The 76th annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors wrapped up Tuesday at the Miami InterContinental Hotel where Mayor Jennifer Hosterman joined others in endorsing or signing a number of resolutions ranging from opposing U.S. intervention in Iran to supporting the elimination of all nuclear weapons by the year 2020.
The conference featured keynote addresses Sunday by Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, and Monday by former President Bill Clinton. John McCain, the presumptive Republican candidate for president, met with leaders of the mayors' conference but did not address the general session.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of the 1,139 cities in the country that have populations of 30,000 or more.
Hosterman, who has been active in the conference and its subcommittees, also signed on to the conference's 10-point plan calling for stronger cities, strong families and a stronger America. Housing problems, including foreclosures, rising fuel prices, the economic slowdown and federal and state funding cutbacks on key public programs affecting cities also brought support from Hosterman who called the conference "a great opportunity to come together and work together to address our mutual concerns."
Hosterman's signature was on Resolution No. 55, "Opposes drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife refuge;" Resolution No. 81, "Support for the elimination of all nuclear weapons by the year 2020, and on a resolution submitted by Mayor Bob Kiss of Burlington, Vt., called "Mayoral No War on Iran Resolution."
The city of Pleasanton and Hosterman also won honorable mention in the 2008 mayors' climate protection awards category for their commitment to addressing the threat of climate disruptions which the mayors said can hurt the environmental and economic health of their communities.
Hosterman was actually a sponsor of the anti-ANWR drilling agreement with Mayor Martin J. Chavez of Albuquerque. The resolution, which was adopted by the mayors, asserts that even if drilling in the wildlife refuge started immediately, "the ANWR would only produce one million barrels of oil per day, but not until 2015 when all necessary pipelines were in place."
The Hosterman-Chavez resolution further states:
"The production of one million barrels of oil per day from the ANWR represents a mere 4 percent of anticipated U.S. petroleum consumption and 6 percent of all imports. U.S. reliance on imported petroleum will rise from 58 percent in 2010 to 65 percent in 2020 and 68 percent in 2025, and as such, the tiny fraction of U.S. imports from ANWR would only grow smaller with each passing year.
"Drilling for oil production in ANWR is not an answer to the nation's dependence upon foreign oil. The Arctic Refuge is the last piece of America's Arctic coastline not already open to oil exploration, and the Arctic Refuge is one of the world's last, true wilderness areas which coastal plain consists of a fragile swath of tundra teeming with staggering numbers of birds and animals, and a vital birthing ground for polar bears, grizzlies, Arctic wolves, caribou and the endangered shaggy musk ox."
In a report published Tuesday morning in the Calgary Herald on Alberta's response to the resolution, staff writer Jon Harding wrote:
"This latest outcry came not from green groups, but from political leaders of the largest cities in the United States who called for a crackdown on fuels they said would cause catastrophic global warming at the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors."
But Hosterman defended her position, telling Harding in an interview: "We don't want to be...promoting the use of fuels which exceed the greenhouse gas emissions that are currently put into the atmosphere by (conventional) fuels."
The resolution challenges the use of high carbon fuels such as tar sands, liquid coal, and oil shale. Specifically it calls for:
* encouraging fuel lifecycle emissions analyses that include emissions from production, not just from burning the fuel;
* supporting federal and state guidelines for tracking the origin of various types of fuel;
* encouraging mayors to track and reduce lifecycle emissions from their cities' municipal vehicles, paying special attention to the use of unconventional and synthetic fuels.
"The mayors have once again confirmed that they're serious about combating climate change," said Mayor Marty Blum of Santa Barbara. "Not only will we give preference to clean, renewable energy sources, we are standing our ground when it comes to synthetic petroleum-based fuels that exacerbate global warming."
"Global warming is the one of the most critical issues facing our cities," said Mayor Frank Cownie of Des Moines. "This resolution shows our willingness to take action to move forward - not backwards which is where fuels such as tar sands oil will take us."
The High Carbon Fuels Resolution was submitted by Mayor Piercy of Eugene, Ore. and co-sponsored by Hosterman, Blum, Cownie and eight other mayors: Gavin Newsom of San Francisco; Larry Nelson of Waukesha, Wisc.; Douglas Palmer of Trenton, N.J.; Roy Buol of Dubuque, Ia.; Christopher Cabaldon of West Sacramento; Dan Coody of Fayetteville, Ark.; Will Wynn of Austin, Texas, and Beverly Johnson of Alameda.
As for the resolution opposing military action against Iran, Hosterman signed on to a document by the Burlington, Vt. mayor urging "a strong and large showing from mayors nationwide...a resolution (that) aims at avoiding another devastating war and calls for the use of diplomacy and for Congressional authorization before the use of any force."
"In these times when the Iraq war has sapped so many of our financial resources and cost the lives of our brave soldiers, I hope you will join me in voicing the determination of mayors across this country to stop a war with Iran before it begins," the resolution states.
The resolution, which had 20 co-sponsors, including Hosterman, urged the Bush Administration to pursue diplomatic engagement with Iran on nuclear issues and end the violence in Iraq. It urged Congress to prohibit the use of funds to carry out any military action against Iran without explicit Congressional authorization.
"These allegations are similar to the lead-up to the Iraq War and U.S. occupation, with the selective use of information and unsubstantiated accusations about Iran's nuclear program and its supply of weapons to Iraqi forces as centerpieces of a case to the American people for aggression against Iran," the resolution states. "Iran has not threatened to attack the United States, and no compelling evidence has been presented to document that Iran poses a real and imminent threat to the security and safety of the United States that would justify an unprovoked unilateral pre-emptive military attack."
The resolution calling for the elimination of all nuclear weapons by 2020 followed similar efforts by a group of mayors at recent conferences to eliminate all nuclear weapons and stop the nuclear arms race. Hosterman walked with the "Mayors for Peace" group a year ago and signed on to this similar resolution, which again urges the federal government to sign the Kyoto Protocol on global warming and the Hiroshima-Nagasaki protocol, which could "conclude negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control."
During their concluding business session Tuesday, the nation's mayors debated and voted on other policy recommendations to forward to Congress and the new presidential administration. Among these were resolutions on bottled water, immigration, a national broadband policy on high speed internet connections and U.S. trade relations with Colombia.
In the midst of rising gas prices, increasing food costs and a weakening national economy, the mayors also released a survey showing the relationship between fuel costs, city budgets and mayors' climate protection efforts. Mayors are already leading on this issue in that more than 850 mayors, including Hosterman, have signed onto the mayors' climate protection agreement, which is a pledge for mayors to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in cities all over the country.
More information on the mayors' conference can be found on the organization's website at www.usmayors.org.