Copyright 1999 Federal News Service, Inc.
Federal News Service
OCTOBER 28, 1999, THURSDAY
SECTION: IN THE NEWS
HEADLINE: PREPARED TESTIMONY OF
NATIONAL MINING ASSOCIATION
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES
SUBCOMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND
SUBJECT - THE WORLD HERITAGE COMMITTEE
AND THE NEW
AN INSTRUMENT OF MANIPULATION, MISCHIEF
members of the committee, I am Richard L. Lawson, the president of the National
Mining Association. Our members are the enterprises that deliver to public use
most of the basic material resources required to uphold and strengthen America
in daily life -the miners and producers of coal, metals and useful minerals; and
the manufacturers of their equipment; and the suppliers of goods and services.
This committee is performing a public service of the first order in bringing
into first public knowledge and into its only open discussion an international
policy proposal of national and global importance. The governing apparatus of
the World Heritage Convention of the United Nations is poised as you hear me
today to take up next month a no- mining policy.
Yet until this moment the
policy scarcely could have been moved forward with less notice had stealth and
stratagem been the principal implementing strategy of its proponents.
United States and other signatories will be pressured intensely to use it
vigorously in the guise of further protecting already protected areas by
everwidening areas of control. The argument of moral obligation will be made.
Indeed, some recent mine-related interpretations of policy in the Department
of the Interior seem outwardly to conform to the international proposal,
including the new policy directive on millsites.Yet the scope,
intent and origins of the convention's no- mining policy have yet to be
submitted by the moving parties for public examination. They have not been
explained or justified as representative democracy requires - not so much as
mentioned by participant agencies of the U.S. government.
The U.S. contains
a major portion of the world's mineable resources, a major share of the world's
natural sites with a Heritage designation, and a major number of the areas
categorized for protection in the world - well over 1,800 in all. U.N. documents
list about 426,000 square miles of the U.S. as so protected.
The U.S. mining
industry is a major producer and major participant in world markets for most of
the material resources and energy required to uphold modern life. It is the
world's most efficient and the most technologically adept at environmental
protection and remediation. Such a policy would affect present and future
Yet the U.S. mining industry has been neither advised nor consulted
nor offered the opportunity to participate in the activities that led to this
-- Not by the convention or the governing committee;
-- Not by
the committee's bureau nor the affiliate from which the policy comes, the
International Union for the Conservation of Nature;
-- Not by the U.S.
Department of State, which takes a bystander's role;
-- And not by the U.S.
Department of the Interior as a result either of U.S. participation in the
convention's governing apparatus or its membership participation in the
International Union for the Conservation of Nature, called the IUCN.
the IUCN's posted criteria specifically exclude from membership and
participation any entities it adjudges not in accord with its beliefs and
objectives. Admitted to IUCN participation are such as the World Resources
Institute, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Environmental Defense
Fund, the Sierra Club, the Defenders of Wildlife and the World Wildlife Fund.
It is true that the World Heritage Convention cannot require compliance. It
is equally true that organizations of the kind I just mentioned are likely to
wage campaigns of pressure and opinion and, possibly, litigation to make
no-mining a formal policy. It will be wielded as a weapon when a mine is
The danger is that a no-mining policy quickly will be made to
function as the following:
-- As a de facto and acquiesced-to obligation of
the Government of the United States - a moral obligation;
-- As a policy,
even though it has not been authorized by any act of the Congress of the United
-- As a sanctioned regulatory practice, even though imposed in ways
and by means that ignore the universally accepted practices of good government
as set down in the Administrative Procedures Act;
-- As the regulatory
equivalent of a law even though there can be no proper judicial review or appeal
as provided for by the Constitution;
-- And finally, it will be used and
abused in campaigns to nullify and override by intimidation and the distortion
of opinion the proper decisions of duly elected, representative governments
-local, state, and federal.
The ultimate results of a no-mining policy may
-- The needless removal of vast resources from public use and
benefit- a crude kind of rationing;
-- Higher prices than necessary for
energy, goods and services;
-- Distortion of world markets for energy and
-- Strains on the national and global economic security;
-- And increased demands for the commitment of U.S. National Security forces
to keep world affairs stable.
In sum: The World Heritage Committee's
no-mining policy is an instrument of manipulation, mischief and
I urge you to do all in your power to ensure that it
falls back into the mists of vagueness and obscurity from which it arose. It
shows cause for the enactment of the American Land Sovereignty Act before the
106th Congress adjourns.
And it suggests the Congress could
constructively inquire into the functions and the relationships of the IUCN and
the Department of the Interior and the groups such as those named. The written
testimony touches on this in more detail.
Thank you for your attention.
The written testimony will proceed as follows:
-- Section 1: The Origins
and the Originators of the No Mining Policy;
-- Section 2: The Policy's
Potential for Manipulation, Mischief and Maladministration;
-- Section 3:
Has Anybody Asked the Secretary of the Interior What He Thinks?; -- Section 4:
Due Process of What?...The Dangers of Single-Concern Policies.
Origins and Originators of the No-mining Policy:
The bureaucratic apparatus
and the governing committee of the World Heritage Convention have taken up on
their own initiative a proposal to restrict mining worldwide -in essence a
no-mining policy to impose expansive new buffer zones for its already protected
sites and, possibly, buffer zones for the buffer zones in ripples and waves of
outward expansion as whim dictates.
The World Heritage Convention is a
treaty to which the U.S. is signatory. The convention and its governing
committee and the bureaucratic apparatus through which it executes its functions
are part of the United Nations' Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization - called UNESCO.
The convention arose and was placed within
UNESCO in large part through the activities of the International Union for the
Conservation of Nature - called the IUCN.
In the formal bureaucratic
apparatus of the convention the sponsoring body (the IUCN) also functions as the
technical arm on natural sites of the governing committee - functions as the
advisor and the evaluator of signatory compliance with the directives of the
governing committee and the convention.
It is from and though the IUCN that
the World Heritage Convention's nomining policy arises.
In IUCN press
releases the president of the union has referred to it as - and I quote
directly- "the world's largest environmental organization." When a new director
general was named in 1998 she promised to be "activist...to set milestones and
accelerate concrete action."
The IUCN is a hybrid organization. Its
practices, priorities and policies are set by representatives of many
governments, many nature- oriented professional organizations, and much of what
we have come to recognize as the professional green lobby - the so-called public
interest groups that want to reorganize and reshape societies rather than
protect the environment. The IUCN also sponsored the sustainable- development
concept, which is embedded in the convention's proposal by indirect reference.
The posted criteria for membership in the IUCN say that members must prove
to the IUCN the following - must prove!
-- That their activities do not
conflict with IUCN;
-- That they share and support the objectives of the
-- That they have a substantial record of activity suitable to the
-- And that they have as a central purpose the achievement of IUCN's
mission.U.S. government participation in the IUCN is chiefly in the hands of the
Department of the Interior.
Last July in Paris the meeting of the Bureau of
the World Heritage Committee quietly put the policy on the agenda for the
November- December meeting in Morocco of the governing body - did so with little
discussion and minimal explanation.
Records say that in calling up the
policy the chairman took note that mines are involved in several on-going
disagreements between the convention's governing apparatus and nations that are
signatory to the agreement. In general in these matters the committee is
threatening to formally find the sites as "in danger" unless the member
governments quash mines. The members insist the projects meet all environmental
requirements and are no danger to the sites.
The report of the meeting says
the purposes of the policy are as follows:
-- To communicate to signatories
a clear position; -- To give them a global framework of criteria and
classification to use in assessing what kinds of additional land should be
closed to mining;
-- And to give them a system that focuses on area
management rather than site protection.
They chose as the template, or
"working document," for this the pre- existing standards and guidelines set down
by a constituent body of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
- called the Policy on Mining and Associated Activities in Relation to Protected
Areas of the World Commission on Protected Areas.
The World Heritage-lUCN
no-mining policy deals with all activities of exploration and extraction "in and
adjacent to" the areas, and holds that neither exploration nor extraction is
compatible with management objectives in four of the proposal's six protected
categories. It places severe limits on mining in the other two.
document says that mining and exploration should be "prohibited by law or other
effective means" in each of the four forbidden categories. Keep in mind the
phrase "other effective means" as it relates to mining in the United States. The
testimony will return to it in a moment.
The Heritage bureau's report
suggests the need for a policy was first mentioned in 1998.
there was a World Heritage team involved in the Incident at Yellowstone National
Park in 1995. This team used words, phrases and concepts from the policy in its
public comments and findings. In this incident a company with valid permits and
environmentally sound methods was coercedinto giving up a plan to mine - to mine
not in the park but at a site several miles removed from the park.
of the IUCN suggest the guidelines, the categories and the criteria have been
around at least since 1994.
The Yellowstone team from World Heritage had
with it a representative of the IUCN. The committee was invited to investigate
by a group of groups in the American green lobby. The invitation was extended by
the National Parks and Conservation Association, the Natural Resources Defense
Council, the World Wildlife Fund and others.
Coincidentally, the IUCN office
for the U.S. lists among its participants the following: The National Parks and
Conservation Association, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the World
Wildlife Fund, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Sierra Club, the World
Resources Institute and more than 25 others.
2. The Potential for
Manipulation, Mischief and Mal-administration:
This policy arises from a
world of facades, shadows and intellectual inbreeding. Competing requirements
and contrary opinion are simply excluded from membership and participation as
the right-thinkers, the true-believers and the enlightened design and impose
from above the restrictions they want - do so where they want, do so when they
want and do so without the inconvenience of due process.
want to set up a controversy and to build pressure for political change simply
call in a so-called outside and objective authority such as the World Heritage
Committee to evaluate whatever it is they don't like. Then the evaluation is
made and the recommendations moved forward according to criteria that was
profoundly influenced by those who called in the evaluators in the first place.
The circumstances and the participants suggest that one early use of a World
Heritage no-mining policy could be to bring increased and renewed pressure
against the multiple-use policies of the United States government - that such
capability could well be an unstated reason for, and goal of, this new policy.
Imagine some of the possible headlines - headlines such as:
Heritage Body Condemns U.S. Land Policy;
-- World Heritage Panel Says U.S.
Fails to Meet Treaty Obligations;
-- World Heritage Ca/Is on Congress to
Change U.S. Land Law;,
-- Congress Defies World Body to Help Special
-- NRDC Says Heritage Report Shows U.S. Shirks Duty to Americans;
-- And so on and so on.3. Has Anybody Asked the Secretary of the Interior
What He Thinks?
Circumstances also suggest that in at least four instances
since 1995 the Secretary or the Department could have made at least passing
reference to these same guidelines in quashing by administrative action
otherwise valid or previously permissible activity:
The instances are as
-- In 1996, in Utah, the Escalante Canyons Expropriation by the
-- In 1997, in Georgia, the Okefenokee Intervention by the
Secretary; -- In 1998, in Missouri, the Secretary's refusal-by-exhaustion of
exploration permits in the vicinity of the Ozark River;
-- And this year, in
Washington, the Secretary has attempted to quash an otherwise valid mine by
fostering a reinterpretation of the law and practice governing
How do these acts fit the IUCN categories and
the 1997 United Nations List of Protected Areas as maintained by the World
Conservation Monitoring Center? by the way, the center's web page says it was
established by the IUCN, the World Wide Fund for Nature and the United Nations
The center lists the Escalante Canyons area a
category #3 natural monument, one that must be closed to exploration and mining
by law or "other effective means." When it looked like mining might go forward,
it was closed by executive order. Most effective.
The Okefenokee Swamp is
both a federal wilderness and a wildlife refuge. In 1997 a company attempted to
move ahead with plans to mine outside the park but near a boundary. The
wilderness area is category #1 and the refuge category #3, both of which the
IUCN says must be closed to exploration and mining by law or by "other effective
The IUCN's policy statement explains that: "The World Commission on
Protected Areas...believes that exploration and extraction of mineral resources
are incompatible with the purposes of protected areas..."
The Secretary went
suddenly to Georgia with the press in tow to personally scold and intimidate the
proposers. Reports say he condemned the proposal as "not compatible" with the
neighboring ecosystem. He promised an extensive and protracted regulatory and
legal fight, which might qualify as another effective means.
refuge also is on the list of nomination-ready World Heritage sites.In Missouri
a company sought permits to explore in the already-mined Mark Twain National
Forest in the vicinity of the Ozark River. After interpretations and
reinterpretations of law and policy, and involvement by the Secretary, the
company gave up.
The Ozark is a category #3 national scenic river - prohibit
"exploration and extraction" by law or "other effective means."
The State of
Washington mine that is the focus of the millsite controversy
is in a Congressional District that contains at least a dozen categorized
places, many of them in the protect categories to be closed to exploration and
mining by law or "other effective means."
However, the Secretary very well
may not have known of the policy or the categories or the directive to forbid by
law or by "other effective means."
It is an area into which Congress could
constructively inquire - this and interactions and the functions involving IUCN
and the Department of the Interior and its representations in behalf of the
overall interests of the United States.
4. Due Process of What?...The
Dangers of Single-Concern Policies:
The United States is a representative
democracy. Through argument and discussion and hearings such as this where all
with an interest are heard, we arrive at balanced policies based on the
requirements of the Nation and the wellbeing of the people. The governed have
the opportunity to give shape to their government.
The World Heritage
apparatus is a non-representative authority and has but a single purpose. Its
technical advisory body excludes all who don't agree. Such bodies are limited by
the experts and the advocates of causes who guide them. Their world is
self-limited. Their concerns, passions, beliefs, theories and, ultimately, whims
predominate. They may have little working knowledge of other matters - knowledge
or concern. They may scorn other matters.
Often dismissed as parochial in
these circles are things such as jobs and economic stability and national
security -the multitude of things that a representative government such as this
one this must balance.
In the years that the IUCN policy and categories have
existed, in the time they have been moving forward as a probable requirement of
the World Heritage Convention, the U.S mining industry has been neither advised
nor consulted nor offered the opportunity to participate:
-- Not by the
convention or the governing committee;
-- Not by the committee's bureau or
the affiliate IUCN;
-- Not by the U.S. Department of State, which takes a
bystander's role;And not by the U.S. Department of the Interior either as a
result of U.S. participation in the convention's governing apparatus or its
membership in the IUCN.
Yet the U.S. mining industry is the world's most
efficient and the most technologically adept at environmental protection and
remediation. We seek to make the industry even more adept at resolving concerns
such as those professed by the World Heritage Convention though the Mining
Industry of the Future program.
It is true that the World Heritage
Convention cannot require compliance. It is equally true that many of the 33
members of the professional green lobby on the rolls of IUCN-US are likely to
wage campaigns of pressure and opinion and, possibly, litigation to coerce
acquiescence and compliance.
There are two chief dangers in the World
Heritage proposal for the United States - the second flowing from the first.
The first is that such a policy may come to override the balance of
representative government - that it will be made to be seen and to function as
-- As a de facto obligation of the Government of the United
States - a moral obligation;
-- As a policy, even though it has not been
authorized by any act of the Congress of the United States;
-- As a
sanctioned regulatory practice, even though imposed in ways and by means that
ignore the universally accepted practices of good government as set down in the
Administrative Procedures Act;
-- As the regulatory equivalent of a law even
though there can be no proper judicial review or appeal as provided for by the
-- And, finally, that it will be used and abused in campaigns
to nullify and override by intimidation and distortion of opinion the proper
decisions of duly elected, representative governments -local, state, and
The second danger is to economic stability and National Security if
balance is overridden.
The U.S. contains a major portion of the world's
mineable resources, a major portion of the world's natural sites with the World
Heritage designation, and a major portion of the world's internationally
categorized protected areas.
The U.S. mining industry is a major producer
and a major participant in world markets for most of the material resources and
the energy required to uphold modern life. In the world we are first, second, or
third in production of nine important metals and 18 important minerals and coal.
Coal delivers of most ofthe nation's electric power. Low- cost electric power
upholds U.S. competitiveness in the global economy. We are otherwise significant
producers of many additional material resources.
The U.S. presence in world
markets does much to keep those markets and the price of resources in balance,
especially energy markets. The balance is a function of both reserve position
and industry capability.
There are 22 World Heritage sites in the U.S. and
at least 65 more on the Department of the Interior's list of potential
nominations. There are 1,800 sites covering 246,000 square miles in 48 states of
the United States on the official list of classified, categorized and protected
places. The list includes state and federal holdings. Only Rhode Island and
Connecticut have no listings.
To compare: 426,000 square miles is a little
more than the combined land area of Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom with
Bosnia- Herzegovina and Croatia mixed in just to come close.
America's reserves of metals and minerals and coal are in the West. So too are
many of the listed Heritage sites, of the potential Heritage sites, and of the
1,800 categorized places.
The ultimate results of such a no-mining policy
might well include:
-- The needless removal of vast resources from public
use and benefit- a crude kind of rationing;
-- Higher prices than necessary
for energy, for goods, and for services;
-- Distortion of world markets for
energy and important material resources;
-- Strains on the national and
global economic security;
-- And increased demands for the commitment of
U.S. National Security forces to keep world affairs stable.
To sum up: The
World Heritage Committee's no-mining policy is an instrument for manipulation,
mischief and mal-administration. It arises from cozy and closed relationships
that usefully could be dragged into the light of day and thoroughly examined.
Until this moment this policy scarcely could have moved forward with less
notice had stealth and stratagem been the principle implementing strategy of the
proponents - whoever they are.
Chairman Cubin, members of the committee, for
the public record, it is the belief of the National Mining Association that you
have performed a public service of the first order by bringing to first public
knowledge and open discussion a policy proposal of national and international
LOAD-DATE: October 30, 1999