The Kansas Statehouse in Topeka, where the magic happens.
The Kansas statehouse in Topeka, where the magic happens.
Shutterstock / Katherine Welles

Legislation introduced in Kansas would ban the promotion or practice by state agencies of sustainable development.

Don’t they know that when sustainable development is outlawed, only outlaws develop sustainably?

House Bill 2366, introduced into the House Energy and Environment Committee, would prevent any state funds from being “used, either directly or indirectly, to promote, support, mandate, require, order, incentivize, advocate, plan for, participate in or implement sustainable development.”

Weird. Maybe the numskulls behind the bill don’t grasp the actual meaning of “sustainable development.” Perhaps they think the term refers specifically to Agenda 21, which Glenn Beck and other right-wingers claim is a diabolical United Nations plot to force Americans to live in cities and ride public transit. The horror!

Checking the bill … nope … no misinterpretation here. The legislation’s definition of sustainable development is surprisingly clear and positive sounding: “[A] mode of human development in which resource use aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come.”

The legislation was introduced in February and hasn’t yet had a committee hearing. But if it does somehow become law, the government of Kansas will be legislatively required to pursue unsustainable development — that is, development that, by its legal definition, degrades the environment so that needs cannot be met for generations to come.

The Energy and Environment Committee is chaired by Rep. Dennis Hedke (R), a geophysicist who the Kansas City Star says “counts at least 18 energy companies as clients.” From a March article in the Star:

Hedke is a decided nonbeliever of man-made global warming. He thinks those claims have been used to impose strict environmental regulations, such as renewable-energy standards, that ultimately dig into consumers’ wallets.

“This is costly,” Hedke said. “It’s already hurt people around the world.”

The notion that carbon dioxide should be regulated as a dangerous gas that’s wreaking havoc on the environment, he said, is a “flat-out lie.” …

Hedke said the [anti-sustainable-development] measure was motivated by complaints from constituents who think there is an insidious attempt to create new layers of government through groups like the Regional Economic Area Partnership in Wichita.

Two years ago, the group received a $1.5 million federal grant for planning sustainable communities. The grant became a sore spot for critics who believed it would open the door for the federal government to impose its will on local officials.

Well, Hedke, so long as your needs and the needs of your clients are met, screw the kids — and their kids!