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Resolution # 2000___56_________
1. The population of the United States reached 275 million in 1999 and is growing by approximately three million each year, over 57,000 weekly, the highest population growth rate of the developed countries of the world. Most developed countries are at zero or negative population growth (Dr. Albert A. Bartlett, University of Colorado, Boulder).
2. The population of the U.S. is about five percent of the world's population, consuming up to 25 percent of portions of world's natural resources (Population Reference Bureau).
3. A population cannot be stable if, by its size or behavior, it destroys the very life-support systems on which it depends The ability of the United States to support a population within its carrying capacity is now strained because of population growth (Dr. Virginia Abernethy, Population-Environment Balance). Fifty percent of our original wetlands have been drained to accommodate growth (Environmental Protection Agency). Ninety-five percent of all U.S. old growth forests have been destroyed (Save American Forests). It is estimated that we have consumed approximately three-fourths of all our recoverable petroleum, and we now import more than half of the oil we consume in the United States (Bartlett). America's underground aquifers are being drawn down 23 percent more than their natural rates of recharge (Carrying Capacity Network).
4. For each person added to the U.S. population, about one acre of open land is lost through urbanization and degradation, causing a total yearly loss of about three million acres. America annually exports $40 billion in food. If present population trends continue, the U.S. will cease to be a food exporter by about 2030 (Dr. David Pimentel, Cornell University).
5. Immigration is the leading cause of population growth in the Unites States. Population is the leading cause of environmental degradation. (The Environmentalist's Guide to a Sensible Immigration Policy).
6. The report of the Task Force on Population and Consumption of the President's Council on Sustainable Development (1996) said: "The two most important steps toward sustainability are: 1. to stabilize the population promptly, and 2. to move toward greater material and energy efficiency in all production and use of goods and service." The President's Council said, "...reducing immigration levels is a necessary part of population stabilization and the drive toward sustainability" (Executive Summary); and
7. Poverty, exacerbated by population growth generated by population explosion, places demands on infrastructure: schools, health care facilities, waste disposal plants, transportation systems, fire protection, water supplies, power generation plants and other social services that exceed the ability of local jurisdictions and communities to provide these services, forcing those jurisdictions to increase taxes to keep up with demand.
8. Legal and illegal immigration combined is too high for assimilation. In 1998 alone, there were 420,000 illegal permanent entries into the U.S. (U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service) The latest U.S. Census Bureau shows that immigration will add 90 million to the U.S. population and account for 70 percent of population growth within the next 50 years. If mass immigration continues, the population of the U.S. will exceed 400 million by 2050. If current proposals to increase immigration are adopted, the U.S. population could exceed a half-billion by 2050 (U.S. Census Bureau).
9. Contemporary pressures to emigrate from foreign countries are created in large by exponential population growth, displacement and urbanization of farmers, environmental exploitation and degradation, and by inadequate wages, benefits and protections for workers (Dr. Robert Cohen, Boulder, Colorado, Population/Global Resources.
10. Continuous population growth is unsustainable (Bartlett). Considering population momentum, a permanent return to more traditional Twentieth Century (1925 to 1965) immigration levels on all immigration in excess of 175,000 annually, will eventually allow the U.S. to stabilize its population sometime after another 50 years, at best at a level exceeding more than at 350 million Americans (Roy Beck, NumbersUSA.com).
11. A majority of Americans of all ethnic and racial backgrounds favor substantial reduction in legal immigration and a complete halt to illegal immigration (1998 Wall Street Journal; 1996 Roper Poll; Hispanic USA Group survey); and
12. The people of the United States and the Board of County Commissioners, County of Pitkin, State of Colorado, envision a country with a stable population, material and energy efficiency, a sustainable future, a healthy environment, clean air and water, ample open space, wilderness, abundant wildlife and social and civic cohesion in which the dignity of human life is enhanced and protected.
13. The Board of County Commissioners recognizes the value of diversity and the contributions on immigrants since the arrival of the first settlers many centuries ago. We also recognize and deplore the exploitation if immigrants through violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, such as minimum wage and overtime. We specifically reject the notion that immigrants (legal and not) are disproportionately criminal or bad people. Nonetheless, we believe immigration, both legal and illegal, should be restrained. The United States has a responsibility to promote family planning opportunities world-wide, to require our trade partners to treat their laborers humanely, and to respect our shared environment.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of County Commissioners of Pitkin County, Colorado, hereby petitions the Congress of the United States and the President to immediately implement, with deliberate speed and by means consistent with the Constitution of the United States, the consensus of the American People and the President's Council, legislation appropriate to stabilize the population of the United States and insure sustainability that:
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT:
Pitkin County accepts its responsibility to work to improve working and living conditions, both locally and throughout the world, through appropriate regulations that support multi-cultural education programs, that conserve natural resources world-wide, that move toward greater energy efficiency in production and use of goods and services, and that exhibit social responsibility.
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