Mayor Landrieu’s Confession: New Orleans' Natural Resources A Blessing And A Curse

VATICAN CITY (AP) — New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said New Orleans’ abundant natural resources are both a blessing and a curse.

         Landrieu has joined “environmentally friendly” mayors from around the world at the Vatican for a two-day conference focusing on fighting climate change and human trafficking.

         At the conference today, Landrieu said while the New Orleans area supplies one-quarter of all the seafood produced in America and also provides more oil and gas to the U.S. than Saudi Arabia, there’s a downside.

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         "That economic benefit comes at a cost," Landrieu said.

         Landrieu recalled the 2010 British Petroleum oil spill, which killed 11 workers and disgorged 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. And he reminded 60 of his fellow mayors of the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, which killed 1,800 people in 2005 and exposed how the city's poorest neighborhoods were vulnerable to sea surges.

         "We became a warning to all others that neglect and environmental degradation has consequences," Landrieu said.

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         Pope Francis is expected to address the meeting later today. He's a new hero to the environmental movement, thanks to his recent encyclical denouncing the world's fossil fuel-based economy that he says exploits the poor and destroys the Earth.

         The mayors are expected to sign a declaration at the end of the day demanding that their national leaders approve a "bold climate agreement" at Paris talks in December that keeps global warming at a safe limit for humanity.


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