Dr. William A. Burke (File Photo)

Dr. William “Bill” Burke, renowned environmental justice advocate, has been nominated to serve on the Alliance for Renewable Clean Hydrogen Energy Systems (ARCHES) Board of Directors. In this position, Burke will assume the Renewables 100 Policy Institute board seat. 

His appointment was announced on June 14, by Angelina Galiteva, Renewables 100 founder and board chair; and Diane Moss, Renewables 100 founder, board secretary and executive director.  The board also includes Josephine Gonzalez, board treasurer; and Sona Coffee and Carol Hamilton, board members. 

Dr. Burke was truly humbled by the appointment and vowed to do everything within his power to ensure that the Black and Brown community were able to participate in this program.  

“If gasoline was the backbone of the U.S. economy for the past 150 years, then hydrogen is the new gasoline.  While California has received $1.2 Billion in initial funding for this project, the overall investment into hydrogen is in excess of $60 Billion and makes it the largest grant ever awarded,” he stated.  

“My goal is to ensure that these dollars and this opportunity will strengthen and enrich the economic position of the minority community throughout America.  But as a community we must get on the train and as a board member it will be my job to make sure there are seats on the train for those who have traditionally been excluded from participating,” added Dr. Burke.   

Outlining Burke’s qualifications, Galiteva and Moss said, “Your contribution and dedication to  

the causes of clean air, climate change mitigation, renewable resource integration and overall health and community benefits are widely acknowledged. We are confident that your remarkable environmental leadership, along with your deep technical and business experience will greatly benefit the ARCHES Board.” 

“Dr. William Burke is the ideal selection for our community to serve on the ARCHES Board.  His commitment to Environmental Justice and his reputation in the environmental space for fighting for Black People and underserved communities and inclusiveness is respected and appreciated throughout this nation.  Having Bill serve on this board will ensure that our community reaps some of the many benefits and an equitable share of the $1.2 Billion Dollars allocated to this program,” noted Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., veteran community activist and chairman of the Los Angeles Brotherhood Crusade and Bakewell Media. 

Burke served 27 years on governing board of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, included 23 years as the chairman. His accomplishments include establishing the Asthma and Outdoor Air Quality Consortium to better understand the relationship between air pollution exposure and asthma, creating the Helping Hands Initiative to sponsor green job training, and founding AQMD’s Environmental Justice Community Partnership to strengthen relations with environmental justice groups and local communities. 

His environmental efforts received national acclaim in 2023 when he became the first African American to receive the Thomas W. Zosel Outstanding Individual Achievement Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.   

According to Galiteva and Moss, ARCHES Board members focus on “building out California’s sustainable and renewable clean hydrogen ecosystem and marketplace while benefitting disadvantaged communities, achieving ambitious State air quality and climate goals, and accelerating the State transition to a carbon neutral economy by 2045.”  

Burke will be the founding member representative on the ARCHES Board where he “will be involved in the strategic decision-making process and help guide the future direction of California’s multi-billion-dollar hydrogen hub that was recently awarded $1.2 billion by the U.S. Department of Energy,” added Galiteva and Moss.