Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Robin Kelly IL
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL-02) and Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY-09), both Co-Chairs of the Energy and Commerce Racial Disparities Working Group, today wrote to energy sector leaders to request a meeting to discuss minority representation at all levels of the energy sector.
“As Congress continues to support efforts to evolve into a clean energy leader, it is important that diverse voices are included in conversations that influence our energy policy and infrastructure of the future,” wrote the Members. “Changes to corporate culture on all levels are needed and we are pointing out the lack of diversity in the energy sector in hopes that this issue will be addressed quickly.”
“As Members of the Energy and Commerce Committee, we feel compelled to engage with energy companies and associations to get answers to critical questions that impact the many customers that they serve – our constituents.”
The Members have requested a meeting within the next 90 days to discuss:
- Recruitment processes for Boards of Directors and current minority composition of energy sector Boards of Directors;
- Minority makeup of senior executive leadership;
- Percentage of minority employees in federal government relations, state and local government relations, public policy, diversity and inclusion, human resources, and legal departments; and
- Level of business engagement with minority-owned vendors and suppliers.
The letter was sent to: Electricity-Edison (Edison Electric Institute), American Power Association, Electric Power Supply Association, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, National Hydropower Association, Solar Energy Institute Association, American Clean Power Association, Renewable Fuels Association, National Biodiesel Board, Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, American Gas Association, Natural Gas Supplier Association, American Petroleum Institute, and American Fuel and Petrochemical.
Full text of the letter is available here and below:
June 17, 2021
To Whom it May Concern:
We write to you today as members of House Energy and Commerce Committee’s informal working group on racial disparities to express our deep concern for the lack of diversity that we have observed within the energy sector’s workforce and leadership. For these reasons, we respectfully invite your organization to meet with our working group to discuss your organization’s diversity and inclusion practices and methods to increase the representation of racial, ethnic, and gender minorities throughout the energy sector workforce.
As you are aware, the consumer base that energy sector companies serve is comprised of diverse populations. However, a recent New York Times article found that merely 9% of sector-based board directors are Hispanic, Black, or Asian-American. Considering this reported trend, a lack of diversity within other key executive-level, corporate federal affairs, and trade association management positions is also of concern. As Congress continues to support efforts to establish the United States as a global clean energy leader, it is important that the diverse voices of all citizens are represented in the conversations, and corporate decision-making processes, that will influence the future of energy and infrastructure policies.
Throughout the nation, a variety of industries are seeking to address the lack of diversity within their ranks. According to the aforementioned report, by contrast, the energy sector has continued to underperform in terms of diversity during the past 5 years. This further emphasizes the need to transform the energy sector’s corporate cultures on a variety of levels. With this in mind, we believe it is important to create opportunities for open dialogue that will swiftly elevate this matter to foster solutions.
As Members of the Committee on Energy and Commerce — which has broad jurisdiction over national energy policy — we are compelled to engage you and your member companies to ensure a firm commitment to the representation of underrepresented and underserved minority communities. Therefore, we would like to meet with you within the next 30 days to discuss a series of questions that include but are not limited to the following:
- What is your recruitment process for the Board of Directors and how many racial, ethnic, and gender minorities currently serve on the Board of Directors?
- How many racial, ethnic, and gender minorities serve within senior executive leadership for your association and member companies?
- How many full-time minority employees do your member companies employ in the following departments: federal government relations, state and local government relations, public policy, diversity and inclusion, human resources and legal?
Thank you for your attention to this important matter and we look forward to the opportunity to discuss these questions with you in greater detail. If you have any questions related to this request, please contact Charles Bolden within the Office of Congresswoman Kelly at Charles.Bolden@mail.house.gov or Scott Matus within the Office of Congresswoman Clarke at Scott.Matus@mail.house.gov.
Rep. Robin L. Kelly Rep. Yvette D. Clarke
Member of Congress Member of Congress