By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
An Enid legislator has penned a bill calling for a ban on memberships or affiliations connected to the United Nations’ Agenda 21 plan.
Sen. Patrick Anderson authored Senate Bill 23, prohibiting Oklahoma cities or other political subdivisions from being members of groups tied to Agenda 21 activities.
The controversial Agenda 21 plan aims to preserve the environment by means of local, national and global actions. Drafted by the U.N. in 1992 with input from George H.W. Bush’s administration, the plan has drawn opposition from tea party Republicans and others concerned about landowners’ rights and development of a single world government.
Anderson said his bill was inspired by a similar bill passed in Alabama.
“My bill is simply copying what they have done in the state of Alabama regarding the concerns of the impact of Agenda 21,” Anderson said.
Anderson, R-Enid, said he was approached by Mark Irwin, one of the directors of the Enid group Sons and Daughters of Liberty, about offering the bill. Irwin did not return a call to the Enid News & Eagle seeking comment Thursday.
Anderson said the bill is about protecting the rights of landowners.
“I farm,” Anderson said. “As farmers, we’re seeing more and more proposals out there regarding farm use, what can and cannot be done on the farm.”
His primary concern is individual property rights, Anderson said.
Anderson said when he first started hearing about Agenda 21, he didn’t think it was any real threat to property owners, but the more he learned about it, the more real those concerns became.
“You hear about meetings to implement Agenda 21 initiatives across the country,” Anderson said. “You start hearing about controlling land use and sustainability more and more in our society.”
Anderson said he’s not opposed to efforts for sustainability of environment. The issue is when government entities start regulating what can be done on private land, he said.
Asked to give an example, Anderson pointed to requirements handed down by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality when Garfield County Rural Water District No. 5 needed to replace an existing buried water line. ODEQ directed the water district to do two $15,000 studies to ensure it was not disturbing an ancient burial ground or the habitat of burrowing beetles.
“The concern is when you let issues that are Agenda 21 creep into the discussions,” Anderson said.
The International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives was a technical representative of the U.S. in the formation of Agenda 21. However, the ICLEI, founded in 1990 — two years before Agenda 21 was formed — denies rumors it is the arm of the U.N. Agenda 21.
The ICLEI website reads: “There is no truth to this conspiracy theory. ICLEI is a nonprofit with no authority over its local government members whatsoever, and we do not work in secret or in any way circumvent public input in decision-making processes. We do not mandate, impose, or enforce any national or international policies or initiatives. All ICLEI programs and projects are voluntary, and local governments decide for themselves which programs they wish to participate in; they define their own goals depending on local circumstances, interests, and abilities.”
The city of Enid is not a member of ICLEI, said Steve Kime, director of marketing and public relations for the city. Nor does it have a stance on Agenda 21.
“Officially, the city has not taken a stand on the issue,” Kime said. “I don’t know anyone in our office who has been updated on it.”