WASHINGTON – Alarms are being raised over what probably is retiring Sen. Christopher Dodd's last major piece of legislation – the Livable Communities Act, which has been approved by the Senate Banking Committee and now is heading to the Senate floor – for its likely U.N. inspiration and goal of controlling people.
The plan would create a new federal bureaucracy, the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, armed with some $4 billion in federal grants, to pressure local communities into a more "green" development agenda.
Detractors say its priorities can be traced back to the U.N., which at an Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 adopted Agenda 21, outlining the goal of having government control over people.
On its face, the program would have grants to underwrite local community planning efforts that direct actions toward a "sustainable development."
Dodd, a scandal-plagued Connecticut Democrat, decided last year not to run for re-election in 2010.
The law is promoted as an effort to fight traffic congestion, strip malls and ugly urban sprawl. It would "encourage" local communities to create high-density population centers linked by mass transit networks.
Michael Shaw of Freedom Advocates, a pro-constitutional rights group, told WND, "They call it 'smart growth.' It literally means they draw a circle around the community and say nothing will be developed outside of this wall. Land inside the wall goes up in price as shortages develop. You end up with highrises, with people living on the top floors, stores on bottom floors and offices in the middle. Humans wind up living in the sky. They never touch the ground or leave the building."
The bill, approved by the Senate Banking Committee on a party-line vote in August, "is on a fast track," said Tom DeWeese, president of the American Policy Center, a grassroots group promoting free markets and limited government.
"The Democrats are doing everything they can before they lose power in the next election. They're working on a plethora of environmental bills we've been fighting for years, things that we thought were dead," he said.
DeWeese added, "What makes the Dodd bill unique is they've mostly done this through executive orders or grant programs, but now this is the first time they've put together a federal bill to put this stuff in place."
Shaw and DeWeese warn of numerous unpublicized consequences of the Livable Communities Act and similar "sustainable development" legislation.
It's a "socialist trap," DeWeese said.
"The Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities would end up overseeing development in every community," he said. "They say it's voluntary, but it really isn't. The $4 billion in grants will be used by radical green groups, who helped write it, to force your city council to comply. If your city says no to the pressure to take the grant money, the radical greens will tell your citizens that their city officials are losing them millions of dollars that is owed to the community. Then, when the council caves into the pressure and takes the money, it will force compliance. That is not voluntary, it is blackmail."
Homeowners would end up paying exorbitant costs and losing control over their own homes, according to DeWeese.
"To get the money, a community must meet environmental standards," he said.
"That requires houses to be equipped with new roofs, new windows, and efficient appliances. They did this last year in Oakland. It costs an estimated $35,000 to make a house comply with the environmental regulations. They say homeowners can't sell their houses if they don't meet these standards."
Shaw warned of its Big Brother-type impact.
"It's the application of new technological breakthroughs to control people," he said. "Look at the new smart meters sweeping the nation."
The devices are being marketed as methods for reducing electricity expenses, but Shaw points out that energy companies and bureaucrats end up controlling the temperature in private homes.
Shaw believes the legislation traces back to Agenda 21, the U.N.-sponsored environmental initiative revealed at the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992. According to Shaw, Agenda 21 has three main goals: "1. Abolition of private property. 2. Education for global citizenship. 3. Control over human action."
Shaw, whose organization was created to inform the public about Agenda 21, said, "It originated in the U.N. 178 nations have signed onto it, including the U.S. in 1992. It's not a treaty, it's a soft law agreement, so it doesn't require treaty ratification. George H.W. Bush infused every federal department with sustainable development principles, and they've been followed by all three presidents since."