Testimony by Tom DeWeese

Testimony By Tom DeWeese
Coordination Hearing
Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association
Rhinelander, Wisconsin
October 5, 2013

My task today is to connect some dots from the policies you are facing to their origins and their intended purposes. And I will show you the legislative process that has dropped them at your door.

I will also give you specific details about how you are being affected by related policies, and, most importantly, I’ll report to you some very successful efforts to combat these policies.

Specifically, I’m going to talk to you about Agenda 21. Many of us who have been working for more than 20 years to sound the alarm about Agenda 21 have suffered through charges of spreading conspiracy theories. Proponents loudly deny that their policies have any connection to what they call an  innocuous 20 year old UN document.

It is true – Agenda 21 is NOT a treaty. It was never ratified by the U.S. Senate.  It is NOT law of the land. Agenda 21 is a “soft law” policy designed to define, outline, propose, guide and direct policy on international, national, state and local levels.

If completely implemented, Agenda 21 policy is designed to drastically change the very foundation of American culture, economy, and form of government.

It establishes regions based on environmental lines rather that state or community boundaries.

To oversee these newly created entities, Agenda 21 proponents work with elected officials to create new governing entities in the form of non-elected regional councils.

Eventually these regional councils gain strength and influence, overpowering, and essentially relegating elected government to a back seat position.

This, in effect, drastically changes our American system of representative government, once guided by Constitutional law, and in fact, creates “top-down” government power directed by a few.

Agenda 21 was created to rearrange the world by eliminating sovereign nations, controlling consumption, natural resource use, and virtually eliminating a free market system.

Above all, Agenda 21 was created with the specific purpose of redistribution of the world’s wealth, to be managed by international overseers, under the excuse of environmental protection and poverty eradication.

While Agenda 21 is not a law, it was created by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating under the official influence of the United Nations.

Once accepted by representatives of nearly every nation on earth, including the United States, the same NGO’s who wrote the soft law policy, spread out over the globe, into the U.S. Congress, U.S. government agencies, state legislatures, and local community governments, to promote, implement and follow the guidelines specifically laid out in Agenda 21.

As a result, this “non-binding” suggestion has become official policy of the federal government, nearly every state and most communities. It is being enforced through the use of Presidential Executive Orders, Congressional and State legislation and particularly through the use of grant programs, administered through various federal and state agencies.

These grants demand that certain policies (Agenda 21) be imposed as a means of complying with the grant.

Through this specific implementation process, Agenda 21 has grown from a “suggestion or guideline” into an all pervasive policy in which sustainable rules and regulations are effecting private property rights; local development; farming practices; energy creation and consumption; industry and its ability to operate in the nation; mode of transportation; taxes; education curriculum; in short, nearly every aspect of our lives – just as Agenda 21 was designed to do.

In fact the agenda merges economic policy with social equity programs, all bundled under the excuse of protecting the environment. These are the “Three E’s of Agenda 21, and when combined, result in an all-encompassing policy that says “You Must Live On Less.”

Here’s how the UN described Agenda 21 in one of its own publications in 1993: “Agenda 21 proposes an array of actions which are intended to be implemented by EVERY person on Earth…it calls for specific changes in the activities of ALL people… Effective execution of Agenda 21 will REQUIRE a profound reorientation of ALL humans, unlike anything the world has ever experienced.

Agenda 21 is intended to merge the three Es (Economy, Equity, Environment) into a top down control through a planning process with predetermined outcomes designed to control money and land through a process of redistribution of wealth.

The redistribution of American wealth is, in part, accomplished by locking away vast amounts of American resources including timber, mining and oil. We are then forced to buy such resources from Third World countries.

Sustainablists call this “harmonizing” the United States to fit into the rest of the world.

That is Agenda 21 and its true purpose.

In 1976, The United Nations held the first of a series of what it called “Habitat” conferences designed to lay the groundwork for international policy on how human society should develop.

The report delivered from the Habitat 1 conference told the world that for human society to move forward it must give up the concept of private ownership of property.

Specifically, it said, “Land …cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principle instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth, therefore, contributes to social injustice.”      

In other words, if you own land it’s not fair to those who don’t.

The concept of social justice became the driving force behind implementation of such policy.  That’s the real threat of Sustainable Development.

Social Justice – or social equity — as it is also called — requires that the world’s wealth be shared between those who produce and those who don’t.

David Brower, Founder of Friends of the Earth and a major UN NGO said, “The goal now is a socialist, redistributionist society, which is nature’s proper steward and society’s only hope.”  

After a series of such meetings, finally, in 1987, the United Nations sponsored the Commission on Global Governance, also called the Brundtland Commission.

Its report was called “Our Common Future,” which concluded that developed nations, such as the US, were responsible for global warming and poverty, which in turn created an unsustainable planet.

The solution was to limit property ownership and economic growth in the US, and transfer consumer wealth to developing nations.  (At the Rio+20 Summit the concept of “zero economic growth” was advocated.)

The term “Sustainable Development” was first coined in the Brundtland Commission’s official report, defining it as “development that meets the needs of today without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

To understand Agenda 21 you must first and foremost understand the meaning and intent of their words. Once you can translate the double speak into English, then you will be able to easily see the hidden agenda in any proposed policy.

First, the “needs” the report refers to are not human needs, but those of the “planet.” The report concludes that the only way to meet these needs is by eliminating or reducing “unsustainable” activities globally.

These include property ownership, consumerism, high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, roadways, automobiles, dams, pastures, golf courses and much more.

The UN’s Biodiversity Treaty expands that list to include:

“Ski runs, gazing of livestock, plowing of soil, building of fences, industry, single family homes, paved and tarred roads. Logging activities, dams and reservoirs, power line construction, and economic systems that fail to set proper value on the environment.”

As you read the Brundtland report it becomes clear that it is outlining a complete agenda for the reorganization of human society. It clearly calls for reduction in energy use, elimination of certain kinds of food, severe reduction of space for homes and development and actually the elimination of nation states – or sovereign nations – to be replaced instead with a central organizing authority to oversee human settlements.

Eventually these ideas were worked and reworked until put together in one document called “Agenda 21” and introduced at the 1992 Earth Summit. That’s why they call it an agenda!

But, say many local officials, none of this has anything to do with their planning programs. They are all local.

Or, as the American Planning Association says in its document, Glossary for the Public, “There is no hidden agenda.”

In its “Agenda 21: Myths and Facts” document found on the APA website, the group goes to extreme measures to distance itself and its policies from Agenda 21, specifically saying “The American Planning Association has no affiliation regarding any policy goals and recommendations of the UN.”

With that in mind, it would be interesting to hear the APA explain this bit of information found in one of its own documents from 1994.

The document was an APA newsletter to its members in the Northern California Area. The article was a commentary entitled “How Sustainable is Our Planning?”

It was written just two years after the UN Earth Summit at which Agenda 21 was first introduced to the world.

The fifth paragraph of the article says, “Vice President Gore’s book, Earth in the Balance addressed many of the general issues of sustainability. Within the past year, the President’s Council on Sustainable Development has been organized to develop recommendations for incorporating sustainability into the federal government. Also, various groups have been formed to implement Agenda 21, a comprehensive blueprint for sustainable development that was adopted at the recent UNCED conference in Rio de Janeiro (the “Earth Summit.”)     

In that one paragraph, this document brings together the APA, Agenda 21, the UN’s Earth Summit, Al Gore, Sustainable Development, the President’s Council on Sustainable Development, NGO groups with the specific mission of implementing Agenda 21 in our local communities, and the description of Agenda 21 as a “comprehensive Blueprint” for Sustainable planning.

Apparently, in 1994, the APA didn’t think of Agenda 21 as just an innocuous document with no consequence.

A couple of paragraphs higher in the article, it says, “A common misconception is that sustainability is synonymous with self-sufficiency; on the contrary, sustainability must recognize the interconnections between different levels of societal structure.”

That “societal structure” is “social justice,” as described in Agenda 21.

A visit to the PlannersNetwork.org, which the APA is a member, will find in its Statement of Principles this quote: “We believe planning should be a tool for allocating resources…and eliminating the great inequalities of wealth and power in our society … because the free market has proven incapable of doing this.”   

This is the statement of principles that your local planners – and their so called local plans — adhere to.

The United Nations blatantly advocates that Capitalism and private property rights are not sustainable and pose the single greatest threat to the world’s ecosystem and social equity.

And, as the Planners statement of principles — and the APA’s  own 1994 document show, the APA is helping communities across the nation enforce these ideas, while swearing it is all a local idea, designed from local input.

As George Orwell masterfully put it in his epic novel “Animal Farm,” it’s becoming difficult to see the difference between the pigs and the farmers – or the APA and the UN.

The grant money is the key. It is how such policy infiltrates every community. Any city that takes the grant agrees to the strings attached.

The strings are controls on energy and water use. Controls on development. And much more. Essentially, these programs lead to control of your property and your local economy – right out of Agenda 21.

The Environmental Protection Agency is a major enforcer of Agenda 21 policy. Proof of that can be found in the 1998 Federal Register on the EPA’s “Sustainable Development Challenge Grant Program.”

It says, “The Sustainable Development Challenge Grant program is also a step in implementing ‘Agenda 21, the Global Plan for Action on Sustainable Development…” 

There are literally thousands of NGOs, planning groups and agencies working in every single community in the nation to implement Agenda 21 policy. But there is one international organization that stands out above the rest.

That’s ICLEI, originally known as the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), today the group simply calls itself “ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability.”

ICLEI’s mission is to implement Agenda 21 world-wide

– and its been having tremendous success.

When local governments contract with ICLEI they agree to implement the Agenda 21 policy of Sustainable Development.

ICLEI supplies the tools to fully train employees at city hall to assure only Sustainable policies are considered. And that’s how energy quotas and land use policies are created.

But keep in mind, your community does not have to be an ICLEI member to be affected by Agenda 21/ICLEI policies.

Around the nation, ICLEI partners with more than 2000 NGO groups, including the American Planning Association.

Nearly every town now uses the American Planning Associations “Growing Smart Guidebook,” that translates Agenda 21 into “local” policy.

These groups work hand in hand with government organizations like the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Governors Association, the National League of Cities, the National Association of County Administrators and more that your elected representatives belong to.

The planners bring pre-written programs and regulations directly to your local elected officials, saving them the trouble of having to write their plans. It’s all organized for them.

There are international regulations for plumbing, electrical wiring, building codes, development codes, energy use, water use, “traffic calming” for street redevelopment; and the ever popular bike lanes.

Your elected officials don’t have to think, they just have to hit the rubber stamp. And like magic, you have a whole new local government.

And what are the results of this internationally-created, federally-funded, and state-enforced assault on your local community and your own home?

Private property rights are disappearing; energy costs are sky-rocketing; jobs are disappearing; community development means pack and stack high rise housing; and bike paths are infringing on roads, making it more difficult to drive cars.

Wetlands, conservation easements, water sheds, view sheds, rails – to- trails, biosphere reserves, greenways, carbon footprints, partnerships, preservation, stakeholders, land use, environmental protection, development, diversity, visioning, open space, heritage areas, and comprehensive planning are all part of the new language of government.

The function of legitimate elected government within the Sustainablist system is fast becoming little more than the rubber stamp to create and enforce the dictates of something called Stakeholder Councils, run by the same NGO organizations that wrote Agenda 21 in the first place.

Through the establishment of the non-elected councils and regional governments they are creating a governing structure that essentially eliminates our precious style of representative government by the people.

And they are replacing it with a viscous, back room, corruption–infested, cronyism between non-elected, self-professed “stakeholders” and non-governmental organizations pushing their pre-conceived agenda through power-hungry, greedy, or just plain ignorant, politicians.

It’s the demise of representative government.

They use the philosophical base of Karl Marx, the tactics of Adolph Hitler, and the rhetoric of the Sierra Club.

A specific program directly related to the implementation of Agenda 21 that specifically affects the timber industry is the establishment of National Heritage Areas.

What is a National Heritage Area? To put it bluntly, it is a pork barrel earmark that harms property rights and local governance. Here’s why. Heritage Areas have boundaries. These are very definite boundaries, and they have very definite consequences for businesses which operate within them.

Here is how a Heritage Area operates. Specifically, funding and technical assistance for Heritages Areas is administered through the National Park Service, a federal agency with a long history of hostility toward private landowners.

The recipients of these funds, in partnership with the Park Service, become a “managing entity,” which typically consists of strictly ideological special interests groups and local government officials. The managing entity sets up non-elected boards, councils and regional governments to oversee policy inside the Heritage Area.

In the mix of special interest groups you’re going to find all of the usual suspects: Environmental groups; planning groups; historic preservation groups; all with their own private agendas – all working behind the scenes, creating policy, hovering over the members of the non-elected boards (perhaps even assuring their own people make up the boards), and all collecting the Park Service funds to pressure local governments to install their agenda. In many cases, these groups actually form a compact with the Interior Department to determine the guidelines that make up the land use management plan and the boundaries of the Heritage Area itself.

Now, after the boundaries are drawn and after the management plan has been approved by the Park Service, the management entity and its special interest groups, are given the federal funds, typically a million dollars a year, or more, and told to spend that money getting the management plan enacted at the local level.

Here’s how they operate with those funds. They go to local boards and local legislators and they say, Congress just passed this Heritage Area. “You are within the boundaries. We have identified these properties as those we deem significant. We have identified these businesses that we deem insignificant and a harm to these properties and a harm to the Heritage Area. We don’t have the power to make laws but you do. And here is some federal money. Now use whatever tools, whatever laws, whatever regulatory procedures you already have to make this management plan come into fruition.”

Yet, incredibly, proponents argue that National Heritage Areas do not influence local zoning or land use planning. Yet by definition this is precisely what they do. Found right in the language of Heritage Area legislation, including a  bill before Congress right now – H.R. 4099, the management entity is specifically directed to restore, preserve, and manage anything and everything that is naturally, culturally, historically, and recreationally significant to the Heritage Area.

This sweeping mandate ensures that virtually every square inch of land within the boundaries is subject to the scrutiny of Park Service bureaucrats and their managing partners. That is the way it works. It’s done behind the scenes – out of the way of public input.

But the result is that land is locked away and industry is blocked.

Nameless, faceless bureaucrats wielding power in the backrooms, untouchable and unseen, is not freedom.

The Sustainablists now haunt the upper levels of the federal government, our state houses, and our city council chambers.

They have achieved many of their goals, but they have not yet won. Their whole agenda is built on a house of cards that stands only when you are ignorant and compliant.

And their arrogance and impatience to force the policy into place is resulting in a stir of the American people.

After 20 years of issuing warnings about Agenda 21, finally opposition is being heard. In the past two years more than 150 communities have taken official action to revoke their contracts with ICLEI.

The first was Carroll County, Maryland. There, County Commissioner Richard Rothschild succeeded in electing a team of new Commissioners specifically dedicated to stopping Sustainable Development in that community. First they kicked out ICLEI. Then they fired the Sustainability manager. Then they rejected the County’s proposed Comprehensive Development Plan, telling the planners to fix it so it protects property rights and adheres to the US Constitution.         

On July 2nd of this year, County Commissioners of Pickaway County, Ohio, took very rare action in voting to REJECT membership in a regional planning commission. Commissioner Brian Stewart made his position clear saying: “Pickaway County does not want to live the way you want us to.”

Alabama became the first state in the nation to pass specific anti-Agenda language. At least seven states are attempting to do the same thing.

The Republican Party included anti-Agenda 21 language in its national platform.

Right here in the Wisconsin state legislature there have been at least two efforts to introduce and pass legislation to allow local community governments to repeal comprehensive development plans that were forced under Agenda 21 smart growth legislation. One bill passed the House and supporters have vowed to continue the fight.

Such legislation has successfully passed in Florida, and the governor has signed it to repeal Smart Growth regulations. That means that now counties are free from state mandates.

In Southern Virginia, for the first time, residents succeeded in stopping the creation of a National Heritage Area that would have covered 19 counties.

In Arkansas and Missouri, residents rose up to stop the creation of a National Blueway designation – another form of Heritage Area. It would have covered huge swaths of both states. It was backed by more than 26 so-called stakeholder groups along with the Department of Interior, the Army Corp of Engineers and the Department of Agriculture.

Revolution against the Sustainable Development is taking place in every corner of the nation. Americans are finally understanding the danger Agenda 21 poses to our entire society.

Such policy, that locks away our valuable resources, destroyed our industry and restructures our precious form of representative government can be — and is — being stopped by diligent Americans who understand the threat of Agenda 21.

Tom DeWeese
[email protected]

Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence.