he added. "They see their mission as forcing us to be a less consumptive and less prosperous society. They want us to adapt to a lower, less consumer-oriented standard of living. And they know that the best way to choke off economic growth is to get their hands around the neck of energy supply and squeeze."

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Contact: Brian McLaughlin, CORE, (718) 708-3509

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