The Coalition For Energy Independence And Citizen Ownership
(in collaboration with the Center for Economic and Social Justice)
On March 26, 2009 at the National Press Building in Washington, D.C., leaders from one of the most poverty-impacted communities in the U.S., the City of East St. Louis and fourteen surrounding communities in Southern Illinois, traveled to the nation’s capital to launch a comprehensive stimulus solution of their own, calling for its support as a viable antidote to the unprecedented financial crisis in the United States
Millions of Americans who have been devastated by the economic crisis that now grips the country and the world have a message for those who are currently designing bail out initiatives: “Cut Us In or Cut It Out!” They are, of course, talking about the “Troubled Assets Relief Program” (TARP) that seems clearly to be a bailout plan for the “wealthy few” on Wall Street but not for the “unmonied many” on the Side Streets and Main Streets of America who are being devastated by mortgage foreclosures, job losses and the collapse of the credit system for both individuals and small businesses. They are saying to their government’s policy makers: “Cut us in on the bailout or cut it out for the wealthy few!”
The Hon. Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy, who served for twenty years as D.C. Representative to the U.S. Congress, six years of which were as Chairman of the House Banking Subcommittee on Monetary Policy, presented the Hon. Alvin Parks, Mayor of East St. Louis, IL and the Hon. Nathaniel O’Bannon, Mayor of Brooklyn, Il. They detailed a plan that the people of these communities have developed with the invaluable assistance of a team of political, technology and economic advisors to lift themselves and, indeed, the nation out of the quagmire of public policies that have thus far failed to resolve the crisis.
East St. Louis, IL, has experienced a prolonged unemployment rate of 23%, and overall the poverty rate is 31% in the fifteen communities comprising the East St. Louis Metro East Riverfront Communities area. The project that the two mayors unveiled will introduce a revitalization plan for the region called the American Bottoms that will turn every citizen into a shareholder of the newly formed Metro East Citizens Land Cooperative. The plan calls for advanced renewable energy systems (ARES) to be owned by every local citizen; it is the first step in a national strategy called “capital homesteading” that would finance energy independence and economic empowerment of every citizen.
The first E-Macrosystem advanced renewable energy system and manufacturing center will create approximately 2,100 jobs: 200 full-time and part-time temporary construction jobs (with expected two year duration), 300 fulltime permanent jobs (after all phases of ramping-up are complete), and 1,600 regional / national enhancement job opportunities (including public services, agriculture, forestry, medical, retail, general services and manufacturing of component parts outside of the East St. Louis region).
The MECLC is based on the model of the for-profit, professionally managed, citizen-owned “Community Investment Corporation.” MECLC’s planned project will demonstrate integrated technology that produces emissions-free, independent power from all forms of waste and sunlight. Other benefits of the plan are ARES component manufacturing, robust job creation and broad citizen ownership of productive assets. Equity and profits from the new energy systems and local land development will flow to each citizen.
Net profits will be distributed to the citizen-owners from the sales of by-products generated from an E-Macrosystem ARES and manufacturing center. By-product sales include: green Premium Power to the grid (demanded by the pharmaceutical and computer chip industries, among others), potable water, medical oxygen, clean hydrogen, methanol, paraffins, other carbonaceous products, and through the emissions-free disposal of medical and hazardous industrial waste, agricultural waste, and biomass. Additionally, each E-Macrosystem has leasable floor space
The MECLC plan initiates commercialization of ARES technologies developed in the U.S. space and defense programs. ARES involve solar fuel cell regeneration, waste steam reforming systems, and coal-based complex thermal composite materials for construction. MECLC’s turnkey pilot project is ready for final design and construction under the professional oversight of Equitech International, LLC and Whiting Turner Construction Company, a top 5 U.S. construction and bonding firm.
The Hon. Alvin Parks, Mayor of East St. Louis, IL and the Hon. Nathaniel O’Bannon, Mayor of Brooklyn, IL, were joined by a team of technology advisors to outline the initiative and and to hand deliver a letter for President Obama, outlining the details of the plan.
Other individuals invited to the press conference to answer questions regarding the MECLC project, included: