When the leaders of America's cities gather this weekend in Oklahoma City for the US Conference of Mayors, they will be faced with a late addition to the agenda, an emergency meeting on the BP oil spill.
Mayors from the cities hardest hit by the Gulf of Mexico disaster are expected to attend the meeting on Sunday afternoon. It will include a conference call with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.
In an open letter to the mayors, the CEO and Executive Director of the US Conference of Mayors, Tom Cochran writes, “Mayors are doers, and I know we will leave here determined to support an do everything possible to help.”
He goes on to write, “While we don’t know what to do about what BP has done, I have never seen the mayors held hostage to anything. I know we will leave here determined to support and do everything possible to help Americans confront and demand BP and Washington act to protect the economies and human and wildlife.”
On Friday, in preparation for the weekend's events, the President of the USCM, Mayor Elizabeth Kautz of Burnsville, Minn. addressed the catastrophe, saying “We are here also here this week to stand in solidarity with our colleagues from the Gulf Coast.”
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu addressed the large number of job losses in the region, saying, "This is a national tragedy and it requires a national response.” Mayor Landrieu added, “If this oil is captured by the loop current, this horror movie that you are currently watching may be playing in a theater near you.”
Mayor Landrieu invited his fellow mayors to the Gulf Coast to see the damage firsthand. Tallahassee mayor John Marks said, “We are not at the local level getting the kind of information from BP or the unified command that we should be getting. This is hurting our local economies.”
The mayors are expected to vote Monday afternoon on a proposed resolution about the spill. It calls for President Obama to “initiate emergency assessments by key federal department and agencies.” It also calls for the President to establish a special task force of senior federal officials and mayors that would provide updated information and assist in mitigation efforts to limit the economic consequences of the disaster.
The national economy, jobs and immigration will also be on the mayors' agenda.
Among the dozens of other proposed resolutions they are expected to vote on is resolution #64: Creating jobs and reducing high unemployment in metropolitan areas. It urges Congress to pass the Local Jobs for America Act. If the act were approved, it would provide $75 billion dollars in direct aid to local governments to help retain critical workers who would otherwise be laid off due to budget shortfalls.
The mayors of Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, and Ft. Myers will appear on