A Weekly edition of News from around our country
June 13, 1997 - #39
by: Doug Fiedor - firstname.lastname@example.org
Previous Editions at: http://mmc.cns.net/headsup.html
Reader replies on the biosphere program filled our mailbox (and kept the telephone busy) for nearly the complete week. Lance R. Crowe at ACCC (ACCC@bgn.mindspring.com) also received a couple hundred replies.
Most interesting, too: Not one reader wrote to disagree with what they read.
Two readers, however, directed us to a letter published by Roger E. Soles, Ph.D., Executive Director of the U.S. Man and Biosphere Program (MAB). The letter is dated as "Revised" 5/27/1997. The publication is titled, "An Open Letter to Concerned Citizens."
Normally we at "Heads Up" do not worry about things like "balance" and "equal time." We don't feel it's necessary, because ninety percent of the major media seem to take the opposing viewpoint on just about everything we write. But our readers were correct. This is a very enlightening letter, and it should be of interest to most "Heads Up" readers.
From our point of view, the "Concerned Citizens" letter reads like a well crafted propaganda piece. It uses semi-truths and half-truths in such a way that the reader is encouraged to extrapolate them out as the project's future plans. Actually, the letter gives us the impression that it was filtered through a committee of Clintonesque lawyers. That is, the letter reeks of obfuscation and weasel words.
Therefore, following each point addressed in the letter, we will add a comment from our point of view. To distinguish our comments from the original text of the letter, we will place our comments in "" brackets.
The complete text of the letter, with attachments, can be found at: http://www.mabnet.org/misc/update.html We did not change any words in the letter, nor did we even correct their spelling.
Some individuals and organizations have been seriously misinformed about the nature of the Biosphere Reserve element of the U.S. MAB Program.
Thank you for taking the time to read this section and to learn the truth about U.S. MAB and about biosphere reserves. Obviously we cannot answer each and every question or allegation.
However, here are some of the more recent charges that we have heard concerning biosphere reserves. We have condensed some of the charges into common categories because of their similarities.
The following is my personal statement. The opinions, conclusions and recommendations expressed in this statement are mine and do not necessarily reflect the views of the participating and supporting agencies of U.S. MAB.
Charge Number 1:
When an area receives biosphere reserve recognition, the United Nations will control the area, or the USA "loses sovereignty" over the area, etc.
The idea that the United Nations is taking over U.S. lands, private and public, is completely false.
Neither the United Nations nor any other international body has any authority over public or private U.S. lands which have received recognition as biosphere reserves.
[The UN sets the qualifications -- read, land-use regulations -- for the program. These regulations are then imposed on the American people by the full force of the federal government.]
Only voluntary guidelines exist for biosphere reserves. No international biosphere reserve treaty or biosphere reserve convention exists.
["Voluntary" is a very interesting word for a federal bureaucrat to use. For instance, our compliance with IRS regulations is said to be "voluntary." So too is the States' compliance with education, seatbelt, alcohol sales, welfare, etc. etc. laws all said to be "voluntary."]
In 1995, managers from Biosphere Reserves around the world, representatives of conservation groups and scholars met in Seville, Spain, to set a voluntary framework for international science and conservation cooperation. Among the documents they produced were The Seville Strategy for Biosphere Reserves and the Statutory Framework for the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (Click for full texts). No statutory law or treaty exists, nor is any being proposed, for this network. The Introduction for this "Framework"; states:
"Biosphere Reserves, each of which remains under the sole sovereignty of the State where it is situated and thereby submitted to State legislation only, form a world network in which participation by States is voluntary."
[No statutory law exists. Nor do any formal international agreements or treaties. In other words, there is no legal authority to form biosphere reserves or Heritage Sites within the United States. States, as we know them, may not legislate control of a biosphere. State, as used above, denotes a country -- in our case, the federal government. The legislatures of the 50 United States have absolutely no input in this program.]
Furthermore, Article 2, paragraph 1 of that "Framework" states,
"Individual Biosphere Reserves remain under the sovereign jurisdiction of the States where they are situated. Under the present Statutory Framework, States take the measures which they deem necessary according to their national legislation"
[Sure. As long as they follow all rules and regulations set by UNESCO.]
This fact was also recognized by the Congressional Research Service's CRS Report for Congress (Click for full text) on June 6, 1996. In that report to Congress entitled "Biosphere reserves: Fact Sheet" it noted:
"Biosphere reserve recognition does not convey any control or jurisdiction over such sites to the United Nations or to any other entity. The United States and/or state and local communities where biosphere reserves are located continue to exercise the same jurisdiction as that in place before designation. Areas are listed only at the request of the country in which they are located, and can be removed from the biosphere reserve list at any time by a request from that country."
[Again, they use "state" to denote country. Then, they mix it in with our use of "State" to confuse the issue. If local communities are to have input in the program, let's have families residing in the affected communities vote on the issue and settle it once and for all.]
In sum, neither the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, (UNESCO) nor any other U.N. body has jurisdiction over any U.S. Biosphere Reserve. There is no threat that the U.N. has authority to manage any U.S. property -- private, county, state, or Federal through biosphere reserves.
[Nope. No more than the federal government can control speed limits, farming, drinking age, television programming, or anything else within the boundaries of a State. It's the initial regulations! UNESCO set strict land use regulations for biosphere reserves. The federal government will instruct the States to enforce them. The people will have no choice but to obey.]
Charge Number 2:
Biosphere reserves will restrict property and land use rights and lower land values.
There are no economic or scientific studies which show any detrimental effect of biosphere reserve status on the use and value of non-Federal lands located in the vicinity of a biosphere reserve. Neither is there any evidence that any restrictions were placed on any private lands in the vicinity of a biosphere reserve because it was a biosphere reserve.
[Yes there is. First, a biosphere reserve is, by UNESCO decree, a "non use" zone for humans. Second, who in their right mind would want to purchase property within the highly regulated UNESCO "managed use" buffer zones surrounding a biosphere reserve? Also, if the project expands, as indicated by the U.S. & UNESCO MAB biosphere maps, hundreds of thousands of American families will be forced to relocate and hundreds of thousands more American families will be severely affected by strict land- use regulations.]
For an area to be nominated as a biosphere reserve, a protected area and an area of managed use must already have legal protection. In a number of U.S. cases, the "protected areas" are "wilderness areas" or "research natural areas" that have been earlier designated as such within a National Park, National Forest, et cetera. The "area of managed use" (generally termed "buffer zone" in other countries) is generally the park, forest or nature preserve itself. In the past, as all of the area being recognized as a biosphere reserve was within the national park or forest, early nominations often did not distinguish between the protected or managed use area -- it was all within the same park.
[Not so in the Kentucky Land Between the lakes and Mammoth cave areas. Cities and towns are within the highly regulated "managed use" buffer zones. So too with the Smoky Mountains Biosphere Reserve area. One only need speak with the residents to realize the true impact.]
In more recent times, a number of U.S. biosphere reserve nominations have dealt with non-federal lands of states or private conservation groups. However, the principle, and the requirement, of pre-existing legal conservation protection for the protected area and legal authority for the managed use area remains a constant in U.S. MAB. Consequently, there are no new restrictions placed on land use anywhere in these areas. The legal conservation protection that exists in the protected or managed use areas had to pre-exist before any biosphere reserve nomination could be sought.
[Again, not so in every area of the country. Many of the highly regulated "managed use" buffer zones and "cooperation zones" had residents long before the concept of a biosphere reserve was thought up. Now they are stuck with severe land-use regulations. They had no choice. The onerous land-use regulations were imposed on the residents by an agency of the federal government specifically because government agents wanted a biosphere reserve nearby.]
Land use and zoning laws which may affect lands in the "zone of cooperation" around a biosphere reserve are generally under the authority of state, county or local governments. U.S. MAB now seeks to ensure that local county governments are consulted and participate in the Biosphere Reserve nomination process. U.S. MAB also seeks to have the nomination endorsed by a wide range of stakeholders, local conservationists, farmers and ranchers, sports-persons, etc.
[The words "generally under the authority of" does not cut it! Nor does "nomination by conservationists and sports persons." The landowner of record is the only person who counts in this issue. The Federal Government has no right to restrict private property.]
Within the biosphere reserve program there is no authorization for the "taking" of anyone's land, nor for the placing of any legal restrictions on private land use and individual land rights.
[Correct. As indicated above (and below), you have zero authority to do any of this today. However, if the Bio-Diversity Treaty is ratified by the Senate, you instantly have authority to "take" hundreds of thousands of square miles of private and public land. Then, land owners -- American families -- will have no legal recourse.]
In testimony given to Congress last year on "A Bill to Preserve the Sovereignty of the United States Over Public Lands" (H. R. 3752), not one of the witnesses was able to cite any actual or observed increased land use restrictions or any decrease in the value of any private property in the vicinity of a biosphere reserve. (See "Sovereignty Over Public Lands", Hearings before the Committee on Resources, House of Representatives, 104th Congress, Second Session on HR 3752, September 12, 1996 - Serial No. 104-98, Washington DC).
[When members of the Kentucky Board of Realtors saw the "Existing and Proposed Biosphere Reserve" map, they most certainly showed an avid interest! We were told that, if the UNESCO biosphere project is fully implemented as proposed, the property in nearly one-quarter of the state of Kentucky would be rendered useless, and hence worthless. Most of that is currently private land. Whole cities and towns, full of American families, are included in the areas covered by the UNESCO MAB plan. Thousands of American families would be physically forced off of their homelands in favor of a biosphere.]
Claim Number 3:
Biosphere reserves will circumvent the Constitution and infringe upon the laws enacted by Congress.
The Federal or state agencies responsible for various biosphere reserve protected areas are agencies with Congressional, state or local authority for managing the lands within those areas. Most often, the agencies are the National Park Service of the Department of the Interior and the Forest Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Areas which are recognized as Biosphere Reserves receive no special land use authority or regulations which might conflict with the authority of the Congress, the state government agencies, or county and local authorities. Biosphere Reserves have no international or other authority. They receive Biosphere Reserve recognition and status, in part, because the land management authority for the protected and managed use areas must already exist within domestic legislation. National Parks, for example, have Congressional authority for the management of the park. Such parks have a "management plan" for the park. Frequently these park management plans identify specific "wilderness areas" for research and study thus serving as the "Protected Area" of the Biosphere Reserve. The entire surrounding park area is the "Managed Used Area" because the Park Service or other authority is mandated to manage that area.
[But now MAB is ready to expand the program. As indicated by the US & UNESCO Man & the Biosphere Program map (1997), hundreds of thousands of square miles of American land is to be incorporated into the program. Many thousands of American families now make their homes in those "little or no use" biosphere zones. Therefore, to make these zones "little or no use" areas, hundreds of thousands of Americans would first need to be evicted.]
These local or national authorities must pre-exist before an area can be nominated as a Biosphere Reserve. No new regulations are created with Biosphere Reserve recognition that in any way could diminish the authority of the U.S. government, Congress, or any state, county or local legislative body to make rules and regulations respecting these lands.
[Fine. Then we recommend that this matter be put to a vote of the families living in the affected areas of the seven states on the map we have at the next scheduled election. Then, if a majority of the people reject the biosphere reserve proposal for their area, the U.S. MAB Committee will immediately remove these areas from all future consideration for the program. Right?]
Claim Number 4:
UN Troops are moving into a region to depopulate it in order to establish a Biosphere Reserve; or UN roadblocks have been set up; or that some type of "animal worship" is going to be imposed though the "secret AGENDA 21" or through a Seville Strategy (click for full text), or a secret UN concentration camp is under construction, or a UN truck depot base, etc.
It is impossible to keep up with all of these erroneous claims. No such proof or evidence has ever been offered to substantiate these claims. They have no basis in fact.
Agenda 21 is a lengthy compilation (40 chapters, each of which has multiple subsections) of resolutions adopted at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992 to promote sustainable development. It is not secret and can be obtained from many public sources and bookstores. Click here to read the official U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service (formerly the Soil Conservation Service) statement about recent misinformation circulated, and the truth, about "Agenda 21".
The primary objective of the Seville Strategy (click for text) is to promote and encourage greater involvement by local citizens and officials in the management of biosphere reserves -- not to depopulate areas or impose new laws or regulations upon them.
[There are vast areas of American land labeled as "little or no use." This is not intended to "encourage greater involvement." Rather, it will be an area where humans (except for the chosen few) are totally excluded.]
It does seem that the burden of proof ought to reside on those that make these fearful charges. Certainly it would seem that with 47 biosphere reserves in the U.S., that if any of these charges were true, someone, somewhere, somehow, would have some photographic or video proof of the existence of these UN concentration camps, or hidden bases, etc. Or evidence of increased land use restrictions, etc. Yet, no one has and no one ever will, because all of these charges are false.
[Maybe. But the proposed strict land-use regulations are not false. Nor is the fact that UNESCO and MAB plan to force many thousands of American families out of their homes so coons, rats, snakes, snails and bugs can exist unencumbered by the presence of humans.]
Claim Number 5:
The U.S. MAB Program operates without legal approval.
U.S. MAB is a voluntary, interagency, effort which operates within the existing authorities of the participating agencies. No specific law exists for the U.S. MAB Program.
[Right! No legal authority exists for MAB or UNESCO to restrict American land in any way. That is our point exactly.]
Federal agencies were directed by the "Memorandum for Heads of Certain Departments and Agencies, Subject: U.S. Participation in UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Program," Executive Office of the President, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Office of Management and Budget, Washington, DC, March 9, 1979, to participate in the U.S. MAB Program.
[Bingo! Finally, some truth. The words: "Subject: U.S. Participation in UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Program," is why there is no authority. The agreement involving the United States in UNESCO is null and void -- has been for many years. The United States is no longer a party to it. We quit UNESCO because they were ripping us off for huge sums of taxpayer dollars for absolutely no benefit to Americans. President Carter's directives are not perpetual. They were canceled when we backed out of the Agreement. Therefore, nothing the Carter administration wrote about this subject applies any longer. Hence, we say again: Anything done under this program is done without legal authority. Today, these actions are little more than the bureaucratic fiat of federal agencies -- and a MAB Committee with zero authority to even exist. All authority ended back about 1984. Any action taken by the Committee after that time is without legal authority.]
The reply of the agencies is in "Memorandum to Director, Office of Management and Budget, Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Subject: U.S. Participation in the Man and the Biosphere Program (MAB)"; From the Assistant Secretaries of the Departments of State, the Interior and Agriculture and Chairman of the U.S. MAB National Committee, November 13, 1980.
[Yes, the program was legal in 1980. Later, the United States quit UNESCO. Now it is not legal. The program should have ended 13 years ago.]
Other applicable authorities which are cited in Interagency agreements to participate in the U.S. MAB program include: the Economy Act of 1932, as amended, 31 U.S.C. 1535; An Act Authorizing the Secretary of State to Manage Foreign Affairs, 22 U.S.C. 2656; House Joint Resolution 305, July 30, 1946 (PL 565, 79th Congress); the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Act, as amended, 22 U.S.C. 287m-287t; House Joint Resolution 305, July 30, 1946 (PL 565, 79th Congress); and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and PL91-190, 91st Congress. Again, while none of these laws specifically cite the MAB Program, they do authorize the federal agencies to cooperate and support programs within which they have an interest.
[Correct. None of these acts could authorize the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Program because it did not even exist then. Therefore, bringing them up herein is little more than subterfuge. However, the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution still exists. And that Amendment effectively blocks any plans MAB and UNESCO may have to take private lands.]
Charge Number 6:
"Creeping UN-ism" -- That the undefined "transitional or cooperation zone" of a biosphere reserve gives (the UN) license to expand the protected area of a biosphere reserve and establish land use controls over that area.
Most biosphere reserves are U.S. National Parks or National Forests. If the protected areas were to be expanded it would take several specific acts of Congress. Only Congress can expand the protected area or managed use area of a National Park or of a National Forest.
[That is not true at all. UNESCO, and the Man and Biosphere arm of UNESCO, have mapped out all of the United States. As evidenced by the maps, MAB and UNESCO know exactly which of our prime lands are to be included in the "no use" and highly "regulated use" biosphere areas. These hundreds of thousands of square miles of American land are listed as included in the "Plan Mandated by the Biodiversity Assessment (Section 220.127.116.11.3) and UN & UNESCO Man and Biosphere Program." Which means that, as soon as the Bio-Diversity Treaty is ratified by the Senate, the program becomes "mandatory" throughout the United States. We only have one map at this time. So there is no telling how many hundreds of thousands of American families are slated to be "relocated" by the U.S. MAB & UNECCO bureaucracy.]
To expand these areas Congress would: -- have to hold multiple hearings; -- pass a Congressional authorization bill; and -- pass a specific appropriation bill to compensate the private owners as stipulated by the Constitution.
[More subterfuge. That is not true at all. MAB and UNESCO have already begun. All that is necessary to run the project full speed ahead is Senate Ratification of the Bio-Diversity Treaty -- which both Clinton and Gore want.]
Once the National Park or National Forest was expanded by Congress, only then could its managers apply for biosphere reserve recognition for the new, expanded area. The U.S. MAB Program and its National Committee would ensure that there is appropriate local government support for the concept before the nomination is forwarded to the UNESCO-MAB program for formal consideration by the International Coordinating Council.
Charge Number 7:
What is unreasonable about Congress being involved in the biosphere reserve nomination process? ** Answer:
Nothing. Indeed Congressional involvement in the process of the recognition of biosphere reserves would probably be desired by the U.S. MAB Program. However, to tie up Congress with the naming of areas, most of which in the future will likely be non-federal lands which are nominated by their state park authorities or the private organizations or individual owners, seems unwarrented.
In several informal meetings the concept has been discussed that before the U.S. National Committee for MAB formally considers the nomination of any new area for biosphere reserve status all of the appropriate Congressional Committees be notified of the nomination in process -- and that an adequate period of time (say 120 (?) days) be allowed for "Congressional oversight." During that time, Congress could express reservations or raise any questions about the specific nomination.
[As we see it -- from the UNESCO map -- it appears that the MAB Committee, in conjunction with UNESCO, has been doing a considerable amount of "nominating" on its own! Vast areas of the United States are labeled for "mandatory" participation -- regardless of what the people, the local governments or the State governments think. Local and State officials are not even consulted.]
Since the U.S. National Committee for MAB must approve the nomination before it is sent to UNESCO, and since the National Committee is composed of representatives of federal agencies dependendent on Congress, one can be more than reasonably assured that any Congressional objections or observations on the matter will be considered according to expressed Congressional desires.
[More subterfuge. Federal agencies are not "dependent on Congress." Congress may adjust funding for the various agencies and subpoena agency heads to attend hearings. Other than that, federal agencies do as they please. Congress is devoid of any other power over federal agencies.]
But, it does not seem reasonable for Congress to terminate all of the currently existing Biosphere Reserve designations. According to currently proposed legislation (HR 901) Congress would have to specifically authorize the existence of each and every biosphere reserve in the U.S. before 2001. That would involve at least 47 specific acts of Congress. If specific allegations are being raised against any specific U.S. biosphere reserve concerning any of the above charges, then perhaps a case could be made. But, no specific charges have been launched against any U.S. biosphere reserve that it is, for example, violating U.S. sovereignty or preventing or interfering in the use of private lands in the area.
[Again . . . that is not true. And again, there is no authority for any branch of the federal government to appoint biosphere reserves or Heritage sites in the United States. And, most certainly, there is no authority for any branch or agency of the United States government to join together with a foreign entity for the management of American land -- whether public of private.]
Please review our web site carefully. We have posted all of our publications and information sheets so you -- the concerned citizen -- can knowledgeably determine the truth about biosphere reserves and MAB.
You can download any of the complete texts (including illustrations, charts and maps) of any of our publications. In the future the MABForum bulletin boards will be available for the posting of the answers to these, or other, topics. You can also use the e-mail icons to ask for additional information.
[All maps, interestingly enough, have recently been removed from the U.S. MAB web site. Furthermore, all maps of actual and proposed United States biosphere reserves have been removed from the UNESCO web sites worldwide.]
We find (see above letter by the program's executive director) that the MAB program was authorized by an executive memorandum issued during the Carter Administration, while the U.S. was a party to UNESCO. During the Reagan Administration, the United States dropped out of the UNESCO agreement, and hence from all UNESCO programs.
But someone forgot to tell the federal regulatory agency bureaucrats making up the MAB Committee. Thirteen years later, they're still spending taxpayer dollars on a program that no longer legally exists. They are also bothering American citizens with land-use regulations emanating from a Committee that should not exist.
Congressional oversight of regulatory agencies has never been very good. But, to allow this MAB Committee to spend taxpayer money for thirteen years after all authority for them to even exist has expired seems to add new meaning to the term "waste, fraud and abuse" in the Federal Government.
Just as an aside here, and to help prove our point, we direct our readers to H.R. 1801: A bill "To Authorize the United States Man and the Biosphere Program and for other purposes." The bill was submitted in the House by California Democratic Reps. Brown and Miller last week.
So, unless H.R. 1801 passes, biosphere reserves within the boundaries of the United States are not legally authorized. And another thing: Not even this bill will authorize participation in an international biosphere program, such as UNESCO's.
Americans should therefore demand that all the blue UN and UNESCO signs at parks around the country be immediately removed. Tell them so.
MAB INFORMATION ADDRESSES
To view the MAB & UNESCO "Existing and Proposed Biosphere and Wildlands for the Central Appalachian Mountains" map, visit the Home Page of the Kentucky Coalition for Property Rights at: http://18.104.22.168/global/nckm/coalitio.htm
The U.S. Man & the Biosphere Program Home Page is located at: http://www.mabnet.org/home2.html
The World Heritage Committee information page is located at: http://www.unesco.org:80/whc/heritage.htm
A Biosphere Reserve FAQ page is located at: http://www.unesco.org/mab/activity/brfaq.htm
The Statutory Framework of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves can be viewed at: http://www.unesco.org/mab/home/frameuk.htm
A "Man and the Biosphere" On-line Query System includes a list of U.S. Biosphere Reserves. And folks, most have web pages and e-mail addresses for the directors. . . . Here's our chance to ask questions of the local biosphere czars in our own respective areas: http://22.214.171.124/bin/$webdbc.exe/MABFauna/Reserves /select/&/mab/Country.htx?&d_BioResCoun= United+States+of+America
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