AUGUSTA – Supporters of bill that seeks to have the state of Maine ban what is known as the United Nations' Agenda 21 packed three committee rooms at the State House on Tuesday.
The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Ricky Long, R-Sherman, would prohibit the state, any governing body or quasi-governing body in Maine from implementing or adopting any policies set forth by the UN at its conference on Environment and Development held in Brazil in 1992.
"It would also threaten the sovereignty of our government as well as our established policies and civil liberties by binding us to a contract of global governance," Long wrote in his testimony to the committee.
Even though the treaty that came from that conference was never ratified by the U.S. Congress, conservatives believe the UN is working secretly to put parts of the measure in place.
The ultimate goal, they say, is to strip anybody, anywhere of private property and to also reduce the global population to just 500 million people.
The 351-page UN agenda is already being put into motion by several local governments and state agencies, including the Department of Environmental Protection, according to Henry Joy, a Republican and former state representative from Crystal.
Joy spoke to the Legislature's Judiciary Committee on Long's bill Tuesday as he presented it for Long.
Joy spoke at length about the formation of the United States and also about the UN's role in global politics.
"Unfortunately since (the UN's) creation it has been a millstone around the neck of this country," Joy said. "And it has struck out seeking the destruction of our Constitution, threats to our nation's sovereignty and I don't know what they think they will accomplish because the United States is the largest contributor financially to the United Nations, and if they destroy this country, and part of this Agenda 21 is to do that, then they are not going to have that cash cow to give them contributions every single year."
Sen. Linda Valentino, D-Saco, co-chairwoman of the committee, asked Joy who in Maine was trying to implement this agenda.
"Is there a group that is actively lobbying for us to adopt Agenda 21?" she asked.
"They may not call it that," Joy said. "But they are trying to adopt a little bit here and a little bit there and it all comes from the United Nations Agenda 21."
Rep. Stephen Moriarity, D-Cumberland, said he had never even heard of Agenda 21 prior to the bill banning its implementation in Maine coming to the committee.
Moriarity also noted that the Biodiversity Treaty was never ratified by the U.S. Congress. "Are you aware of any legislation passed here in Maine, because the Legislature felt compelled to do so by virtue of Agenda 21?" Moriarity asked.
Joy said he couldn't give a specific answer and he also agreed with Moriarity that since Congress never adopted the treaty it was "not part of the law of the land."
"No it isn't," Joy said. But he pointed out several executive orders signed by former President Clinton followed Agenda 21.
Rep. Jarrod Crockett, R-Bethel, said his understanding of the bill was it sought to protect Maine from the United Nations bypassing the standard way laws and government policy are created.
"There may be parts of this that get implemented by popular vote because people actually vote for it," Crockett said. "But we just don't want to bypass that process."
Joy said the UN had stopped trying to get it through the U.S. Congress and was instead working to implement it through local regulation and state governments.
"You have an organization, well two of them as a matter of fact — one called DEP and one called LURC," Joy said. "And both of those organizations are implementing many things which go along with this Agenda 21."
Joy said shore land ordinances were part of Agenda 21.
Blaine Richardson, a former Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, also spoke to the committee about Agenda 21. "It's an awful, awful, awful thing," Richardson said. "They are doing it under the radar. Make no mistake you really need to get informed on this, it will scare you to death."
Richardson said the agenda included the elimination of all private land ownership across the globe. "This is about no private land ownership anywhere on the face of the earth and it's well under way in Maine," Richardson said.
Samantha DePoy-Warren, a spokeswoman for Maine's DEP, said the agency was not working to implement Agenda 21.
Like Moriarity, DePoy-Warren said agency staff, honestly didn't even know what it was when it first came to their attention.
"Agenda 21 isn't even on our radar," DePoy-Warren wrote in an emailed message. "Certainly, you see some of the same words (sustainability, resource protection, conservation, pollution prevention) in the language we are guided by in our work, but that's grounded in our 40-year-old mission, not in the 40 chapters of Agenda 21."
The bill will likely be voted up or down by the committee during a work session later this month.