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BIODIVERSITY TREATY MORE THAN SENATE WILLING TO PAY

2000 Michael Coffman, Ph.D., Discerning the Times Digest and NewsBytes

Before the white man brought civilization to North America, wolves, bears and other roving wildlife moved unobstructed from Mexico to the Hudson Bay. Although few people are aware of it, America came very close to allowing wolves and other carnivores to once again have supreme right of movement across America--by mandate of a warm, fuzzy treaty called the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Clothed in innocence, the treaty is in fact designed to radically transform Western Civilization into a society where wolves and other entities of nature have more rights than humans. Irrefutable evidence of this agenda was covertly obtained from the United Nations and made available to the Senate in a cliff-hanger race to the wire during the waning hours of the 103rd Congress.

White Man's Cities

Environmentalists have long asserted that white man's cities, highways, intensive agriculture, forest harvesting, and other activities have disrupted and fragmented natural ecosystems. According to environmental theology, earth's so called fragile web of life is being destroyed as species become extinct by the thousands, and biodiversity, critical to the web's survival, vanishes. As the 1980s dawned, a new age dream of sustainability and a world treaty to protect biodiversity began to take shape in the minds of those who would return us to nature.

The dream culminated in the 1992 United Nations Conference on the Environment, otherwise known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro. Hosted by none other than proclaimed new age and United Nations leader Maurice Strong, the Summit gave birth to what was called the Convention on Biological Diversity. Less than thirty pages long, this treaty was promoted as a crowning achievement for man that would save the earth by protecting biodiversity through the application of vaguely scribed principles and theology.

But a horrible thing happened on the way to the signing ceremony at the Summit. President Bush balked. He believed it left the United States unprotected with too many critical issues undefined. In spite of global catcalls and hoots of disdain from the press, Bush stuck to his convictions and the United States refrained from signing this otherwise beguiling document.

Such mundane concerns were lost on the presidential green team that succeeded Bush. Overnight the treaty went from being a dangerous document to one destined to save the earth. With little fanfare, President Clinton signed the treaty in July 1993, and the convention disappeared into the bowels of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for a full review.

Very Quietly Reported

A year later, at the height of the Health Care debacle, the treaty was very quietly reported out of committee, with a recommendation to the Senate for ratification. For a treaty environmentalists had repeatedly claimed to be the most important ever, almost no mention was made of it in either environmental literature or in the popular press. The silence for such an auspicious occasion was deafening.

Only one Senator in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Jesse Helms (R-NC), opposed the treaty. His concern centered on the troubling fact that the actual enabling and binding protocol for the treaty would be written after the Senate had ratified it. Furthermore, the treaty had no provision for additional Senate review once the protocol was written. The Senate would be, in effect, signing a blank check.

Worse, the draft enabling protocol was to be written by NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations). Made up of primarily environmental and socialist organizations, NGOs are hardly the type of institutions that instill confidence in anyone who is pro-humanity and for economic development. Even so, by the time Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell scheduled the ratification vote for Monday, August 8, Helms only had four other Senate allies.

Senator Mitchell had expected no opposition to the treaty and doubtless he and other Senators were stunned when the Senate was buried in an avalanche of letters, faxes, and phone calls to Senators protesting the treaty. The staggering response was the result of an awesome fax campaign lead by the Maine Conservation Rights Institute through the Alliance for America. While the Alliance has had numerous fax campaigns before, this time calls were coming in from every walk of life.

It quickly became obvious that the effort to stop the biodiversity treaty had taken on a life of its own as citizens throughout America copied and re-faxed the faxes to their frustrated friends. Phone lines into Senate offices were jammed for four days.

Although the enormous backlash to the treaty received little press, it got action in Washington. The American Farm Bureau and National Cattleman's Association worked with Minority Leader Dole to convince thirty-five Republican Senators to signed a letter to postpone the vote. Since any treaty must be ratified by two-thirds majority, thirty-five Senators was a mandate.

In spite of a frantic lobbing effort by environmentalists, accompanied by a massive effort by the State Department to assure the Senators that there was nothing in the treaty to cause concern, Mitchell postponed the ratification process until after the Senate reconvened in September.

The extra time permitted the National Wilderness Institute to commission Constitutional lawyer Mark Pollot to write a legal brief on the treaty's implications. Although the brief was conservative, the implications were horrifying. Not only would the Senate be signing a blank check, the treaty would open a Pandora's box of litigation and legislation by environmental groups and federal agencies seeking to use the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution to meet the provisions of the treaty's as yet unwritten protocol.

Pollot's brief made it imperative to define what form the enabling and binding protocol would take. The United Nations Global Biodiversity Assessment (GBA) was supposed to provide this information. The United States had already contributed $430 million for the treaty, so it was only reasonable for the Senate to want to see what it had paid for. But the only response the Senate received from the UN was a curt reply that the GBA did not exist.

Senators still had no supporting documentation when Senator Mitchell rescheduled the ratification for Monday, October 3. So once again the fax machines were put into action and once again Senate phones were jammed with calls from citizens outraged by the threat this treaty imposed.

The smoking gun surfaced on Thursday, September 29 when the American Sheep Industry covertly got a copy of Section 10 of the United Nations GBA. Copies were forwarded to the Senate Republican Policy Committee the following day.

As suspected, Section 10 of the GBA detailed an incredible set of plans to reorganize western civilization around nature. Property rights and other civil rights would be limited to only those activities that would do no harm to biodiversity. Political jurisdictions would be defined by bioregions. Unbelievable oversight powers were given to NGOs.

Worst of All

The Wildlands Project was named by the UN Global Biodiversity Assessment as the method to be used to protect biodiversity in the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. An earlier version of this map was used on the US Senate floor to stop the ratification within hours of the scheduled ratification vote. Interested in purchasing this map? click here.

Worst of all, the basis for protecting biodiversity and ecosystems was to be centered on what is known as the Wildlands Project. This draconian plan calls for setting aside vast areas (about 50 percent) of America into reserve wilderness areas, interconnecting corridors, and human buffer zones where human use would be eliminated or severely restricted. According to the June 25, 1993 issue of Science magazine, such a system of reserves and corridors would create "an archipelago of human-inhabited islands surrounded by natural areas."

The same Friday morning that Section 10 of the GBA was delivered to the Senate, the Chicago Tribune published a scathing front page article quoting the United Nations claim that the GBA did not even exist. The article also attacked the Sheep Industry, Republicans, and grass-root citizens for their paranoia.

In the meantime, unaware of the damning evidence now in Republican hands, Senator Mitchell brought the tension to a fevered pitch by notifying Senator Dole of his intent to petition to cloture the treaty that afternoon. If Mitchell was successful it would effectively eliminate debate on the treaty.

Race Against Time

Stunning color maps graphically illustrating the enormity of the Wildlands Project were already available through the Maine Conservation Rights Institute (MECRI), and the maps arrived in the Senate simultaneously with Section 10 of the GBA. It became a race against time as the Republicans put together this evidence before Senator Mitchell went to the floor to petition for cloture. Armed with a full set of four by six foot posters of these maps in one hand, and key excerpts from Section 10 in the other, Senator Hutchison (R-TX) marched onto the Senate floor on Friday afternoon, September 30 and dropped the bombshell on the treaty's supporters -- with devastating effect.

Senator Mitchell, who by now had also received a set of maps from MECRI, wisely withdrew his intent to petition to cloture the treaty. The Senate adjourned without ever voting on the treaty. Vice President Gore's dream of reinventing the government around nature was dead--at least for now.

Reason has prevailed and our Constitution remains unencumbered. Humans will continue to be more important than wolves and grizzlies, and perhaps -- just perhaps -- if we manage to survive the next legislative session we will finally listen to those traditional resource scientists who are finding that we can preserve and enhance biodiversity by using sound natural resource management techniques. We don't have to give half of America back to the wolves to save the earth after all.

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