By Paul Driessen Policy Study No. 133 Heartland Institute June 2014
One can hardly open a newspaper or magazine without finding a story about sustainable development, sustainable business practices, or sustainability as an essential component of a company’s “corporate culture.” Companies and communities, hotels and restaurants, and even colleges and religious institutions extol their commitment to it. Sustainability underpins, drives, and justifies activist campaigns, United Nations conferences and initiatives, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) policies and programs. The National Research Council of the National Academies released a report in 2010 titled Sustainability and the U.S. EPA in which it proposed “sustainable development” as a new mission for the agency.
The report states:
Sustainable development ... raises questions that are not fully or directly addressed in U.S. law or policy, including how to define and control unsustainable patterns of production and consumption and how to encourage the development of sustainable communities, biodiversity protection, clean energy, environmentally sustainable economic development, and climate change controls. Each of these questions needs to be addressed across government agencies.Lisa Jackson, serving at the time as EPA administrator, said the report would help to usher in “the next phase of environmental protection” and the study’s findings would affect “every aspect” of EPA’s work. According to Jackson, this new central-planning framework would allow the agency to tackle diverse issues such as developing renewable fuels without affecting food supplies and clean water, or deployment of large-scale solar facilities without depleting rare or scarce minerals. To effect such change, EPA’s jurisdiction would necessarily penetrate even further into Americans’ daily lives, as the agency seeks to control every individual and corporate action that does not fit within its sustainability paradigm.
All of this raises several fundamental questions. What exactly is sustainability? What is – or isn’t
– sustainable? Who decides, and on what basis?..............
EPA’s commitment to sustainability and Agenda 21 goes back at least 20 years. According to a 1998 EPA notice, “TheSustainable Challenge Grant Program is also a step in implementing Agenda 21, the Global Plan of Action on Sustainable Development, signed by the United States at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. All of these programs require broad community participation to identify and address environmental issues.
Through the Sustainable Challenge Grant Program, EPA also intends to further the vision and goals of the President’s Council on Sustainable Development (PCSD) created in 1993 by President Clinton.” This “wrenching transformation” is already being implemented, and through EPA programs............To Read More.....Much More......