Mississippi Communities United for Prosperity
In 2021, Climate Nexus launched an Energy Equity Regranting Project to help resource organizations, tribes, and community leaders on the frontlines of climate change and the impactful work they are doing to fight the gas industry. The energy equity transition grants prioritize grassroots groups with an annual budget of $1 million or less to boost their efforts in racially, ethnically, gender, and culturally diverse communities across the United States and at the intersections of public health and energy justice.
In our first year running the program, nine organizations received grants ranging from $20,000 to $40,000, including the Mississippi Communities United for Prosperity, whose work is detailed below.
The town of Duck Hill, Mississippi, where more than 60% of the population is Black owns its methane gas pipeline. Atmos Energy is pressuring the town to sell the pipeline as part of the company’s expansion plans. The Board of Aldermen unanimously voted against the sale, but Duck Hill’s State Senator and Public Service Commissioner threatened the town with eminent domain. The gas pipeline accounts for 65% of the town’s general revenue. Duck Hill supplies natural gas to adjacent towns and Camp McCain military base. The probability of the town losing its primary revenue source to Atmos Energy is high. MCUP is examining the feasibility of Duck Hill developing a solar and wind park to convert the town to 100% renewable energy and electrification.
Climate change and associated extreme events will increase the inequities in Duck Hill, Mississippi, unless planning efforts increase its climate preparedness. By engaging community members in a vulnerability assessment and climate adaptation strategy planning process, MCUP helped residents develop a strategy to demand the protection and services to thrive as a community. MCUP’s Achieving Sustainability through Education and Economic Development Solutions (ASEEDS) project engaged with Duck Hill residents and surrounding areas to develop a Climate Action Plan. The results of this report were derived through a series of workshops, individual conversations, and surveys.
The Climate Action Plan was developed through a community participatory process, community visioning, and listening sessions to address climate change and develop resilience-based solutions. Participants conducted a climate vulnerability assessment of Duck Hills’ critical assets and resources and developed solutions and adaptation strategies to those vulnerabilities.
COVID-19 taught MCUP a lot. They learned how critical it is for their communities to become adaptable and resilient to climate change and pandemics. MCUP felt they were totally unequipped. “If the nation was unequipped, you can imagine how devastating it was for these small rural communities that we work in,” said Romona Williams, Executive Director of MCUP. As a result, the organization is starting to focus on getting resiliency plans and disaster preparedness plans in place in every community they work in.
Future and Sustainability
MCUP plans to build its organizational capacity to carry out the high-level work outlined during its strategic planning process. “We have strong partners, but partners can’t do it all,” concluded Williams. “Partners aren’t here to push things at the local level, the state level so that we will be able to move an equity and justice agenda in Mississippi.”
Filter Grantees by Year:
Earth Care is fighting false solutions like hydrogen and carbon capture, and is building public awareness of the health dangers of fracking.
The Sacred Places Institute for Indigenous Peoples is a forum for tribal communities to protect sacred sites and advance environmental priorities.
Rise to Thrive builds community among Women and Femmes of Color across the country to catalyze a shift of power within the environmental movement.
RENEW Worcester advances energy projects that prioritize communities and the buildout of affordable, renewable energy.
Viet Voices educates San Diego’s Vietnamese community about sustainability, environmental health, and accessible housing.
The Society of Native Nations works in Texas and California to contest the oil, gas, and petrochemical buildout from the Permian Basin to the Gulf Coast.
The Vessel Project is a mutual aid organization supporting people in Calcasieu Parish by meeting their emergency needs efficiently and without barriers.
VISIÓN works with community organizations to establish health and safety buffer zones between oil wells and homes and schools.
7 Directions of Service is fighting to cancel the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s Southgate Extension and to advance Rights of Nature laws.
PJC organizes not-for-profit electricity coops around Montgomery and is organizing their constituency around energy and environmental justice.
Washington Interfaith Network is working to help low- and moderate income DC households switch from fossil fuels to clean and efficient electric heating.
MCUP advances energy equity in Black and Indigenous communities by training women in clean energy contracting and project management.