Maryland’s Sustainability Plan is Unsustainable

Radical environmental sustainable development schemes are being implemented all over the country by state and local government.  The statists desire to wrest control of land use from private property owners using government coercion and soviet style councils under the auspices of sustainable development (a.k.a. smart growth).   Plan Maryland is Maryland’s latest recent sustainable development scheme. 

Two years ago I co-authored an article with current Carroll County Commissioner Rich Rothschild, published by American Thinker titled “UN Agenda 21 – Coming to a Neighborhood near You”. Maryland’s radical environmentalists, disguised as sustainability planners, have ratcheted up their efforts to control land use, dictate housing preferences, and use zoning laws to impact property rights and values.  It doesn’t end at these totalitarian style goals.  PlanMaryland is an aggressive maneuver by elected officials, bureaucrats, and radical environmentalists to empower themselves to control food and water, education, and the economy through green jobs.  This is right out of the Agenda 21 and ICLEI playbook. 

One of Plan Maryland’s foundational premises is global warming and climate change.  Specifically, Maryland’s CO2 contribution to greenhouse gases (GHG).  Plan Marylandrelies upon the 2008 Maryland Climate Action Report which, in turn, relies upon the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Reports.  The Maryland CAR explicitly states: 

The IPCC found the evidence for the warming of the Earth to be “unequivocal.”  The IPCC concluded that most of the observed temperature increases since the middle of the 20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in greenhouse gases. 

If it is unequivocal why does the next sentence say “it is very likely”? The Maryland Climate Action Report is scientific garbage because it relies upon the IPCC’s flawed, distorted, and manipulated data and methods.  The old adage garbage in, garbage out comes to mind.   To a radical environmentalist, PlanMaryland is a wet dream come true. 

Sustainable development is not about environmental stewardship.  All sustainability documents reference the “three Es”; social equity, environment, and the economy, with a heavy emphasis on “equity” or so-called social justice.  Social and environmental concerns include transportation, poverty eradication, gender equity, youth participation, safety, education, and food and water.  Literature produced by the United Nations, the International Council for Local Environment Initiatives (ICLEI), the American Planning Association, and PlanMaryland is nearly identical and indistinguishable.  

This is nothing short of an all encompassing effort by statists at the international, national, state, and local government level to circumvent the United States Constitution and violate individual rights and property rights under the guise of sustainable development.  

As early as 1976 the United Nations Vancouver Declaration of Human Settlements called for the elimination of private land ownership because land is a principal instrument in the accumulation of wealth and, according to them, contributes to social injustice.  Additionally, private land ownership is a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes.  Fast-forward to 1992 and we have Agenda 21, a United Nations development program that serves as the genesis for sustainable development. 

Plan Maryland overtly intends to minimize private land ownership.  The statist realizes outright elimination of private property is decades away.   But with the assistance of the ICLEI, the American Planning Association, and dozens of other organizations, planners  use the sustainable development scheme to restrict ownership to preferred development areas (PDA), require medium to high density dwellings (3.5 units per acre of land), and corrals people into very few areas controlled by the heavy hand of government. 

A sustainable development plan wouldn’t be complete without including government housing subsidies.  In sustainable development vernacular this is called affordable housing.  When government controls land use and government provides subsidies for housing the result is a gerrymandered population distorting the political landscape.  Statists decide who gets subsidies and where those people live.  The distribution of people, who are also voters, is distorted.  If you take 100,000 people out of Baltimore City(90% Democrat) and move them around the state, the entire voting pattern of the state is transformed and the ruling party increases their political power. 

Government uses financial leverage to coerce counties and municipalities to comply with sustainability dictates or else taxpayer funds that normally flow back to counties and municipalities are withheld.  Grant coercion is another preferred tactic used by the statist to ensure compliance and/or cooperation.  Grants are used to attract non-profits, educational institutions, and other entities to participate in the sustainability scheme.  Organizations are attracted to grant money.  Government dangles the proverbial carrot in the form of taxpayer money to ensure outcomes that advance the statist’s agenda.  For instance, a $1 million grant is offered to study climate change.  Upon completion, government offers another $1 million grant to prove mankind is the cause of climate change.  Lastly, government offers another $1 million grant to prove the level of CO2 produced by mankind is trapped as a greenhouse gas resulting in a warmer planet. 

Government uses the law against the very citizens it was meant to protect.  All levels of government are instituted to protect individual rights, liberty, and property rights.  Citizens are stranded to fight massive bureaucratic organizations to merely buy property and live where they desire without government coercing them into sustainable communities like sardines in a tin can.  Some citizens may find a sustainable community desirable while government coerces other citizens into these living conditions. 

The 188 page PlanMaryland document never mentions the U.S. Constitution or private property rights.  In fact, the term climate change was used 48 times and the term greenhouse gas is used 25 times in the Plan Maryland document.  Not a single reference to private property rights.  Not a single reference to the Constitution.   

In Maryland, the Carroll County Commissioners were the first county in the nation to leave the ICLEI.  Approximately, fifteen other municipalities have followed Carroll Countyand withdrawn from the ICLEI. The county has been inundated with letters, e-mails, and phone calls from all over the country asking for guidance, and offering support and encouragement.  

Commissioner Rothschild is a leading advocate against radical sustainable development schemes.  Rothschild met with Congressmen Roscoe Bartlett and Steven King.  He met with Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s staff.  He has done several dozen radio interviews and programs.  He has addressed dozens of concerned citizen groups throughout the mid-Atlantic region. 

The Carroll County Commissioners instructed the Planning and Zoning Commission to remove all references to sustainable development and to insert language upholding Constitutional rights and property rights.  In the Commissioners press release Rich Rothschild said: 

If compact growth were more cost effective, our cities would have the lowest tax rates. Yet across the country large cities tend to have the highest tax rates… People are fleeing Smart Growth [zoning templates], due to congestion and crime. 

Commissioner David Rousch directed his comments squarely at government intervention in free markets:

We don’t believe it’s our job to create certain kinds of housing anywhere in this county. The market will create it.

Maryland citizens have had enough with the intimidation and bullying by the Democrat controlled General Assembly and Governor Martin O’Malley.  Several other states have implemented radical environmental sustainable development schemes while others are in process of doing so.  While the federal government is dithering around with debts and budgets, states are aggressively acting to abridge or deny your private property rights. 

I said it two years ago and I’ll say it again.  Agenda 21, with the help of the ICLEI and other organizations, is implementing sustainable development schemes in states and local jurisdictions all over the country, and it is coming to a neighborhood near you.

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