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IS IT ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERN THAT'S DRIVING MINING OUT OF THE UNITED STATES OR RATHER POLITICS ON THE GRANDEST SCALE?
 
Globalizing Mining in America
Reprinted with Permission from Mining Voice Magazine Volume 6(2):26-35
 

Highlights

u The current administration has designated millions of acres of federal land off-limits to multiple uses such as mining---and seems to be attempting to lock up public land --- all without consulting Congress or the public.

u The administration seems to be conforming U.S. environmental policy to UN Strategies.

u The IUCN, an accredited scientific advisory body to the UN, incorporates U.S. federal agencies, non-governmental organizations and UN agencies in its proclaimed war against "ignorant humans."

Mining Voice
Volume 6:2 March-April 2000
 

With the Grand Canyon National Park as his backdrop, President Bill Clinton used the 1906 Antiquities Act to set aside one million acres of land into three national monuments in Arizona, Nevada and California on January 11 this year. "I know we’re doing the right thing, because look at the day we’ve got," Clinton said. "We’ve got the good Lord’s stamp of approval on this great day."

This was the second time President Clinton used the Antiquities Act to lock up vast tracts of federal land. Just days before the presidential election in 1996, he designated 1.7 million acres in southern Utah as the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. In both cases, mining and other natural resource extraction are prohibited.

The president’s most recent action represents one more installment in a long list of land to be locked up. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt has recommended that a total of five million acres of national monuments and wilderness areas be set aside this year. Last October 13, President Clinton declared 60 million acres as "Roadless Areas" within the National Forest System. In 1998 he initiated the Clean Water Action Plan that calls for creating even more roadless area through the withdrawal of 5,000 miles of roads on federal land each year through 2002.

Dr. Michael S. Coffman is CEO of sovereignty International, president of Environmental Perspectives, Inc. and editor of Discerning the Times Digest and NewsBytes in Bangor, Maine. Sovereignty International is a UN watchdog and provides educational materials for policymakers and citizens concerning UN global governance. Environmental Perspectives, Inc. is a consulting organization providing educational information on environmental and global issues. Dr. Coffman has a Ph.D. in ecosystems analysis and classification. He played a key role in helping to stop the Convention on Biological Diversity from being ratified.

Although these actions greatly change land management practices on federally controlled land, all were done without any action or review by Congress. This has not gone unnoticed. "It appears the administration has launched an orchestrated campaign to preclude mining on vast acreages of public lands governed by multiple-use laws, and to do so without consulting Congress and without soliciting public input or independent scientific review," wrote Missouri Republican Senators John Ashcroft and Christopher S. Bond and Representative Jo Ann Emerson in a letter to Secretary Babbitt in June last year.

It seems it is exactly what Babbitt had planned. Last May he said, "We’ve switched the rules of the game. We’re not trying to do anything legislatively."

Babbitt reaffirmed this on October 19: "I am not prepared to sit back and let this Congress do what it has done for the last seven years on these areas, which is virtually nothing . . . If Congress does not act and produce an acceptable bill protecting these lands, I will consider asking the president to use his power [the Antiquities Act]."

The president is now doing exactly what Secretary Babbitt asked.

Private Property Also Targeted

Supporters of the president’s efforts shrug off criticism by saying the designations affect only land that is already controlled by the federal government. Not so, argue his critics. They claim the Clinton administration is not interested in locking up only federal land; it wants to lock up private land as well through programs such as the Clean Water Action Plan and the Lands Legacy Initiative.

The Clean Water Action Plan dramatically expands the 1976 Clean Water Act by administratively shifting water protection from point source pollution (a single factory or city) to non-point source pollution over an entire watershed. Again, Congress has taken no action to authorize such a huge change in national policy. Yet when the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) and Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Clean Water Action Plan is completed it will extend federal land use jurisdiction to all of the 2,100 watersheds in America.

MORE THAN 20 MILLION ACRES OF PRIVATE LAND COULD BE PURCHASED OVER THE NEXT DECADE WITH NO CONGRESSIONAL OVERSIGHT

The Action Plan also imposes buffer zones of "natural" habitat with a minimum of 100 feet on private land along two million miles of U.S. streams and rivers — a minimum of 48 million acres of private property (using a 100-foot buffer on both sides of a stream or river). The USDA’s Stream Corridor Restoration manual, which defines how the stream buffers will be organized, actually calls for the buffer to extend over the entire 100-year floodplain, which can be several miles wide in some regions.

The Lands Legacy Initiative historically has been funded by Congress at $200 million to $300 million annually to buy private land. The president wants that increased to nearly $1 billion a year. Even more disturbing, he is asking that the funding be included in a new budget item so that the $1 billion is granted in perpetuity. More than 10 million acres of private land could be purchased over the next decade with no congressional oversight.

The Clinton administration is locking up land so fast that the Associated Press reported on January 16, "Conservation proposals are falling like rain from the White House as President Clinton tries to create an environmental legacy . . . Authorities inside and outside government cannot remember when there has been so much activity."

During the landmark dedication ceremonies at the Grand Canyon, Clinton had rebutted such criticisms by assuring us that "If it’s a legacy for the children of America . . . for hundreds of years into the future, then it’s not a bad gift to give."

The problem is that Clinton’s record doesn’t support his claim to concern for children. When he decreed the 1.7-million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in 1996, he locked up the largest clean coal deposit in the world, forcing U.S. industry to go to foreign sources for clean coal in the future. In the process, 1,000 jobs were lost, and families across America are having to pay more for electricity. Of greater concern, the public school system of Utah was denied an estimated $2 billion in royalties, according to the Mountain States Legal Foundation.

If the president is not locking up land for the children, as he claims, just why is he locking it up? Government already owns or controls 40 percent of the United States. Just how much land is enough?

The International Connection

Critics of the administration’s land grab point to the United Nations (UN). They accuse the president of implementing the UN’s Agenda 21 and the Convention on Biological Diversity. Both were introduced during the June 1992 Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Agenda 21 is a 40-chapter tome focused on reorganizing society around "sustainable" use and development of the planet. Based on socialist principles of equal sharing of all natural resources, Agenda 21 sets a goal to control all human activity to protect the Earth’s ecosystems and biological diversity. Mining, for instance, would have to be "environmentally sound" and could only be done "in areas adjacent to protected areas with a view to furthering protection of these areas." The meaning of "protected areas" and "environmentally sound" is not defined in Agenda 21, but it is clarified in the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (Biodiversity Treaty) and the Wildlands Project.

 
For a larger scale map, click here. The Wildlands Project would set up to one-half of America into core wilderness reserves and interconnecting corridors (red), all surrounded by interconnecting buffer zones (yellow). No human activity would be permitted in the red, and only highly regulated activity would be permitted in the yellow areas. Four concerned conservative activists who now make up the board of Sovereignty International were able to find UN documentation that proved the Wildlands Project concept was to provide the basis for the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and used this information and this map to stop the ratification of the treaty an hour before its scheduled cloture and ratification vote. 

Taken From: The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, Article 8a-e; United Nations Global Biodiversity Assessment, Section 13.4.2.2.3; US Man and the Biosphere Strategic Plan, UN/US Heritage Corridor Program, "The Wildlands Project", Wild Earth, 1992,. Also see Science, "The High Cost of Biodiversity," 25 June, 1993, pp 1968-1871. The very high percentage of buffer zone in the West is due to the very high percentage of federal land.  

© 2000 Discerning the Times Digest and NewsBytes 

The Wildlands Project is the master plan for both Agenda 21 and the Biodiversity Treaty, and represents a grandiose design to transform at least half the land area of the continental United States into an immense "eco-park" cleansed of modern industry and private property. The Wildlands concept is largely the work of Dave Foreman, the principal founder of the eco-terrorist group Earth First! and a current member of the board of the Sierra Club. Foreman describes the Wildlands Project as an effort to "tie the North American continent into a single Biodiversity Preserve." Foreman summarizes Wildlands as "a bold attempt to grope our way back to 1492" — that is, to repeal a half-millennium of Western civilization, with its unique blessings of material prosperity, technological progress, private property and individual rights.

According to Foreman, Wildlands activists would "identify existing protected areas" such as federal and state wilderness areas, parks, national monuments, refuges and other designated sites; such tracts would serve as "core reserves" completely off-limits to human activity. The next step would be to create wilderness corridors along streams, rivers and mountain ranges that interconnect the core reserves. Where necessary, private property would be purchased, condemned or regulated to fill in the gaps where public land did not exist.

The activists would then demand the creation of "buffer zones" to further protect the core areas and corridors. Wildlands Project co-author Reed Noss explains that in the core, corridor and buffer areas, "The collective needs of non-human species must take precedence over the needs and desires of humans." Because mining is viewed as highly destructive, it cannot be allowed in protected areas, and its use must be severely limited elsewhere so as to be "environmentally sound."

Noss defined the all-encompassing magnitude of the Wildlands Project in Wild Earth, the publication of the Cenozoic Society. Noss explains that "Half of a region in wilderness is a reasonable guess of what it will take to restore viable populations of large carnivores and natural disturbance regimes, assuming that most of the other 50 percent is managed intelligently as buffer zones. Eventually, a wilderness network would dominate a region and thus would itself constitute the matrix, with human habitations being the islands."

John Davis, editor of Wild Earth, acknowledges that the Wildlands Project seeks nothing less than "the end of industrial civilization.... Everything civilized must go. . ."

In this bizarre scheme, human civilization must be radically reconfigured, mines would be closed, roads torn from the landscape, timber harvesting stopped and human populations relocated. All of this is to be done, according to Wildlands co-founder Michael Soulé, in harmony with a prophetic vision: "The oracles are the fishes of the river, the fishers of the forest and articulate toads. Our naturalists and conservation biologists can help us translate their utterances. Our spokespersons, fund-raisers and grass-roots organizers will show us how to implement their sage advice."

Defeating the Biodiversity Treaty

All of this could be dismissed as flatly ridiculous were it not for its central role in the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. The Biodiversity Treaty would permit a restructured and unaccountable UN Trusteeship Council to regulate any human activity that presents potential harm to biological diversity. In principle, this mandate would cover all human activity, given that almost anything humans do is deemed as harmful to biological diversity. The text of the treaty itself was a skimpy 18-page framework, or what Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) correctly called "a preamble falsely described as a treaty."

THE BIODIVERSITY TREATY WOULD PERMIT A RESTRUCTURED AND UNACCOUNTABLE UN TRUSTEESHIP COUNCIL TO REGULATE ANY HUMAN ACTIVITY THAT PRESENTS POTENTIAL HARM TO BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY

The Senate was asked to authorize the creation of implementing "protocols" that would be written after the treaty had been ratified and would be binding upon the signatories. The "factual" information upon which the implementing language was to be based was found in a 1,140-page UN Global Biodiversity Assessment (GBA) that was in draft form when the Senate was considering the treaty.

The Senate was poised to ratify the Biodiversity Treaty in September 1994, when the American sheep industry obtained a portion of the draft GBA from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Switzerland, the original author of the treaty. To carry out the terms of the treaty, according to the GBA, "Representative areas of all major ecosystems in a region need to be reserved," and such "[reserved] blocks should be as large as possible . . . buffer zones should be established around core areas and . . . corridors should connect these areas. This basic design is central to the Wildlands Project in the United States . . . a controversial . . . strategy . . . to expand natural habitats and corridors to cover as much as 30 percent of the U.S. land area."

In fact, Wildlands would re-primitivize no less than 50 percent of the U.S. land area.

The draft GBA, along with maps provided by Environmental Perspectives, Inc. depicting what this would look like when fully implemented, arrived the day of the vote and was taken to the Senate floor by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) a mere hour before the scheduled cloture vote for the treaty. The extremely controversial UN information caused then-Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-ME) to withdraw the treaty from consideration. It was never voted on.

The connection between the Biodiversity Treaty and the Wildlands Project was not a coincidence. The treaty was originally written by the IUCN in 1982, about the time it was promoting a new science called conservation biology, which, in turn, provided the justification for the Biodiversity Treaty. Two of the key promoters of this unproven science were none other than Reed Noss and Michael Soulé who, along with Dave Foreman, co-authored the Wildlands Project. Although few Americans have even heard of the IUCN, this organization has its fingerprints on just about every alleged environmental problem in America today.

The IUCN

The IUCN is an accredited scientific advisory body to the United Nations. Its members include 878 state and federal governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in 181 countries. The IUCN’s official mission is "to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural re-sources is equitable and ecologically sustainable."

The IUCN has provided many laudable services since its creation in 1946. There are problems, however, originating from its very peculiar vision of "equity," "sustainability" and natural "diversity."

The spring 1996 issue of the IUCN’s Ethics Working Group’s publication, Earth Ethics, candidly admits that the IUCN "promotes alternative models for sustainable communities and lifestyles, based in ecospiritual practices and principles . . . to accelerate our transition to a just and sustainable future . . . humanity must undergo a radical change in its attitudes, values and behavior. . . In response to this situation, a new global ethic is taking form, and it is finding expression in international law." [Italics added.]

Despite its pretensions to being a scientific body, the IUCN eschews the scientific method when it is convenient to do so. The organization’s Commission on Environmental Strategy and Planning (now the Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy) claims a mandate to "change human behavior" by using a strategy "based less on the facts . . . than on the values they hold."

Indeed, the IUCN’s entire approach to conserving the "integrity and diversity of nature" is based not on facts, but essentially on religious theories of conservation biology. The theories are themselves rooted in a version of pantheism — the belief that nature is god and therefore knows best, and that all human activity leads to "fragmentation" of ecosystems, which in turn leads to a depletion of biodiversity.

Fragmentation leaves "islands" of undisturbed ecosystems that supposedly are too small to maintain biodiversity. Protecting and expanding these "islands" of biodiversity thus becomes imperative, as does connecting these "islands" by "wildlife corridors." Thus the basic template of the Wildlands Project is derived directly from the IUCN’s "ecospiritual" assumptions.

The IUCN bias for "values" rather than "facts" is reflected in the very first issue of the IUCN-created journal Conservation Biology: "By joining together those who are [wise], the worst biological disaster in the last 65 million years can be averted. We assume that environmental wounds inflicted by ignorant humans and destructive technologies can be treated by wiser humans." As might be expected, the "ignorant humans" are the miners, timber harvesters and resource developers who provide goods and services to all Americans.

Beyond IUCN

Of particular concern is the shocking realization that IUCN membership incorporates various U.S. federal agencies, NGOs and UN agencies as allies in its war against "ignorant humans." Through the IUCN, government agencies such as the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and EPA can huddle in private with the Society of Conservation Biology, the Sierra Club, the Nature Conservancy, the National Wildlife Federation, the National Audubon Society, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense Fund. Also included are the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP).

Most IUCN funding comes from government agencies and private foundations like the Ford and MacArthur foundations. The U.S. State Department is contributing $255 million to the IUCN in FY 2000 and is budgeting an equal amount for 2001. The U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service also contribute unspecified amounts of funds.

By playing the role of scientific advisor, the IUCN coalition of federal agencies and NGOs is developing joint strategies to implement the "ecospiritual" theology like the science of conservation biology in America. Federal agencies then redefine existing law to conform to international law and agreements like the Biodiversity Treaty, UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program (MAB) and UNESCO’s World Heritage Treaty. The Senate gave its advice and consent to ratification of the World Heritage Convention in 1973; the MAB program was unilaterally implemented by the State Department the same year through "memoranda of understandings" without input or oversight by Congress.

Both programs have been quietly implemented by federal and state bureaucrats with little or no input from local citizenry. An archipelago of 47 Biosphere Reserves and 20 World Heritage Sites occupying more than 53 million acres of U.S. soil already has been established with little to no congressional oversight. Even so, the United Nations claims no sovereignty over our parks. This begs the question: How is "sovereignty" defined in this context?

Implementing the Global Vision

During a September 22, 1997, address to the UN General Assembly, President Clinton suggested he is in agreement with UN goals: "The forces of global integration are a great tide, inexorably wearing away the established order of things . . . New global environmental challenges require us to find . . . a new strategy of security . . . Nations have begun to put that strategy in place through a new network of institutions and arrangements . . . Through this web of institutions and arrangements, nations are now setting the international ground rules for the 21st century . . . isolating those who challenge them from the outside." [Italics added.]

In saying this, the president reaffirmed that his administration has been conforming U.S. policy to UN strategies since he took office. An August 1993 EPA internal working document has provided the blueprint for implementing UN policy in the United States during his entire presidency: "Natural resource and environmental agencies . . . should . . . develop a joint strategy to help the United States fulfill its existing international obligations (e.g. Convention on Biological Diversity, Agenda 21) . . . The executive branch should direct federal agencies to evaluate national policies . . . in light of international policies and obligations, and to amend national policies to achieve international objectives."

Clinton’s actions in setting aside huge national landmarks, wilderness areas and interconnecting river corridors via the Clean Water Action Plan are being done to fulfill the requirements of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Wildlands Project, even though the U.S. Senate never gave its advice and consent to ratification of the treaty as required by the Constitution of the United States.

Will Environmentalism Destroy the Environment?

These initiatives represent a major threat to private property and the control of government over American citizens. The cabal of IUCN, NGOs, federal agencies, UN bureaucracies and private foundations are knowingly and unknowingly manipulating the system to destroy the mining and extractive industries in America. By doing so they are forcing citizens of industrialized nations to get needed raw materials from Third World nations that — even with mining and environmental laws on the books — often have no means or desire to enforce them.

This point was tragically brought home earlier this year when three devastating dam breaches occurred at two different northern Romanian mines. The January spill occurred at the Aurul Gold Mine and dumped 100 metric tons of cyanide-rich slurry into the River Somes. Half the mine is owned by Esmeralda Exploration, an Australian company. The other 50 percent is owned by the Romanian government.

The second and third spills occurred at Baia Borsa, dumping zinc, lead and copper into the Viseu River. The Viseu flows through the Ukraine, then Hungary, where both rivers empty into the Tisza River. The Tisza joins the Danube in Serbia before looping back along the Romania-Bulgaria border and then through eastern Romania to the Black Sea. Thousands of fish were killed, along with the supporting habitats of the river ecosystems.

Romania has mining laws. They just were not enforced effectively, and a horrible environmental disaster occurred. Could the world see more of these disasters if mining is relegated to areas where enforcement is less than it should be?

The March to Global Governance

The United Nations advocates a solution in what is known as "global governance." The kinds of accidents that occurred in Romania theoretically would be prevented through interlocking international environmental and social treaties and agreements like the Biodiversity Treaty. Implementing global governance, however, would require a complete restructuring of the United Nations. The changes that would be necessary are spelled out in the United Nations-funded Commission on Global Governance’s 1995 report Our Global Neighborhood. If implemented, the restructuring would enable the United Nations to control every aspect of global society and commerce.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan began to implement these recommendations in July 1997. The changes include redirecting the mission of the UN Trusteeship Council to enforce environmental treaties and agreements so as to protect Earth’s environment. However, this change in mission and many other recommended changes would require a new UN charter. Such a charter originally was to be signed by all heads of state during the UN Millennium Summit in New York, scheduled to start September 6 this year. That goal was changed, however, when it was exposed by Sovereignty International, a UN watchdog organization.

The United Nations now denies it will produce a new charter for signature; however, Sovereignty International believes the same or a similar goal is going to be forced by NGOs through their newly published Charter 99 — A Charter for Global Democracy. This document essentially is a duplication of the recommendations in Our Global Neighborhood.

As bad as the attacks by U.S. federal agencies on mining and natural resource extraction industries have been for the past few years, they are nothing compared with what they will be if a new UN Trusteeship Council becomes operational. In the global governance plan there are no real checks and balances built in to keep bureaucrats and NGOs from doing as they please. There is no accountability, even to the people of the world. Such a system can bring only corruption, inefficiency and eventually tyranny.

Education Is the Key

It seems incredible that there are those in positions of power who knowingly or unknowingly seek to destroy the very sector of our economy that provides the goods, services and fundamental wealth of the United States. Until technology can create materials out of thin air, everything that we use and eat starts as a natural resource either on or under the land.

Yet America can have the best of both worlds. It has some of the toughest mining laws in the world. Our society has the wealth to pay for environmental protection while providing the goods and services people demand. The overwhelming majority of our mining companies employ environmental protections even for their operations in developing nations that do not require them.

In every place where a part of the global governance agenda has been exposed, people have effectively rallied to stop its implementation. The role of informed citizens has repeatedly vindicated Thomas Jefferson’s belief that there is "no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but by the people themselves. And if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education."

Stopping the march to global governance will only happen if principled Americans unite, get the facts straight and expose the Wildlands Project, Agenda 21, the Biosphere Reserve program and related endeavors as lethal threats to our independence and constitutional order.