'Green' policies are part of a plot, some TN lawmakers say | The Tennessean | tennessean.com
'Green' policies are part of a plot, some TN lawmakers say

10:37 AM, Mar. 7, 2012 |

State Rep. Rick Womick of Rutherford County is one of the resolution’s sponsors. / File / Gannett Tennessee

Written by

Anne Paine

The Tennessean

A resolution in the state legislature opposes what is depicted as an insidious United Nations scheme to take away citizens’ property rights through radical environmentalism.
The legislation, which refers to “Agenda 21,” is pending as planners and property rights advocates spar over a series of bills related to how development should be regulated.
Several, including a bill about Agenda 21, are on the noon agenda today of the House State and Local Government subcommittee at Legislative Plaza. The separate House Joint Resolution 0587, which passed the full committee Tuesday, is expected to go to the House for a vote as early as next week.
Agenda 21, a non-binding, dynamic U.N. plan adopted by more than 178 governments in 1992, talks about the need to work together to find ways to ensure clean water and air and stable food supplies as the planet’s population grows.

Its focuses include a need for transparency of commodity markets, research on what affects the planet’s atmosphere and energy efficiency to conserve resources.
The 20-year-old program is viewed by some as a plot for world dominance.
The proposed resolution says that global political control is one of the intentions of the U.N. program and it is being covertly pushed into local communities through policies that incorporate words like “sustainable development,” “green” or “regional visioning.”

Parts of the resolution word-for-word are found in a model Stop Agenda 21 bill that the John Birch Society offers on its website. The 54-year-old organization, which opposed the Civil Rights Act, fights efforts that include what it paints as a conspiracy under way to impose one-world government.
The resolution, which equates Agenda 21 with socialism and communism, endorses rejection of the program’s “radical policies” and “any grant monies attached to it.”

Rep. Rick Womick of Rutherford County, one of the resolution’s sponsors, said Tuesday that the U.N. created multiple political subdivisions and independent shadow organizations in a stealth move to work with towns and cities and undermine rights.

He said the “grandiose plan” is meant to stop economic growth and includes telling people they must, for instance, set aside wetlands or regulate against urban sprawl.
“It’s about taking property rights away from people,” said Womick, R-Rockvale. “People are fed up with government interfering with their lives.”

Womick said the Council for Local Environmental Initiatives is one of the U.N. groups worming its way into local activities — Nashville, for one — to do harm.
According to Bonna Johnson, spokeswoman for Mayor Karl Dean, Nashville, like many other cities has been a member of the group that provides technical assistance and standardized software for greenhouse gas inventory tracking.
“Our two years as ICLEI members was a positive experience, but we have finished that tracking project, and last year we discontinued the city’s membership in the ICLEI,” she said.
Womick is also a sponsor of House Bill 3571, which is among bills to be heard at noon, that would ban any local governments or other entities from taking part in any programs with ICLEI or a few other groups.
Another he proposed, House Bill 3572, which is on the agenda today of the Judiciary subcommittee, says property rights means not having to follow any “smart growth” plans, including accommodating greenways or bike lanes.
Trip Pollard with the Southern Environmental Law Centersaid conspiracy talk has popped up around the South in connection with efforts to plan for the future, including when programs are proposed to promote energy efficiency.
I’ve been called a U.N. tool and part of a communist plot,” he said.
“Sustainability is not a plot. It is a good thing. It means we will try to use our resources and develop more wisely so we can pass healthy air and water on to future generations.”
The accusations in relation to the U.N. have surfaced over non-partisan efforts in Tennessee to set aside natural areas and establish land trusts that protect environmentally sensitive lands as well as areas that are scenic and have historical or cultural significance.
“Agenda 21 is entirely voluntary and innocuous,” said Mark Potok, a senior fellow of the Southern Poverty Law Center. “It’s not legally binding. They’re ginning up fears all around the country based on a conspiracy theory that holds no water whatsoever.”
Sponsors of the resolution in addition to Womick, all Republicans, are Kevin Brooks of Cleveland, Jeremy Faison of Cosby, Joe Carr of Lascassas, Richard L. Floyd of Chattanooga, Don Miller of Morristown, Debra Maggart of Hendersonville, Barrett Rich of Hickory Withe, Terri Lynn Weaver of Lancaster, Matthew Hill of Jonesborough, Frank Niceley of Strawberry Plains, Ron Lollar of Bartlett, Phillip Johnson of Pegram, Curtis Halford of Dyer, Jim Gotto of Hermitage, Judd Matheny of Tullahoma, Scotty Campbell of Mountain City, Joshua Evans of Greenbrier, Glen Casada of College Grove, Mike Sparks of Smyrna, Sheila Butt of Columbia, Vince Dean of East Ridge, Joey Hensley of Hohenwald, Mike Harrison of Rogersville, Ryan Williams of Cookeville and Jimmy Matlock of Lenoir City.
Georgia and New Hampshire are among other states that have had anti-Agenda 21 bills introduced this year.