The State House voted 72 to 23 to label a worldwide environmental sustainability program promoted by the United Nations as ‘evil.’
The United Nations’ Agenda 21 program to create a sustainable world was signed by Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush.
But the Tennessee House of Representatives adopted a non-binding resolution to declare the program an evil attack on private property.
Franklin Representative Glen Casada summed up his outrage about the U.N. program’s focus on the “carrying capacity” of the Earth. ‘
“I think this planet carries me and the eight billion people that are here right now, just fine. And what these individuals want to do, they want to cap the number of people that this planet can have.”
That leads inevitably, the Williamson County Republican says, to forced abortions.
House Democratic Leader Mike Turner says he went looking for a model bill the resolution is based on and found it on the John Burch Society website.
The John Birch Society was against the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, claiming it was Communist-inspired. After decades of eclipse, the Society has recently re-emerged, claiming parallels to the Tea Party movement.
Agenda 21 was adopted at UN conference in 1992, but was never endorsed by the U.S. Congress. State action isn’t finished on the resolution spurning the program. The Senate will soon vote on a similar measure.
Here’s the wording of the measure, as adopted by the House. Sponsor Kenneth Brooks says it closely follows the wording of the national GOP.
Casada says the U.N. initiative leads to keeping people from using up gasoline in cars. Wrong message, he says.
“And if you drill people what they’re telling us, is, they want humans to use less resources, because we’re a enemy to the planet, if you will. I’m sorry, but humans are not enemies to the planet. We need to be creating more energy, not consuming less.”
House Democratic Leader Mike Turner of Nashville says he read the U.N. policy statements dealing with Agenda 21.
“I didn’t see anything in there about …you know, where you couldn’t own a car. It talks about sustainable growth. But so does the National Chamber of Commerce website, it talks about sustainable growth, too.”
Turner searched for the term “Agenda 21” on the national Republican Party website but came away empty.
“Well I typed in ‘model bill…model bill legislation on Agenda 21’…and guess where I found it at? The John Birch Society.”
After the House voted, a slender man in a khaki sports coat, wearing a “Don’t Tread on Me” lapel pin, showed up in the lobby outside the chamber. He introduced himself.
“Jim Sandman, with the John Birch Society. The federal agencies that are involved with promoting sustainable development are like the EPA, HUD, Department of Transportation…those are the agencies that are involved in enforcing the regulations and policies for the taking of private property, or for controlling your private property.”
Sandman, a retired Navy chief petty officer, maintains that the John Birch Society was never an intolerant organization but is the victim of bad press.
“Now, we were smeared in the early Sixties. Initially from the Communists, and other left-leaning folks. And now it’s even the Right, some of the… people on the Right are still smearing us. They just regurgitated the original smear….We’re not racists, we’re not anti-Semitic, we’re not like the KKK…we’re just about the Constitution.”
Thewebsite of the John Birch Society indeed offers a model bill opposing Agenda 21, and claims that the Tea Party movement is on the side of the JBS on the issue.
How the House voted:
72 Representatives voting aye were: Alexander, Brooks H, Brooks K, Butt, Campbell, Carr, Casada, Cobb, Coley, Curtiss, Dean, Dennis, Dunn, Elam, Eldridge, Evans, Faison, Floyd, Ford, Forgety, Gotto, Halford, Hall, Harrison, Hawk, Haynes, Hensley, Hill, Holt, Hurley, Johnson C, Johnson P, Keisling, Kernell, Lollar, Lundberg, Maggart, Marsh, Matheny, Matlock, McCormick, McDaniel, McDonald, McManus, Miller D, Montgomery, Niceley, Pitts, Pody, Powers, Ragan, Ramsey, Rich, Roach, Sanderson, Sargent, Sexton, Shepard, Shipley, Sparks, Swann, Tidwell, Todd, Watson, Weaver, White, Williams K, Williams R, Windle, Wirgau, Womick, Madam Speaker Harwell.
23 Representatives voting no were: Armstrong, Brown, Camper, Cooper, DeBerry L, Favors, Gilmore, Hardaway, Jones, Miller L, Moore, Naifeh, Odom, Parkinson, Pruitt, Richardson, Shaw, Sontany, Stewart, Tindell, Towns, Turner J, Turner M.
Also today, the state Department of Environment and Conservation announced it has extended the deadline to nominate Tennesseans for the Governor’s 2012 Environmental Stewardship Awards to April 30. One of the categories is “Sustainable Performance.”
The 10 categories recognized by the state:
Energy and Renewable Resources
Environmental Education and Outreach (business category)
Environmental Education and Outreach (school category)