Education Reporter
NUMBER 140 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS SEPTEMBER 1997
 
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Chenoweth Defends Property Rights

WASHINGTON, DC. -- When Rep. Helen Chenoweth (R-ID) spoke on U.S. property rights to the Eagle Forum Collegians Fourth Annual Leadership Summit, she asked the question, "Whos making the laws of our land?" She described how many of Americas valuable land areas have been placed under United Nations control. Because of a treaty passed in the 1970s, treasured American heritage sites are now under the control of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) even though President Ronald Reagan terminated U.S. membership in the 1980s.

This is "chipping away at our precious freedoms," she said. Rep. Chenoweth explained that the designation of large sections of U.S. land as Biosphere Reserves constitutes an imminent threat to Americas sovereignty. These UNESCO-regulated areas exist in 47 locations across the United States. The land area of the Biosphere Reserves is equal to the state of Colorado.

"Land use planning is bad on the local level; its horrible on the state level; its atrocious on the national level," Rep. Chenoweth said. "But what about international?"

These internationally controlled Biosphere Reserves can include "buffer zones," which usually involve private land. When an area is declared a buffer zone, the landowners lose the right to make changes to their own property. Rep. Chenoweth called this "the taking of your land."

These land areas have been taken without congressional authority or Senate ratification of the Man and Biosphere Reserve Treaty (MAB). They were created under an agreement between President Bill Clinton and the United Nations.

Another way in which the United Nations is assuming authority over Americas property is through the World Heritage Treaty ratified in 1972. The treaty allows an international body to designate "World Heritage" sites. Among the American sites already chosen are Thomas Jeffersons home, Monticello; the Statue of Liberty; Independence Hall; the Grand Canyon; and Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks.

"I appreciate that the world wants to identify and enjoy sites that personify what made America great," Rep. Chenoweth said, "but these should always be special sites to America, owned and controlled only by Americans."

To ensure that Americans maintain control, Congressman Don Young (R-AK) introduced H.R. 901. This resolution would require congressional approval before any American Heritage sites or Biosphere Reserves are set aside.

-- by Sarah Fowler