Sustainable Development imposed in Washington State
By Henry Lamb
January 27, 2007
The greatness of the American system arises from the fundamental principle that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. This means that public policy must be enacted only by elected representatives of the people. This principle ensures that the people can remove and replace policy makers who make policy with which the people disagree.
This principle guided the evolution of local governments, consisting of locally elected officials, to deal with local policy; state government, consisting of representatives from local regions of the state, to deal with statewide policy; and the federal government, consisting of representatives from every state, to deal with national policy.
This principle has been sacred for most of the history of this nation. It has withstood challenges from socialists, from fascists, from communists, and from anarchists. But it is a principle that is rapidly being swamped by the idea and implementation of sustainable development.
The President’s Council on Sustainable Development, created by executive order, and consisting of appointed, not elected, individuals, decided that a new process of policy making was in order. They concluded that:
“We need a new collaborative decision process that leads to better decisions; more rapid change; and more sensible use of human, natural, and financial resources in achieving our goals.”
The idea of sustainable development emerged from the U.N.’s 1987 Commission on Environment and Development, in a report called Our Common Future:
“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
This idea has supplanted the idea that governments derive their just power from the consent of the governed. It has happened in small and large communities, and it has happened without the consent, or even the awareness, of the governed. It is happening again in Washington State. Few of the governed are aware of what is happening in their government.
Governor Gregoire has requested, in both the state House and Senate, that a bill be introduced to create a new state agency: The Puget Sound Partnership (a href=http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=5372> SB5372). This new agency will be responsible for creating an “Action Agenda” (by 2008) that will embrace 12 counties, to “reach a healthy Puget Sound by 2020.”
This agency will consist of a seven-member “Leadership Council,” appointed by the governor. A chairman appointed by the governor, and an Executive Director, appointed by the governor. Incidentally, the governor can remove any member, any time, at her discretion.
The Council will appoint an “Implementation Advisory Board” that will consist of one representative from each of the 12 local governments in the region, each of the three tribes, representatives from state, and federal agencies, and businesses and non-government organizations. The Council will also appoint a “Science Advisory Committee” of no more than 15 individuals.
This Council may accept and make grants, enter into contracts, issue rules, and - for all practical purposes - become a government power superior to the local and county governments in the 12 county region, at least in matters that affect the Puget Sound. This most definitely includes land and resource use in the entire area.
This legislation has been given “emergency” status, which means that it will go into effect on July 1, 2007, if enacted. If enacted, a whole new appointed bureaucracy will be created, that will have virtual authority of the elected officials of the 12 counties, perhaps forever. Bureaucracies are rarely shut down, once created.
This is, in fact, a clear example of the “...new collaborative decision process...” that is required by the advancement of sustainable development. Nowhere in the process is the “consent of the governed” considered. Nowhere in the structure is there direct accountability to the people who must abide by the rules promulgated by this appointed governing authority. The people who are most directly affected by this Council have absolutely no recourse if the policies the Council creates are oppressive or offensive to the people who are governed.
This is precisely how the idea of sustainable development is replacing the fundamental principle of representative government in America. What’s happening now in Washington state has happened - in on form or another - in every state and community across the country. And it is destroying the idea, and the power, of representative government - as well as the freedom that was once the hallmark of the American system.
Sustainable development is nothing more than restraints on freedom, prescribed and imposed by appointed individuals who think that they know best how everyone else should live.