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Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshot

Kansas State Bill Would "Ban" Sustainable Development

A Kansas state bill would prevent public funds from being used for sustainable development. Introduced into the House Energy and Environment Committee in February, the bill, HR 2366, would prevent public funds from being used "either directly or indirectly, to promote, support, mandate, require, order, incentivize, advocate, plan for, participate in or implement sustainable development." The prohibition would extend to "any activity by any state governmental entity or municipality."

The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Dennis Hedke (R) is also the chair of the House Energy and Environment Committee. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that he is a "contract geophysicist whose client list includes 30 regional oil and gas companies." The article quotes Hedke as saying that he introduced the bill at the request of some of his constituents. "I felt like it was a responsible thing to go ahead and let that debate perhaps come out," Hedke said.

The article also quotes another member of the Committee, Rep. Gail Finney (D) as saying that she hadn't been contacted by her constituents about a similar request. "I really haven’t heard of that being a problem."

Hedke sponsored other anti-environmental legislation

Hedke is the same Kansas state legislator who introduced legislation in February, House Bill 2306, that mandates teachers must provide students with information that counters scientific theories. Specifically, the bill states that teachers must "provide information to students of scientific evidence which both supports and counters a scientific theory or hypothesis; and assist students in developing critical thinking skills to evaluate scientific theories or hypotheses." Climate change is the only scientific topic mentioned in the bill.

Last year, Hedke introduced legislation, HR 6032, that condemned the UN's Agenda 21 environmental plan whose focus is sustainable development. Agenda 21 was adopted during the UN's Conference on Environment and Development held in Brazil, in 1992 by world leaders. It was never ratified by Congress. HR 6032 is a resolution "opposing and exposing the radical nature of United Nations Agenda 21 and its destructiveness to the principles of the founding documents of the United States of America."

"This resolution informs policymakers of the aggressive environmental, social engineering and global political control that is Agenda 21," Hedke said. "The notion of sustainability is not necessarily a bad thing. However, when guidelines are transformed into indoctrination, globally, nationally and with each state and local government, and that indoctrination is connected to an intense socialistic philosophy, questions are raised."

The self destruction of Kansas?

An article by Bloomberg BusinessWeek calls the legislation to ban funds for sustainable development, "Kansas' self destruct button." If passed, it really would be a form of self destruction for Kansas. Consider the fact that there is widespread adoption of sustainability in the business world. A 2010 report by Deloitte found that 75 percent of large businesses are either maintaining or increasing investments in sustainability.

One main reason for the wide spread adoption of sustainability is that it saves money in the long run. This week, Walmart CEO Mike Duke said, while speaking at Wal-Mart's Global Sustainability Milestone Meeting, that the company expects to save around $1 billion through its renewable energy projects as it works to meet its goal of using only renewables by 2020.

Walmart is the largest retailer in the world. If the world's largest retailer recognizes that sustainability saves money, surely the legislators in Kansas should too.

Photo: Flickr user, ell brown

Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshotGina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.

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