Citing conspiracy theories about “a one-world order,” the Arizona Tea Party is attempting to slip a bill through the legislature that could strip programs designed to help residents in the state become more energy efficient.
The bill’s sponsor, Arizona State Senator Judy Burges, says her goal is to wipe out any environmental program administered or funded by the government to prevent “social engineering … including where we live, what we eat.”
Burges’ bill, Senate Bill 1507, is based upon an unfounded conspiracy theory about “Agenda 21,” a non-binding international plan for environmentally-sustainable development crafted by the United Nations. The plan was adopted in 1992 by 178 countries, including the United States under the George H.W. Bush administration.
Burges and other members of the Tea Party believe that clean energy programs in Arizona are a plot by the United Nations to create a single world government in order to control people’s lives. AZ Central reported on SB 1507:
The bill would bar the state and Arizona counties and cities “from adopting or implementing the United Nations Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.”
Under the provisions of Burges’ bill, the state, counties and cities could not accept funds from, spend funds from or give funds to “certain non-governmental organizations,” including non-profit groups and contractors, for any of the declaration’s initiatives.
Wes Harris, a Phoenix resident and tea-party member, also testified with Burges, repeating theories about the declaration that have been floated among conservative organizations such as the John Birch Society, which refer to the declaration as “Agenda 21.”
Harris claimed the declaration “is an attempt to implement a one-world order. It’s been going on for 20 years. It has not been ratified by the U.S. Senate. It has been snuck around the back door by the Clinton administration.”
The Arizona conspiracy bill has already moved through the Senate, through a House committee, and is now set for discussion on the House floor. If passed by the House, the bill could block state and municipal programs that help home and business owners invest in energy efficiency improvements.
Chad Campbell, the Democratic House Minority Leader called the legislation “the most ludicrous … I’ve seen in six years…. You could pretty much shut down any form of government sustainability” program.
An onlooker with the Sierra Club called it “wacky.”
The bill was crafted through a “strike-everything” amendment, which allows a legislator to re-write an existing law with limited scrutiny. Burges has substituted language in an unemployment bill with the Agenda 21 wording that would severely limit Arizona’s ability to adopt efficiency and clean energy programs.
This isn’t the first conspiracy theory Judy Burges has been involved in. She is also a fierce “birther” who questions President Obama’s citizenship, despite being presented with a certificate of live birth.
Her previous attempts to pass legislation demanding Obama’s long form birth certificate have failed. But this latest conspiracy-laden bill actually has momentum in the Arizona legislature — threatening to derail the state’s valuable clean energy programs in the process.