Why are GOP lawmakers in Missouri worried about a 1992 United Nations agreement that the U.S signed alongside hundreds of other nations? Because they say have proof that this non-binding Agenda 21, a sustainable development effort, poses a serious threat to Missouri residents in 2013.
"One of the goals of Agenda 21 is not so covertly -- it's almost completely overt -- and that is to control land and decrease the ability for people to have ownership over private land," Republican State Senator Brian Nieves said at a Senate committee hearing last week. Nieves was speaking about his Senate Bill 265 that would prohibit government from recommending policies that are traceable to the U.N agreement and infringe on private property rights.
Is this a legitimate cause, or, as critics say, a paranoid waste of time?
Let's take a look at the evidence Nieves presented last week.
He presented information from a group called Sovereignty International, which, as its website says, "focuses on threats to national sovereignty in public policies." The organization does research on the rise of "global governance" and has concerns about this so-called "global warming," citing work from an individual who talks about the "climate of fear" and the "global warming scam."
The document Nieves handed out at his committee, full version on view below, was titled, "Sustainable Development Or Sustainable Freedom?" and comes from a group called Freedom21, with support from the Sovereignty International group.
Why should we be afraid of sustainable development? The report says:
Comprehensive master plans often establish "urban boundary zones" beyond which municipal services such as water, sewer, fire, and police protection are not provided. One of the primary functions of these comprehensive master plans is to create "sustainable communities."
[S]ustainable communities are the result of deliberate, top-down government management of local communities. There is no other way to explain the fact that virtually every county's comprehensive master plan contains the same elements, the same goals, the same processes, all of which are spelled out in Agenda 21.... These comprehensive master plans often bring more than development prohibitions and higher taxes. These plans bring detailed restrictions on human activity.
Continue for more details on the legislation and a video of last week's testimony.
Nieves did not return a request for comment last week, but Representative Lyle Rowland, who introduced a companion bill in the House, told us that he is worried about possible government seizure of private property through this green agenda.
It was approved by a House committee.
As part of his testimony, Nieves offered some quotes from a 1972 U.N. Conference on the Environment.
What's at stake here, Nieves' evidence says, is our freedom.
"Government at every level has been permeated by people who believe that government control of society creates better living conditions for society than can be created by individual freedom and free markets," the Freedom21 report says. "The opposite is true, of course, as is evidenced by the first 200 years of prosperity in America."
Here's footage from last week's hearing courtesy of Progress Missouri.
And here's a copy of Nieves' proposal, followed by the "Sustainable Development Or Sustainable Freedom?" report he handed out.