Agenda 21 concerns have been raised in Colorado during a debate over private land and fruit trees – and the issue is one that counties all across the United States are tackling.
Scott McInnis, a recently elected Mesa County commissioner and former US congressman, has voiced concerns over what is called a “conservation easement” in the Palisade area in the county.
The conservation easement request is from owners of a 22-acre property which is encompassed by apricot and peach trees. Supporters of conservation easements say they actually protect private land; under the legal agreement the landowner agrees to donate property rights to a “land trust,” and the owner in return receives tax credits and supposedly peace of mind that his or her land is protected. One popular supporter of easements is the Land Trust Alliance, which says conservation easements permanently limit “uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values.” More than 6 million acres of land in the US involves conservation easements, the alliance said.
Critics, though, says the easements are a sort of Agenda 21 Trojan horse – a “sneaky way for the federal government to snatch private lands” at some point in the future, the Colorado Independent reported. The Mesa County Land Trust has easements that amount to about 12.5 percent of all land in the county, commissioners said.
(Listen to Off The Grid Radio’s in-depth report on Agenda 21 here.)
McInnis and his commissioners initially denied in a 3-0 vote a request to permit the easement. Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts Executive Director Amanda Barker told the media she has begun to hear similar concerns in Colorado’s Western Slope region. The oil and gas rich area includes Weld County.
“There are more individuals wary of land trusts,” Barker said.
While commissioner McInnis said he is aware of the Agenda 21 issue, he also stated that conservation easements have been approved with “little, if any” county review for a significant amount of time — and he feels that situation needs to change. The Mesa County commissioner also argued that because conservation easements encumber land in perpetuity and could cause obstacles for future generations, such easements need to be thoroughly researched and discussed before any approval is granted.
The commissioners, in a letter, stated that 30 years of “protected status” is a more reasonable idea when dealing with conservation easement requests.
“I just want to make sure we look very carefully at these. This rubber-stamp syndrome – that’s not my nature,” McInnis added.
In the end, the commissioners allowed the easement but said future requests won’t be automatically permitted.
As previously reported by Off The Grid News, Agenda 21 is a voluntary, non-binding UN action plan which focuses on what the document calls “sustainable development.” Critics say it is a threat to private property and that it is being implemented on the federal and local level in the United States without Americans even knowing it.
The American Policy Center said conservation easements are “widely praised as a way to save the environment and keep property rights, [but] in fact, in the long term they often do neither.”