Clinton Urged to Halt Opening of Australia Mine: GOP Leaders Call It `Eco-Imperialism'
Hudson, Audrey, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
House Democrats are urging President Clinton to use his vote on the U.N. World Heritage Commission to reach across international borders and prevent a mine from opening in Australia. Republicans say that interference in this domestic issue amounts to "eco-imperialism," and that the president should keep his nose out of Australia's business.
"Our government has no business engaging in exercises of eco-imperialism that undermine the sovereignty of Australia's elected government," Rep. Helen Chenoweth, Idaho Republican, and 40 other lawmakers stated in a letter to Mr. Clinton.
The proposed mine is near the Kakadu National Park in Australia's Northern Territory, where some of the movie "Crocodile Dundee" was filmed, and is listed as a World Heritage site under the U.N. World Heritage Convention.
"They're throwing our sovereignty right out the window," Grant Watt, spokesman for the World Heritage Working Group of the Northern Territory Minerals Council, said from Australia.
"The aboriginal say it's bad enough they have to deal with the Australian government, now they have to deal with Clinton?" Mr. Watt said.
One mine is already operational near the park and, after two years of environmental impact studies, the Australian government approved the second new mine.
But 33 Democrats, led by Rep. Cynthia A. McKinney of Georgia, want the administration to vote in favor of an "in danger" designation at the July 12 U.N. World Heritage Committee meeting in Paris. The action would effectively prohibit further mining in the area.
"The U.S. Department of Interior will soon play an important role in deciding the fare of Kakadu National Park," they wrote in a letter to Mr. …