Editor’s Note – Now to kill the small arms treaty as well! The U.N. should be sent packing – say to Africa, and no more American tax-payer dollars.
By Kristina Wong and Sean Lengell – The Washington Times
The Law of the Sea Treaty now has 34 senators opposed and thus will not have the Senate votes for ratification, a key opponent of the treaty announced Monday.
Critics of the treaty had argued that LOST would require the U.S. to subject its sovereignty to an international body, require U.S. businesses to pay royalties for resource exploitation, and subject the U.S. to unwieldy environmental regulations as defined in the treaty.
“4 additional senators have joined in opposition to LOST, including Mike Johanns (R-NE), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Rob Portman (R-OH) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA). With 34 senators against the misguided treaty, LOST will not be ratified by the Senate this year,” Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican, said in a statement on his website.
The Law of the Sea Treaty, which entered into force in 1994 and has been signed and ratified by 162 countries, establishes international laws governing the maritime rights of countries. The treaty has been signed but not ratified by the U.S., which would require two-thirds approval of theSenate.
The four senators Mr. DeMint named would bring those opposed in the Senate to 34 — making it impossible to reach the 67 votes that would be required to ratify the pact, which Sen. John F. Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat and Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, had wanted to bring to a vote later this year.
“No letter or whip count changes the fact that rock-ribbed Republican businesses and the military and every living Republican secretary of state say that this needs to happen, and that’s why it’s a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ for the Law of the Sea,” said Kerry spokeswoman Jodi Seth.
Ms. Seth said the senator’s decided long ago to hold off on requesting a vote on the treaty until after the November elections because “right now we’re in the middle of a white hot political campaign season where ideology is running in overdrive.”
“That’s why Senator Kerry made it clear from day one that there wouldn’t be a vote before the election and until everyone’s had the chance to evaluate the treaty on the facts and the merits away from the politics of the moment,” she said.
Proponents of ratification argue that member-nations are establishing rules of the sea that the U.S. would have to abide to without a vote. They also argue that by ratifying the treaty, the U.S. would protect its claims and rights to mine America’s continental sea shelves and offshore waters for natural resources, without interference from other countries or other entities. Without ratification, U.S. energy companies do not have the security they need to invest in exploring those areas for resources.
“The [U.S.] Chamber of Commerce and the oil and gas and telecommunications industries are some of the most effective in this town because they stick to their guns and they’ve been unequivocal about the need to get this [treaty] done,” Ms. Seth said. “They’ll keep at it, and we will continue the work of answering questions and building the public record.”
Mr. Kerry held three hearings this year on the treaty. The first hearing brought together a rare joint appearance by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, as well as Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who testified in favor of ratifying the treaty. The second hearing brought together six four-star military officers, who also testified in favor of ratifying the treaty. At the third, former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld testified against the treaty.