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106th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                    106-142

======================================================================



 
                AMERICAN LAND SOVEREIGNTY PROTECTION ACT

                                _______
                                

  May 13, 1999.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

_______________________________________________________________________


  Mr. Young of Alaska, from the Committee on Resources, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 883]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on Resources, to whom was referred the bill 
(H.R. 883) to preserve the sovereignty of the United States 
over public lands and acquired lands owned by the United 
States, and to preserve State sovereignty and private property 
rights in non-Federal lands surrounding those public lands and 
acquired lands, having considered the same, report favorably 
thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    H.R. 883 will restore the Constitutional role of Congress 
in managing lands belonging to the United States, preserve the 
sovereignty of the United States over these lands, and protect 
State sovereignty and private property rights in non-federal 
lands adjacent to federal lands.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    The American Land Sovereignty Protection Act (H.R. 883) 
asserts the Constitutional power of Congress over management 
and use of lands belonging to the United States. Under Article 
IV, section 3 of the United States Constitution, the power to 
make all needful rules and regulations governing lands 
belonging to the United States is vested in Congress. Yet over 
the last 25 years, an increasing expanse of our nation's public 
lands have been included in various international land use 
programs, most notably United Nations Biosphere Reserves and 
World Heritage Sites, with virtually no Congressional oversight 
or approval. The international agreement covering World 
Heritage Sites, for example, largely leaves Congress out of the 
nomination process.
    United Nations World Heritage Sites, Ramsar Sites and 
Biosphere Reserves are under the jurisdiction of the United 
Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization 
(UNESCO). World Heritage Sites and Ramsar Sites are recognized 
by UNESCO under ``The Convention Concerning Protection of the 
World Cultural and Natural Heritage'' (World Heritage 
Convention) and ``The Convention on Wetlands of International 
Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat'' (Ramsar 
Convention), respectively. Biosphere Reserves are part of the 
U.S. Man and Biosphere Program which operates in conjunction 
with a worldwide program under UNESCO. The U.S. Man and 
Biosphere Program is not authorized by Congress and has no 
legislative direction. Over 68 percent of the land in our 
national parks, preserves and monuments have been designated as 
United Nations World Heritage Sites, Biosphere Reserves or 
both. Biosphere Reserves alone cover an area about the size of 
Colorado, our eighth largest state. There are now 47 UNESCO 
Biosphere Reserves, 20 World Heritage Sites and 16 Ramsar Sites 
in the United States.
    In becoming a party to these international land use 
agreements through Executive Branch action, the United States 
may be indirectly agreeing to terms of international treaties, 
such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, to which the 
United States is not a party or which the United States Senate 
has refused to ratify. For example, The Seville Strategy for 
Biosphere Reserves recommends that participating countries 
``integrate biosphere reserves in strategies for biodiversity 
conservation and sustainable use, in plans for protected areas, 
and in the national biodiversity strategies and action plans 
provided for in Article 6 of the Convention on Biological 
Diversity.'' Furthermore, the Strategic Plan for the U.S. 
Biosphere Reserve Program published in 1994 by the U.S. State 
Department states that a goal of the U.S. Biosphere Reserve 
Program is to ``create a national network of biosphere reserves 
that represents the biogeographical diversity of the United 
States and fulfills the internationally established roles and 
functions of biosphere reserves.''
    Also disturbing is that designation of Biospheres and World 
Heritage Sites rarely involve consulting the public and local 
governments. At the five hearings held on the American Land 
Sovereignty Protection Act since the 104th Congress, state and 
local elected officials as well as grassroots citizen activists 
from Alaska, Arkansas, Missouri, Minnesota, New Mexico and New 
York testified that no one consulted with the public or local 
governments when international land designations were made in 
their states. The domestic designation process for World 
Heritage Sites and Biosphere Reserves is so controversial that 
the Alaska, Colorado and Montana state legislatures have passed 
resolutions in support of the American Land Sovereignty 
Protection Act. In addition, the Kentucky State Senate recently 
passed a resolution opposing creation of any biosphere reserves 
within Kentucky and supporting the concepts embodied in this 
legislation.
    In fact, UNESCO policy apparently discourages an open 
nomination process for World Heritage Sites. The Operational 
Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage 
Convention state:

          In all cases, as to maintain the objectivity of the 
        evaluation process and to avoid possible embarrassment 
        to those concerned, State [national] parties should 
        refrain from giving undue publicity to the fact that a 
        property has been nominated * * * pending the final 
        decision of the Committee of the nomination in 
        question. Participation of the local people in the 
        nomination process is essential to make them feel a 
        shared responsibility with the State party in the 
        maintenance of the site, but should not prejudice 
        future decision-making by the committee.

    By allowing these international land use designations, the 
United States promises to protect designated areas and regulate 
surrounding lands if necessary to protect the designated site. 
Honoring these international agreements could force the federal 
government to prohibit or limit some uses of private lands 
inside or outside the designated reserve unless our country 
wants to break a pledge to other nations. At a minimum, this 
puts U.S. land policy-makers in an awkward position.
    Federal regulatory actions could cause a significant 
adverse impact on the value of private property and on the 
local and regional economy. The involvement of the World 
Heritage Committee (WHC) in the National Environmental Policy 
Act review process for the New World Mine Project near 
Yellowstone National Park, a World Heritage Site, exemplifies 
this problem. The New World mine project is outside of the 
boundary of Yellowstone National Park and is not included in 
the World Heritage Site. In fact, nearly all of the proposed 
minesite is located on private property, and U.S. law (16 
U.S.C. 470a-1(c)) prohibits including any non-federal property 
within a U.S. World Heritage Site without the consent of the 
owner.
    The fact that the proposed project was not a part of the 
Yellowstone World Heritage Site did not prevent the WHC from 
holding a ``hearing'' on the project. Creation of a buffer 
zone, possibly ten times as large as the Park, was suggested by 
at least one member of the WHC. However, by excluding the 
federal lands on which a small part of the New World Mine 
Project lies from an adjoiningwilderness area, Congress had 
already determined not to create such a buffer zone and to make these 
lands available for multiple uses, including mining.
    It is clear from this example, that at best, World Heritage 
Site and Biosphere Reserve designations give the international 
community an open invitation to interfere in U.S. domestic land 
use decisions. More seriously, these international agreements 
potentially have several significant adverse effects on the 
American system of government. Domestic land use policy-making 
authority is further centralized at the federal/Executive 
Branch level, and the role that ordinary citizens have in the 
making of this policy through their elected representatives is 
diminished. The Executive Branch may also invoke these 
international agreements in an attempt to administratively 
achieve an action within the jurisdiction of Congress, but 
without consulting Congress. The current framework for 
implementing the World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve 
programs has eaten away at the power and sovereignty of the 
Congress to exercise its constitutional power to make the laws 
that govern U.S.-owned land.
    Perhaps the most serious problem with international 
agreements, such as the World Heritage Convention, is that the 
international bodies which administer them do not represent the 
American people and cannot be held accountable by them. In a 
May 5, 1999, letter to Congressman Bruce Vento, former U.N. 
Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick says it best:

          In U.N. organizations, there is no accountability. 
        U.N. bureaucrats are far removed from the American 
        voters. Many of the States Parties in the World 
        Heritage Treaty are not democracies. Some come from 
        countries that do not allow the ownership of private 
        property. The World Heritage and Man and the Biosphere 
        committees make decisions affecting the land and lives 
        of Americans. Some of these decisions are made by 
        representatives chosen by governments not based on 
        democratic representation, certainly not on the 
        representation of Americans. What recourse does an 
        American voter have when U.N. bureaucrats from Cuba or 
        Iraq or Libya (all of which are parties to this Treaty) 
        have made a decision that unjustly damages his or her 
        property rights that lie near a national park?

                            Committee Action

    H.R. 883 was introduced on March 1, 1999, by Congressman 
Don Young (R-AK) along with 125 original cosponsors. The bill 
was referred to the Committee on Resources.
    On March 18, 1999, the Committee held a legislative hearing 
in Washington, D.C., on H.R. 883. A total of 13 witnesses 
testified. Ten witnesses, including the Hon. Jeane J. 
Kirkpatrick, Ambassador to the U.N. during President Reagan's 
administration, testified. Ambassador Kirkpatrick said that 
Congress should not cede its Constitutional powers and 
responsibilities to a global organization in which affected 
Americans have no representation. Dr. Jeremy Rabkin, a 
professor in the Department of Government at Cornell 
University, discussed the Constitutional problems with 
international agreements such as the Convention Concerning 
Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. Other 
witnesses which testified in support of H.R. 883 include a 
former mining executive associated with the New World Project, 
an Arizona rancher, a representative from the Concerned Women 
for America, and a representative from a labor organization. 
Witnesses for the Department of State and the Department of the 
Interior testified against H.R. 883. A representative from a 
historical preservation group also spoke against the bill.
    On May 1, 1999, the Committee held a field legislative 
hearing in Rolla, Missouri, on H.R. 883. Twelve witnesses 
testified including a county commissioner, representatives from 
several state and local property rights groups, representatives 
from labor and business trade associations and concerned 
citizens. All of the witnesses testified in favor of H.R. 883. 
Three environmental groups were invited to testify at this 
hearing, but they declined the invitations.
    Many of the witnesses at the Rolla hearing spoke first-hand 
about their recent experience with the Biosphere Reserve 
nomination process associated with the ill-fated Ozark 
Highlands Man and Biosphere proposal. All of the witnesses said 
that neither the public at large nor local governments had any 
meaningful input into the development of this proposal. In 
fact, most people in southern Missouri were unaware that such a 
proposal was even being developed.
    On May 5, 1999, the Full Resources Committee met to 
consider H.R. 883. The bill was ordered favorably reported 
without amendment to the House of Representatives by a 
bipartisan roll call vote of 26-14, as follows:


                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title

    This section states that the Act may be cited as the 
``American Land Sovereignty Protection Act''.

Section 2. Findings and purpose

    Section 2 makes eight findings which basically state that: 
(1) the constitutional power to make rules and regulations 
governing lands belonging to the United States lies with 
Congress; (2) actions in creating lands with international 
designations may affect the use and value of nearby or 
intermixed non-federal lands; and (3) actions by the President 
in applying international designations to lands owned by the 
United States may conflict with Congressional Constitutional 
responsibilities.
    This section further states that the purpose of H.R. 883 is 
to assert the power of Congress over the management and use of 
lands belonging to the United States, to protect State powers 
not reserved to the federal government, and to ensure that no 
United States citizen suffers any diminishment or loss of 
individual rights or private property rights as a result of 
federal actions designating lands pursuant to international 
agreements.

Section 3. Clarification of congressional role in World Heritage Site 
        listing

    Section 3 amends the National Historic Preservation Act to 
compel the Secretary of Interior to require the legislative 
consent of Congress to any nomination of a property located in 
the United States for inclusion on the World Heritage List 
pursuant to the Convention Concerning the Protection of the 
World Cultural and Natural Heritage. The Secretary may not 
nominate a property until the Secretary makes a finding that 
existing commercially viable uses of the nominated land or land 
within ten miles of the nomination will not be adversely 
affected by inclusion on the World Heritage List, and must 
submit a report to Congress describing the impacts that 
inclusion on the World Heritage List would have on the natural 
resources associated with these lands. The Secretary is also 
required to obtain Congressional approval before assenting to 
the designation of any United States site on the World Heritage 
List as a Site in Danger under the World Heritage Convention. 
The Secretary must submit an annual report to Congress 
providing specified information on each World Heritage site 
within the United States.

Section 4. Prohibition and termination of unauthorized United Nations 
        Biosphere Reserves

    Section 4 amends the National Historic Preservation Act to 
prohibit federal officials from nominating any land in the 
United States for designation as a Biosphere Reserve. Existing 
United States Biosphere Reserves are terminated unless: (1) the 
Biosphere Reserve is specifically authorized in subsequently 
enacted law by December 31, 2000; (2) the designated Biosphere 
Reserve entirely consists of lands owned by the United States; 
and (3) a management plan for the Biosphere Reserve has been 
implemented which specifically provides for the protection of 
non-federal property rights anduses. The Secretary of State is 
to submit an annual report to Congress providing specified information 
on each Biosphere Reserve in the United States.

Section 5. International agreements in general

    Section 5 amends the National Historic Preservation Act to 
prohibit federal officials from designating any land in the 
United States for a special or restricted use under any 
international agreement unless such designation is specifically 
approved by law. ``International agreement'' means any treaty, 
compact, executive agreement, convention, or bilateral 
agreement between the United States and any foreign entity or 
agency of any foreign entity, having a primary purpose of 
conserving, preserving, or protecting the terrestrial or marine 
environment, flora, or fauna. The amendments made by this 
section do not apply to agreements established under the North 
American Wetlands Conservation Act, and conventions referred to 
in section 3(h)(3) of the Fish and Wildlife Improvement Act of 
1978.
    Lands owned by State or local governments may not be 
included within the boundaries of any area designated for a 
special or restricted use under any international agreement 
unless the designation is approved by a law enacted by the 
State or local government, respectively.
    No privately owned lands may be included within the 
boundaries of any area designated for a special or restricted 
use under any international agreement unless the owner of the 
property concurs with such action in writing.

Section 6. Clerical amendment

    This section updates a reference to the Committee on 
Resources in the National Historic Preservation Act Amendments 
of 1980.

            Committee Oversight Findings and Recommendations

    With respect to the requirements of clause 2(l)(3) of rule 
XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives, and clause 
2(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of Representatives, 
the Committee on Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    Article I, section 8 and Article IV, section 3 of the 
Constitution of the United States grant Congress the authority 
to enact H.R. 883.

                     Compliance With House Rule XI

    1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and 
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be 
incurred in carrying out this bill. However, clause 3(d)(3)(B) 
of that rule provides that this requirement does not apply when 
the Committee has included in its report a timely submitted 
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974.
    2. Congressional Budget Act. As required by clause 3(c)(2) 
of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, this 
bill does not contain any new budget authority, spending 
authority, credit authority, or an increase or decrease in 
revenues or tax expenditures.
    3. Government Reform Oversight Findings. Under clause 
3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives, the Committee has received no report of 
oversight findings and recommendations from the Committee on 
Government Reform on this bill.
    4. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate. Under clause 
3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives and section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act 
of 1974, the Committee has received the following cost estimate 
for this bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                       Washington, DC, May 7, 1999.
Hon. Don Young,
Chairman, Committee on Resources,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed costs estimate for H.R. 883, the American 
Land Sovereignty Protection Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Deborah Reis.
            Sincerely,
                                          Barry B. Anderson
                                    (For Dan L. Crippen, Director).
    Enclosure.

H.R. 883--American Land Sovereignty Protection Act

    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 883 would have no 
significant impact on the federal budget. The bill would not 
affect direct spending or receipts; therefore, pay-as-you-go 
procedures would not apply. H.R. 883 contains no private-sector 
or intergovernmental mandates as defined in the Unfunded 
Mandates Reform Act and would not affect the budgets of state, 
local, or tribal governments.
    H.R. 883 would prohibit any federal official from 
nominating or designating any federal land for a special or 
restricted use under any international agreement unless 
specifically authorized by law, with certain exceptions. 
Moreover, the bill would make ineffective the designation of 
any area in the United States under such agreements unless the 
designation is specifically authorized either by written 
permission from the landowner (for private property), or by 
state or local law (for property owned by such governments). 
Designations of federal land would be ineffective as well, 
unless authorized by federal legislation enacted after 
enactment of H.R. 883 but before December 31, 2000. These 
provisions would affect designations of land under programs 
such as the World Heritage List and the Man and Biosphere 
Program of the United Nations. H.R. 883 would require the 
Secretaries of State and the Interior to submit annual reports 
to the Congress on each site designated under these programs. 
In addition, before nominating any federal property for the 
World Heritage List, the Secretary of the Interior would have 
to report to the Congress on the area's natural resources and 
the effects that the listing would have on existing or future 
uses of the site or other lands within a 10-mile range.
    CBO estimates that the Department of State and the 
Department of the Interior (DOI) would incur minor expenses to 
collect information (such as budget and staffing data by site) 
and to submit annual reports to the Congress. DOI also might 
incur some costs (for data gathering and reporting) if it 
chooses to nominate any sites for the World Heritage List, but 
we do not expect these to be significant. The bill would have 
no impact on other federal agencies.
    The CBO staff contact is Deborah Reis. This estimate was 
approved by Robert A. Sunshine, Deputy Assistant Director for 
Budget Analysis.

                    Compliance With Public Law 104-4

    H.R. 883 contains no unfunded mandates.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

 TITLE IV OF THE NATIONAL HISTORIC PRESERVATION ACT AMENDMENTS OF 1980


    TITLE IV--INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITIES AND WORLD HERITAGE CONVENTION

  Sec. 401. (a) [The Secretary]  Subject to subsections (b), 
(c), (d), and (e), the Secretary of the Interior shall direct 
and coordinate United States participation in the Convention 
Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural 
Heritage, approved by the Senate on October 26, 1973 (in this 
section referred to as the ``Convention''), in cooperation with 
the Secretary of State, the Smithsonian Institution, and the 
Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Whenever possible, 
expenditures incurred in carrying out activities in cooperation 
with other nations and international organizations shall be 
paid for in such excess currency of the country or area where 
the expense is incurred as may be available to the United 
States.
  (b) The Secretary of the Interior shall periodically nominate 
properties he determines are of international significance to 
the World Heritage Committee on behalf of the United States. No 
property may be so nominated unless it has previously been 
determined to be of national significance. Each such nomination 
shall include evidence of such legal protections as may be 
necessary to ensure preservation of the property and its 
environment (including restrictive covenants, easements, or 
other forms of protection). Before making any such nomination, 
the Secretary shall notify the [Committee on Natural Resources] 
Committee on Resources of the United States House of 
Representatives and the Committee on Energy and Natural 
Resources of the United States Senate.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (d)(1) The Secretary of the Interior may not nominate any 
lands owned by the United States for inclusion on the World 
Heritage List pursuant to the Convention, unless--
          (A) the Secretary finds with reasonable basis that 
        commercially viable uses of the nominated lands, and 
        commercially viable uses of other lands located within 
        10 miles of the nominated lands, in existence on the 
        date of the nomination will not be adversely affected 
        by inclusion of the lands on the World Heritage List, 
        and publishes that finding;
          (B) the Secretary has submitted to the Congress a 
        report describing--
                  (i) natural resources associated with the 
                lands referred to in subparagraph (A); and
                  (ii) the impacts that inclusion of the 
                nominated lands on the World Heritage List 
                would have on existing and future uses of the 
                nominated lands or other lands located within 
                10 miles of the nominated lands; and
          (C) the nomination is specifically authorized by a 
        law enacted after the date of enactment of the American 
        Land Sovereignty Protection Act and after the date of 
        publication of a finding under subparagraph (A) for the 
        nomination.
  (2) The President may submit to the Speaker of the House of 
Representatives and the President of the Senate a proposal for 
legislation authorizing such a nomination after publication of 
a finding under paragraph (1)(A) for the nomination.
  (e) The Secretary of the Interior shall object to the 
inclusion of any property in the United States on the list of 
World Heritage in Danger established under Article 11.4 of the 
Convention, unless--
          (1) the Secretary has submitted to the Speaker of the 
        House of Representatives and the President of the 
        Senate a report describing--
                  (A) the necessity for including that property 
                on the list;
                  (B) the natural resources associated with the 
                property; and
                  (C) the impacts that inclusion of the 
                property on the list would have on existing and 
                future uses of the property and other property 
                located within 10 miles of the property 
                proposed for inclusion; and
          (2) the Secretary is specifically authorized to 
        assent to the inclusion of the property on the list, by 
        a joint resolution of the Congress after the date of 
        submittal of the report required by paragraph (1).
  (f) The Secretary of the Interior shall submit an annual 
report on each World Heritage Site within the United States to 
the Chairman and Ranking Minority member of the Committee on 
Resources of the House of Representatives and of the Committee 
on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate, that contains 
for the year covered by the report the following information 
for the site:
          (1) An accounting of all money expended to manage the 
        site.
          (2) A summary of Federal full time equivalent hours 
        related to management of the site.
          (3) A list and explanation of all nongovernmental 
        organizations that contributed to the management of the 
        site.
          (4) A summary and account of the disposition of 
        complaints received by the Secretary related to 
        management of the site.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  Sec. 403. (a) No Federal official may nominate any lands in 
the United States for designation as a Biosphere Reserve under 
the Man and Biosphere Program of the United Nations 
Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.
  (b) Any designation on or before the date of enactment of the 
American Land Sovereignty Protection Act of an area in the 
United States as a Biosphere Reserve under the Man and 
Biosphere Program of the United Nations Educational, 
Scientific, and Cultural Organization shall not have, and shall 
not be given, any force or effect, unless the Biosphere 
Reserve--
          (1) is specifically authorized by a law enacted after 
        that date of enactment and before December 31, 2000;
          (2) consists solely of lands that on that date of 
        enactment are owned by the United States; and
          (3) is subject to a management plan that specifically 
        ensures that the use of intermixed or adjacent non-
        Federal property is not limited or restricted as a 
        result of that designation.
  (c) The Secretary of State shall submit an annual report on 
each Biosphere Reserve within the United States to the Chairman 
and Ranking Minority member of the Committee on Resources of 
the House of Representatives and the Committee on Energy and 
Natural Resources of the Senate, that contains for the year 
covered by the report the following information for the 
reserve:
          (1) An accounting of all money expended to manage the 
        reserve.
          (2) A summary of Federal full time equivalent hours 
        related to management of the reserve.
          (3) A list and explanation of all nongovernmental 
        organizations that contributed to the management of the 
        reserve.
          (4) A summary and account of the disposition of the 
        complaints received by the Secretary related to 
        management of the reserve.
  Sec. 404. (a) No Federal official may nominate, classify, or 
designate any lands owned by the United States and located 
within the United States for a special or restricted use under 
any international agreement unless such nomination, 
classification, or designation is specifically authorized by 
law. The President may from time to time submit to the Speaker 
of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate 
proposals for legislation authorizing such a nomination, 
classification, or designation.
  (b) A nomination, classification, or designation, under any 
international agreement, of lands owned by a State or local 
government shall have no force or effect unless the nomination, 
classification, or designation is specifically authorized by a 
law enacted by the State or local government, respectively.
  (c) A nomination, classification, or designation, under any 
international agreement, of privately owned lands shall have no 
force or effect without the written consent of the owner of the 
lands.
  (d) This section shall not apply to--
          (1) agreements established under section 16(a) of the 
        North American Wetlands Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. 
        4413); and
          (2) conventions referred to in section 3(h)(3) of the 
        Fish and Wildlife Improvement Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 
        712(2)).
  (e) In this section, the term ``international agreement'' 
means any treaty, compact, executive agreement, convention, 
bilateral agreement, or multilateral agreement between the 
United States or any agency of the United States and any 
foreign entity or agency of any foreign entity, having a 
primary purpose of conserving, preserving, or protecting the 
terrestrial or marine environment, flora, or fauna.

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

    H.R. 883 is unnecessary legislation which seeks to address 
a phantom problem of concern only to extremist, anti-
environmental groups. Similar dubious legislation has failed in 
two previous Congresses, and H.R. 883 deserves the same fate.
    H.R. 883 will require congressional authorization for any 
further participation in several voluntary international 
conservation programs. While we support responsible 
congressional oversight regarding these programs, this measure 
is an attempt to micro-manage and, in practical effect, 
preclude further U.S. participation in important conservation 
programs.
    The World Heritage Convention--proposed by the United 
States under the Nixon Administration--is an international 
agreement which encourages signatory countries to voluntarily 
nominate culturally or historically significant sites within 
their borders for inclusion on the list of World Heritage 
Sites. To be eligible for listing, the sites must already be 
protected under the laws of the host country and nothing in the 
Convention alters the ownership or use of these lands. Sites 
are nominated because they are already being protected, not the 
other way around.
    The Man and the Biosphere Program is a voluntary, 
cooperative program organized by the U.N. Educational, 
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the goal of 
which is to identify areas where entire ecosystems might be 
studied and then compared with similar ecosystems located in 
other countries. As with the World Heritage Convention, the Man 
and the Biosphere Program imposes no new land use restrictions 
and does not alter the ownership status of the land in any way.
    In addition to effectively ending U.S. participation in 
these two specific programs, H.R. 883 would require 
Congressional authorization before any U.S. lands could be 
nominated for ``special or restricted'' use under any 
``international agreement,'' the primary purpose of which is to 
conserve, preserve, or protect the ``terrestrial or marine 
environment, flora or fauna.'' As a result, the congressional 
approval mandate would also apply to a third agreement, the 
Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially 
as Waterfowl Habitat (known as the Ramsar Convention), and 
present a barrier to any future agreement.
    Rather than subjugating Americans to United Nations 
hegemony, these programs have worked for decades to establish 
the United States as a world leader in efforts to identify, 
protect and preserve important environmental and historical 
sites around the globe. This legislation will effectively 
withdraw the United States from these programs and send a 
signal around the world that we no longer value such 
conservation efforts.
    U.S. participation in these programs was a promise to other 
nations that we would continue our efforts to protect important 
sites within our own borders and an invitation for them to 
follow our example. H.R. 883 breaks that important promise and 
revokes that invitation. What's worse, this legislation takes 
these steps in an effort to capitalize on misguided xenophobia 
on behalf of interests which seek to weaken U.S. efforts to 
conserve public lands and resources.
                                   George Miller.
                                   Nick Rahall.
                                   Bruce Vento.
                                   Grace F. Napolitano.
                                   Frank Pallone.
                                   Adam Smith.
                                   Jay Inslee.


                            A P P E N D I X

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                                                       May 5, 1999.
Hon. Bruce F. Vento,
House of Representatives, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, 
        DC.
    Dear Mr. Vento: Thank you for your letters of March 24th 
and April 28th regarding my testimony before the House 
Resources Committee on the March 18th hearing of the American 
land Sovereignty Protection Act, H.R. 883. In my opinion the 
important issue here is protection of Americans' rights of 
democratic process. I sought to emphasize the dangers I see in 
Congress' waiving of its role and responsibilities over matters 
which fundamentally affect citizens of the United States and 
ceding that role and its associated powers to a global 
organization in which affected Americans have no 
representation.
    As I understand it, the proposed Act does nothing more than 
affirm Congressional role in the management of our public 
lands, a role mandated to it by the Constitution under Article 
IV, Section 3, which states: ``The Congress shall have Power to 
dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations 
respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the 
United States.'' I believe that is a clearly worded duty which 
Congress is bound by the Constitution to uphold.
    Your letter raises several questions concerning my 
testimony, each of which I have addressed below.

  I. Please explain the simultaneous decision to continue our active 
participation in the World Heritage Convention and the U.S. Man and the 
     Biosphere Program [after your support for the successful U.S. 
     withdrawal from UNESCO], both of which are coordinated at the 
                     international level by UNESCO.

    The United States' Permanent Representative to the United 
Nations oversees U.S. participation in many United Nations' 
programs and organizations, including aspects of U.S. 
participation in UNESCO. The World Heritage and Man and the 
Biosphere programs, however, were not among them when I held 
that job.
    As you know, the Department of the Interior has primary 
responsibility for the World Heritage and the Biosphere 
programs. The Department of the Interior, along with a federal 
interagency panel controls all aspects of these programs. No 
member of Congress is included on this panel. Neither was a 
United States' U.N. Ambassador when I held that position. The 
Code of Federal Regulations July 21, 1980 public notice of 
proposed U.S. World Heritage Nominations for 1981 states U.S. 
law at the time I was our UN Ambassador:

          ``In the United States, the Secretary of the Interior 
        is charged with implementing the provisions of the 
        Convention, including preparation of U.S. nominations. 
        Recommendations on the proposed nominations are made to 
        the Secretary by an interagency panel including members 
        from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Fish and 
        Wildlife and Parks, the Heritage Conservation and 
        Recreation Service, the National Park Service, and the 
        U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service within the Department of 
        the Interior; the President's Council on Environmental 
        Quality; the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; 
        and the Department of State.'' \1\ (Emphasis added).

    \1\ ``Proposed U.S. Work Heritage Nominations for 1981, Public 
Notice,'' 45 FR 48717, July 21, 1980. You will find the same language 
in each annual notice.

I was never included on the panel as the Department of State 
Representative. I was never invited to participate in any 
decisions concerning these programs.
    I raised the issue of the U.S. withdrawal from UNESCO to 
make a point: the UNESCO of the 1980's demonstrates quite well 
both an example of an incompetent and corrupt international 
organization and the nearly insurmountable obstacles of trying 
to reform it and hold it accountable. During my tenure as U.S. 
Ambassador, I sought to limit the proliferation and scope of 
U.N. based of international organizations which were 
accountable to no responsible, democratically elected 
government. This discussion serves to reinforce the point I was 
trying to make during my testimony, namely, that Congress 
should take an active role in the oversight of programs which 
impact private citizens in this country.

   II. [A]s you know, 7 of the 20 World Heritage Sites in the United 
States were listed as such during your tenure as our Ambassador to the 
    U.N. In your capacity as U.N. Ambassador, did you oppose these 
   nominations based on the fact that Congress had not specifically 
authorized these listings? At any point in your tenure, did you attempt 
     to have any existing designations withdrawn on the same basis?

    I refer you to my answer above. The Department of the 
Interior is charged with implementing the provisions of this 
program, not the United States' U.N. Representative's office. I 
had no role and I was not aware of the details of these 
programs. Now, however, that this issue has ripened, I believe 
it is time to restore Congress' proper role in this matter.

     III. ``Your prepared testimony * * * includes the statement, 
 `International Committees--whatever the substance of their decisions--
do not represent the American people and cannot be held accountable by 
them,' (emphasis added). It is accurate to conclude from this statement 
    that you believe specific Congressional authorization should be 
   required for U.S. participation in any program which involves an 
                     `international committee?' ''

    Obviously, these committees do not represent the American 
people. That is not their function. I want to be absolutely 
clear on this point. Only our representatives on those 
committees represent Americans. Obviously, the Cuban or Libyan 
delegates to these committees do not represent the American 
people and, in fact, often oppose American interests, 
regardless of the issue. Neither do the New Zealand--to take a 
country at random--or Brazil. The United States' Congress, on 
the other hand, is elected by and does, in fact, represent the 
American people. U.N. based committees, unlike Congress, are 
not accountable to the American people because they have not 
been elected by or chosen in any way by the American people. 
They do not represent and are not concerned with U.S. national 
interests nor the interests of U.S. citizens.
    In this democracy, the citizens grant powers to our elected 
leaders through our votes from the local and state levels up to 
the Congress and the Presidency. We give them the power to 
declare our lands national parks and the right to enact the 
laws that restrict our use of our properties. We give our duly 
elected leaders the authority to select the judges who will 
interpret those laws. Our elected leaders, in turn, respond to 
our wishes because, just as we have granted them power, so may 
we take it from them in the next election. Representation and 
accountability are the foundation of the freedoms we cherish. 
Having fought and won elections yourself, you know this 
principle well.
    In U.N. organizations, there is no accountability. U.N. 
bureaucrats are far removed from the American voters. Many of 
the States Parties in the WorldHeritage Treaty are not 
democracies. Some come from countries that do not allow the ownership 
of private property. The World Heritage and Man and the Biosphere 
committees made decisions affecting the land and lives of Americans. 
Some of these decisions are made by representatives chosen by 
governments not based on democratic representation, certainly not on 
the representation of Americans. What recourse does an American voter 
have when U.N. bureaucrats from Cuba or Iraq or Libya (all of which are 
parties to this Treaty) have made a decision that unjustly damages his 
or her property rights that lie near a national park? When the World 
Heritage committee's meddling has needlessly encumbered a private 
United States citizen's land and caused his or her property values to 
fall, that citizen's appeals to these committees (if that is even 
possible) will fall on deaf ears.
    As for your question ``Is it accurate to conclude from this 
statement that you believe specific Congressional authorization 
should be required for U.S. participation in any program which 
involves an `international committee?,''' my answer is, in any 
U.N. based committee which makes decisions that importantly 
affect American citizens. Speaking to the issue at hand, which 
is the requirement of congressional authorization of World 
Heritage and Biosphere site designations, I definitely believe 
congressional authorization should be required. Congressional 
role should be protected, I believe, should be required, in any 
process, any time the Constitution specifically places a duty 
on Congress to act. The question presented here is specific. 
The Constitution mandates congressional responsibility over 
public land management. The World Heritage and Biosphere 
programs directly impact the management of public and private 
lands in the United States. Congress should be involved.
    The Constitution grants and requires Congress' broad 
control over the management of the public lands. The Executive 
branch, through the Department of the Interior and in 
conjunction with the World Heritage and Man and the Biosphere 
programs (the ``international committees'' created by this 
Convention) should not be allowed to exercise Congress' 
constitutional authority.

     IV. ``Should Congressional authorization be required for any 
  international agreements/contracts which allow use of our national 
resources and public lands, such as mining or timber harvesting? If it 
is the case that your support for requiring Congressional authorization 
is limited only to those areas included in H.R. 883, please explain the 
 specific characteristics of ``international committees' dealing with 
       conservation which makes them particularly threatening?''

    First of all, as you know, any U.N. based agreements or 
contracts which allow use of our natural resources and public 
lands require various forms of authorization from our elected 
officials. In this particular case, the authorization must come 
from Congress. The Convention itself requires that ``the 
inclusion of a property in the World Heritage List requires the 
consent of the State governed.'' [Article II, Section 3] The 
State in question is the United States and its consent requires 
the consent of the people through their duly elected 
representatives in accordance with the Constitution. That means 
Congress, the body delegated the authority over land management 
by the Constitution. The ``American Land Sovereignty Protection 
Act'' is consistent with both U.S. and international law.
    In the second part of your question, you ask what are the 
specific characteristics of ``international committees' dealing 
with conservation which makes them particularly threatening?'' 
My answer is, those committees which affect substantial 
interests of U.S. citizens. If American citizens have an 
interest in the conservation of a particular area, that 
decision should be made by Congress, the body delegated 
responsibility by the Constitution for making these decisions 
in full view of the American public. And if each decision 
requires consideration of costs and benefits to the property 
rights of individual voters affected, so be it. UNESCO 
committees are not competent to address the complex private 
property and public interest issues presented here. They have 
no interest in how their actions affect private U.S. citizens. 
I believe Congress should not abdicate its responsibilities for 
land management to international groups whose members have no 
concern for protecting individual property rights and American 
interests.
            Sincerely,
                                              Jeane J. Kirkpatrick.