Mayors Challenge Use of Tar Sands Oil and Other High Carbon Fuels

Local Leaders Adopt Important Global Warming Policy

MIAMI (June 23, 2008) --  The U.S. Conference of Mayors convened in Miami this weekend and adopted a resolution that challenges the use of high carbon fuels such as tar sands, liquid coal, and oil shale. The resolution calls for the creation of guidelines and purchasing standards to help mayors understand the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of the fuels they purchase.

These unconventional and synthetic fuels are derived from difficult-to-access, lower-grade raw materials, and production can emit two-to-five times more global warming pollution than conventional oil.

"In the last few years, U.S. mayors have come out as leaders on environmental initiatives, specifically in the fight to stop global warming," said Susan Casey-Lefkowitz a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).  "Mayors see their residents' needs every day, and they see the impact that global warming is going to have on their cities. That’s why over 850 mayors across the nation already have taken action on climate change. This resolution will help implement their commitment to fight global warming by giving mayors the information they need about dirty fuels such as tar sands oil.”

The resolution:
  • encourages fuel lifecycle emissions analyses that include emissions from production, not just from burning the fuel;
  • supports Federal and State guidelines for tracking the origin of various types of fuel;
  • encourages mayors to track and reduce lifecycle emissions from their cities’ municipal vehicles, paying special attention to the use of unconventional and synthetic fuels. 
"We don't want to spend taxpayer dollars on fuels that make global warming worse," said Mayor Kitty Piercy, of Eugene, Oregon, who submitted the resolution. "Tar sands oil emits up to three times the greenhouse gases in the production process per barrel as conventional oil production. Our cities are asking for environmentally sustainable energy and not fuels from dirty sources such as tar sands."

"The mayors have once again confirmed that they're serious about combating climate change," said Mayor Marty Blum of Santa Barbara, California.  "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, IA. "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, OR and co-sponsored by 10 other mayors: Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco, CA; Mayor Frank Cownie of Des Moines, IA; Mayor Marty Blum of Santa Barbara, CA; Mayor Jennifer Hosterman of Pleasanton, CA; Mayor Larry Nelson of Waukesha, WI; Mayor Douglas Palmer of Trenton, NJ; Mayor Roy Buol of Dubuque, IA; Mayor Christopher Cabaldon of West Sacramento, CA; Mayor Dan Coody of Fayetteville, AR; Mayor Will Wynn of Austin, TX; and Beverly Johnson of Alameda, CA.

The resolution is available at