24 Feb 1999 American Land Should Be Controlled By Americans, Group Says
For Immediate Release: February 24, 1999
On Thursday, February 25th Rep. Don Young (R-AK) will reintroduce the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act in the House of Representatives. Co-sponsors include Rep. Helen Chenoweth (R-ID), Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO), and Rep. John Peterson (R-PA).
The American Land Sovereignty Protection Act would require congressional oversight of United Nations land designations within the borders of the United States. In other words, the Act would bar United Nations designation of any land on American soil as either United Nations "World Heritage Sites" or "Biosphere Reserves" without American public input and congressional approval.
The UN designations have frequently been used to impose new regulations on public lands – regulations formulated by international bureaucrats who are not accountable to the American public.
There are currently 20 World Heritage Sites and 47 Biosphere Reserves comprising more than 51 million acres on U.S. territory, including 68% of all U.S. National Parks, monuments and preserves. Many more World Heritage Sites are contemplated in the U.S.
"Decisions about American land should be made by Americans," said David Ridenour, vice president of The National Center for Public Policy Research. "Although presently the United Nations is not controlling U.S. property, as the United States enters into international agreements, the use of private property held in America by American private citizens can be affected. Rep. Don Young’s bill is a basic good government bill. Congress which is responsive to the American people — should have the right to legislate, not some international body."
"Land designations under the World Heritage and Biosphere Reserve programs have been created with virtually no congressional oversight and no congressional hearings, " Representative Don Young, sponsor of the legislation, has said. "The public and local governments are rarely consulted."
Many of the 67 current and proposed UN World Heritage sites in 40 U.S. states are man-made, such as the Statue of Liberty, Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio and 10 other sites in Illinois, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Bell Telephone and General Electric Research Laboratories in New York, Eads Bridge in Illinois-St. Louis, Fallingwater outside Pittsburgh, Monticello, Moundville Site in Alabama, Louisiana’s Poverty Point, Mound City Group National Monument in Ohio, Fallingwater outside Pittsburgh and the Washington Monument. Others, such as the Grand Canyon, the Everglades, Yosemite, Grand Teton National Park, Crater Lake, Yellowstone, Bryce Canyon, Smoky Mountains and the Mohave Desert, among many others, are natural.
A list of current and contemplated World Heritage sites in the U.S. is available on the Internet at http://www.cr.nps.gov/worldheritage/list1.htm.
The American Land Rights Association has released the following talking points about the legislation:
- The public, state and local governments are not informed of pending designations and no public process is followed in nominating an area for World Heritage Site or Biosphere Reserve status.
- World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve designations give the international community an open invitation to interfere in US domestic policy decisions.
- Although the United Nations has no direct input into management decisions in Biosphere Reserves or World Heritage Sites, the United States does agree to comply with international agreements, some of which may restrict use of private property.
- Federal agencies take international land designations into account when making land-use decisions and formulating long range management plans.
- UN land designations centralize policy-making authority in the Executive Branch bureaucracy and reduce input into Federal land-use decisions by individual citizens.
- By creating these UN land reserves, the US indirectly agrees to terms of international treaties, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, to which the US is not a party or which the US Senate has refused to ratify.