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Fifty faith leaders urge President
to make Gulf restoration a priority

New York, October 16, 2006 -- The National Council of Churches General Secretary, the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, joined more than 50 leading Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders in urging President Barack Obama to make poverty, climate and coastal restoration a priority in Gulf Coast communities still struggling to come back from Hurricane Katrina.

In a letter to the president that coincided Thursday with Mr. Obama’s first visit to New Orleans since he took office, the faith leaders said, "Four years after hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck and the levees were breached, the slow pace of recovery, persistent poverty, climate change and coastal land loss have created a moral crisis across the region that demands a powerful response from people of faith and our elected officials."

The full text of the letter is available here.

Organized by Louisiana-based interfaith groups All Congregations Together (ACT) and Bayou Interfaith Shared Community Organizing (BISCO), the letter urges Obama to look to a bipartisan bill, HR 2269, the Gulf Coast Civic Works Act, as a model for resident-led recovery policy to "ensure just and sustainable recovery for all Gulf Coast communities." HR 2269 would create 100,000 green jobs for hurricane survivors rebuilding affordable housing and infrastructure, restoring wetlands and promoting energy efficiency and climate change resiliency.

The letter was written in coordination with "Fighting Poverty with Faith," an interfaith week of action October 14-21, focused on urging elected officials to make poverty reduction a key goal in the nation's transition to a new green economy.

ACT and BISCO are co-founders of the Gulf Coast Civic Works Campaign, a nonpartisan partnership of community, faith, environmental, student, and human rights organizations in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi and their national allies advocating for federal legislation based on HR 2269.

NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228 (office), 914-589-6948 (cell) ,

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