Tuesday, 25 October 2011

County in Washington Ditches Sustainable Development

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Activists in Clallam County, Washington are celebrating their government's decision to pull the plug on membership in the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), a worldwide association of more than 1,200 local governments dedicated to promoting the United Nations' sovereignty-eroding sustainable development program known as Agenda 21. The county will save $1,200 in annual membership dues, but ICLEI critics say they've salvaged much more than that.

ICLEI is a threat to private property ownership and constitutional rights. So says Clallam County GOP Chairman Dick Pilling who submitted to the county commissioners in August a resolution his party passed unanimously to withdraw ICLEI membership and end Agenda 21 programs. His remarks, detailed at Citizen Review Online, include the warning that ICLEI's idea of sustainable development is to promote UN Agenda 21, a plan drafted at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. He quoted official documents stating the published agenda of UN habitat programs is to protect the environment by moving people from rural areas into cities and that "land ... cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals, [as this] contributes to social injustice."

"Have you guys really signed onto an organization that would eliminate our property rights?" Pilling asked the commissioners.

He reminded them of the comments Earth Summit Secretary-General Maurice Strong made ushering in Agenda 21: "Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class — involving high meat intake, the use of fossil fuels, electrical appliances, home and work-place air-conditioning and suburban housing — are not sustainable."

Pilling said Strong wants to eliminate so-called wasteful "consumption patterns" but interrupted himself to ask incredulously, "Are you kidding me? We can't eat meat? We can't have labor-saving appliances?"

But Pilling saved the worst for last, pointing out the most damning aspect of Agenda 21 is its planned core wilderness reserves that would turn 50 percent of America into areas where no human activity would be allowed and "individual right must give way to the collective."

Cautioning the commissioners that ICLEI calls on its members to be prepared to commit to "radical action," Pilling also reminded them of their duty as elected representatives to work for the best interests of their county.

Last week, the commission voted to defund its annual ICLEI membership fee in the county budget. Clallam County has belonged to the association for three years, and its current membership expires at the end of December. The city of Sequim, located in Clallam County, already allowed its membership to expire last month. The latter is still listed as active on the ICLEI website.

It isn't the only one. Carroll County, Maryland; Amador County, California; Edmond, Oklahoma; Albemarle County, Virginia; Carver, Massachusetts; Pinellas County, Florida; Garland, Texas; Sarasota County, Florida; and James County, Virginia have all withdrawn from ICLEI but are still numbered among the association's 533 U.S. members. (The total has, however, significantly declined from more than 600 a mere two years ago.)

Ending an ICLEI contract is "just the first punch" in the battle against Agenda 21 warns American Policy Center President Tom Deweese. Even former members will likely have well-established ICLEI programs in place made up of non-elected boards, regional government councils, and environmental policies. Deweese's warning has played out in Oklahoma City where residents' delight over leaving ICLEI is tempered by the city's sustainable development plan calling for an end to suburban development. Deweese says “an active campaign to dismantle” such entrenched measures is necessary to protect citizens from future unconstitutional encroachment.

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