Legislation moving forward in Arizona's legislature would ban the implementation of any part of Agenda 21, a series of recommendations for addressing pollution, poverty, population growth and the depletion of natural resources adopted by the United Nations. So would similar bills in Oklahoma and New Mexico.
Alabama has already banned Agenda 21.
So what's the problem with fighting pollution and poverty, and trying to protect natural resources?
Here's what the author of New Mexico's bill banning Agenda 21, Republican state Rep. Tom Anderson, wrote in the Albuquerque Journal in February:
"Essentially, Agenda 21 gives the government power to assess and deem an area, an item, or a type of production as unsustainable, thus putting it under increased government control.
"This is a multi-faceted and dangerous program that could apply to all means of production -- including land, water and animals, among other factors. Not only is this a direct violation of our freedoms as Americans, but it is an international overreach into our personal lives.
"It is also the antithesis of what our forefathers fought for when they put their lives on the line to establish a free America.
"Agenda 21 infringes on our personal liberties and will, no doubt, tie the hands of hardworking Americans. With increased government control, we head down a slippery slope and lose control of our homes, communities and our livelihoods."
Opponents of the recommendations set forth in Agenda 21 miss a key point, however.
Agenda 21 is a nonbinding program. It was approved in 1992 at the United Nations Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro. The Earth Summit was convened to address environmental concerns and socio-economic development.
Yes, the 294-page Agenda 21 document was adopted by 178 governments including the United States. President George H. W. Bush signed on to the agreement for the United States. But the U.S. Senate never ratified the agreement and the recommendations in Agenda 21 are by no means anything close to federal law in the United States.
Reads Alabama's law: "The State of Alabama and all political subdivisions may not adopt or implement policy recommendations that deliberately or inadvertently infringe or restrict private property rights without due process, as may be required by policy recommendations originating in, or traceable to 'Agenda 21.'"