1999 Scorecard Vote
In 1972, the U.S. government proposed creating a treaty to recognize significant natural and cultural sites around the world. The U.S. Senate ratified the World Heritage Convention Treaty, and today some 150 nations have joined this cooperative effort to preserve world-class natural and cultural resources. Recognition as a World Heritage site is a symbolic acknowledgment of a given area's global importance. The recognition does not impose additional management restrictions on the site, nor does it prevent the site from being fully managed by the country in which it is located. Consequently, while the U.N. World Heritage Committee implements the World Heritage Convention, actions taken by the Committee have no impact on U.S. sovereignty or management of U.S. public lands.
For example, the United Nations plays absolutely no role in managing U.S. national parks that have been recognized as World Heritage sites, including Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and the Statue of Liberty. In some cases, the World Heritage Committee will declare that a certain site is "in danger" of being damaged or destroyed. In 1996, at the request of U.S. citizens, the Committee visited Yellowstone National Park and concluded that the park was "in danger" from such threats as a proposed gold mine, residue from past mining activities, road construction, grizzly bear habitat loss, and invasive non-native species. The Committee's finding simply verified what many conservationists and U.S. government representatives had been arguing for years and had no effect on the management of Yellowstone.
Nevertheless, such actions have fed misconceptions that international organizations are interfering with U.S. land use decisions. During consideration of the Fiscal Year 2000 Commerce, Justice, State appropriations bill, Representative J. D. Hayworth (R-AZ) offered an amendment to prohibit any funds from being used to add any World Heritage site to the World Heritage Committee's list of endangered sites. Members who opposed the amendment noted that the United States has a responsibility to protect national parks and other World Heritage sites whether or not they have been classified as in danger.
On August 5, 1999, the House passed the Hayworth amendment 217–209. NO is the pro-environment vote.