Statehouse Live: Critics of United Nations Agenda 21 voice concerns

? A 20-year-old United Nations policy on sustainable development was described Monday as a major threat to the American way of life by a group of conservative legislators, Americans for Prosperity and others.

“This is the most aggressive attack on our liberties … that we have ever seen, and it is growing,” said state Rep. Dennis Hedke, R-Wichita.

Hedke and Reps. Greg Smith, R-Overland Park, and Forrest Knox, R-Altoona, urged the House Federal and State Affairs Committee to advance a resolution that condemns U.N. Agenda 21.

Smith said he realized that when Agenda 21 is mentioned some people “hear the Twilight Zone music go off” and accuse detractors as conspiracy theorists. But he said Agenda 21 is scary. “It questions the sovereignty of the United States. It questions the sovereignty of Kansas,” he said.

Agenda 21 states its purpose as seeking global cooperation to improve the environment and reduce economic disparities between countries. It came out of discussions on sustainable development at the U.N. Conference of Environment and Development in 1992.

But opponents of Agenda 21 say it represents out-of-control environmentalism and has its tentacles entwined in the Environmental Protection Agency and myriad laws and regulations.

The committee is considering House Resolution 6032, which condemns the “destructive and insidious nature of United Nations Agenda 21.”

The resolution states that Agenda 21 is a radical plan that views as destructive “the American way of life of private property ownership, single family homes, private car ownership, individual travel choices and privately owned farms.” The purpose of the resolution is to expose to public policymakers the “dangerous intent” of Agenda 21.

Jim Mullins, Kansas grassroots director of Americans for Prosperity, said, “We must develop a comprehensive plan to roll back all of the laws and regulations which have been implemented by Agenda 21.”

The Republican National Committee and Kansas Republican Party Central Committee have approved similar resolutions in opposition to Agenda 21.

But Rabbi Moti Rieber, director of the Kansas Interfaith Power & Light, a statewide nonprofit that engages faith communities in environmental stewardship, said the controversy over Agenda 21 was a “baseless conspiracy.”

In submitted testimony, Rieber noted that Agenda 21 is a nonbinding agreement. He said it is being used by right-wing activists who oppose green energy, stormwater management, bike paths and public transportation by “claiming that the U.N. is going to come to take away the keys to our cars or our rights to private property. This is, of course, patent nonsense.”