* Future drilling on federal land should protect landscape – Jewell
By Patrick Rucker
WASHINGTON, Oct 31 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will use his executive powers to protect more mountains, rivers and forests from development if Congress does not act to preserve such wild spaces, the U.S. Interior Secretary said on Thursday.
Portions of the Grand Canyon, Redwood forests in California and Caribbean seascapes have been protected under the 1906 Antiquities Act, which gives the president broad authority to put natural terrain and historic sites under federal protection.
Such preservation efforts can also come through Congress but presidents in a second term have typically felt freer to designate such spaces unilaterally.
On Thursday, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said that the president was ready to move ahead.
“There’s no question that if Congress doesn’t act, we will act,” Jewell said at a luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington.
Lawmakers have proposed roughly two dozen sites for federal protection, but partisan divisions have helped stall many of those plans.
Jewell, the former chief executive of outdoor gear and clothing retailer REI, said proposals that have backing in Congress – including planned designation of coastal regions of California and Maine as well as a swath of the Arizona desert – are among the first that could be considered.
According to Alex Newman and Gary Schorr, writing for the Liberty Sentinel of Florida, the federal government already owns almost 1/3 of the land in the United States already, and according to the UN:
“Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts on the environment,” the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs explains on its Web site.
Is it any wonder that the so-called “conspiracy theorists” see this as an “Agenda 21 land grab”?
In the final agreement after the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development, section H encouraged countries to “pursue these principles at the appropriate level of government,” recognizing that in countries like the U.S., the power is supposed to be divided among different levels of government.
So, the ‘Commission on Sustainable Development’ was created in 1992 to “ensure effective follow-up” of the U.N. “conservation” treaties and “to monitor and report on implementation of the agreements at the local, national, regional and international levels.”
“Land…cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market,” Agenda 21 says. “Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes. The provision of decent dwellings and healthy conditions for the people can only be achieved if land is used in the interest of the society as a whole.”
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