Skip to comments.Sovereignty-sapping U.N. Accord gets new Life
Posted on 01/25/2005 6:10:00 AM PST by rob777
The Law of the Sea Treaty, or LOST, a U.N. agreement decried by U.S. sovereignty advocates who were able to prevent consideration by the United States Senate last year, appears to have new life after comments made by Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice at her confirmation hearings.
The international treaty, which gives a U.N. agency called the Seabed Authority control of over 70 percent of the earth's surface and natural resources, was thought to be a slam-dunk for approval in the Senate last year, but opponents pressured members of the body, including Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and no vote was held.
Bush administration officials have pushed for the treaty's passage, as has Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind. Lugar held hearings on the legislation in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last year, but failed to allow opponents of the treaty to testify.
According to an e-mail alert from the American Conservative Union, Lugar then "exerted pressure on Majority Leader Bill Frist to bring the matter to the full Senate without debate and without a recorded vote."
That's when opponents began a successful campaign to prevent the full Senate from voting on the treaty.
Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, questioned Rice about the agreement at last week's confirmation hearings.
Rice responded that the president "certainly would like to see it pass as soon as possible," saying LOST "serves our national security interests, serves our economic interests. We very much want to see it go into force."
A Lugar spokesman called Rice's comments "a breakthrough" and was confident the treaty would go to the floor of the Senate "sooner rather than later." The spokesman also said the administration didn't push the treaty harder last year so as not to "rile the activists."
Said Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation: "Conservatives who want to stop this treaty had better be prepared to be even more aggressive this time. Powerful interest groups, notably the oil industry, want to have this treaty ratified despite its fine print that would place their fate in the hands of a governing body called the International Seabed Authority and ultimately the United Nations."
Besides giving the U.N. power over seven-tenths of the earth's surface, the treaty would have authority to tax by requiring a permit to engage in any activity affecting the seabed, such as oil drilling or mining. The permit would cost $250,000. The Seabed Authority could also require royalty payments for minerals extracted.
Said WorldNetDaily exclusive columnist Henry Lamb, who has written extensively on the treaty: "Even more important, the permit process can require detailed information about the technology to be used, which can then be shared with member nations without regard for intellectual-property rights or security concerns."
Commented Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy: "This accord would constitute the most egregious transfer of American sovereignty, wealth and power to the U.N. since the founding of that 'world body.' In fact, never before in the history of the world has any nation voluntarily engaged in such a sweeping transfer to anyone."
The first "Battle over the LOST" was in 1982 when President Ronald Reagan flatly rejected the treaty because it undercut American sovereignty. LOST II was in the mid-1990s. In 1994, then-U.N. Ambassador Madeleine Albright signed a supposedly amended version of the treaty and President Clinton sent it to the Senate for the constitutionally mandated advise and consent. Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., who headed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was able to keep the treaty in a state of suspension.
A spokesman for Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., stated last year that any claim the treaty surrenders national sovereignty is "complete and utter nonsense."
ACU explains big oil companies are in favor of the treaty because it would codify U.S. rights to explore and mine the ocean up to 200 miles from the American coast and would let the United States stake claims to seabeds outside that limit.
However, the group points out, "LOST will give the United Nations sole power to levy taxes and impose production quotas on mining and oil production. The United Nations will be able to tell companies how much they are allowed to mine the very next gasoline shortage can and may be caused by a group of rogue Third World nations literally cutting off our oil supply."
In addition to working hard to stop this nonsense, conservatives need to prepare to make the UN and U.S. Sovereignty a major issue in the 2008 Presidential campaign.
And this is different from the current state of affairs how???
"[they] will be able to tell companies how much they are allowed to mine the very next gasoline shortage can and may be caused by a group of rogue Third World nations literally cutting off our oil supply.""
The worst part about this treaty is that it funds the UN with a source of money that is independent of member dues. After the Oil for Food scandal, I do not see how anyone can think that is a good idea. We would have no control over the spending of the money and there would be the typical UN accountability--none.
The US needs to get out of the UN and let it die a natural death.
"The US needs to get out of the UN and let it die a natural death."
You are right, but that will not happen until we get better
leadership in Washington D.C.
Calling my two Marxist senators to block this UN crap would be like sending Castro a telegram and asking him to allow free elections, freedom of speech and milk for children older than 7.
Hope Inhofe blocks this garbage treaty.
This treaty on its face should be opposed by every "conservative legislator", and favored by the libs. The "conservatives" are in power, therefore, it has little chance of passage in a sane world. That means it will be pushed by those that say they are "conservatives". Politics is just a shell game, with no pea under either cup. Just remember, if it is something to favor conservatives, liberals are more likely to pass it and vice versa.
1. It requires the US not to pollute the sea and subjects us to vague international standards that are enforceable against us by an international arbitration tribunal. So if LA wants to build a desalinazition plant, and greens think it will have some or the other bad effect, they have an additional tribunal to tie things up that is not answerable to US voters. Proof of this is found in a Brookings Institute article, which states that the treaty "has strong support from environmental groups, including the National Environmental Trust, the Ocean Conservancy, and the World Wildlife Fund."
2. If we ratify the treaty, we accept that the resources of the sea 'are the common heritage of all mankind.' This is mischievious language that is completely inconsistent with any notion of free market principles.
3. The supposed benefit of the treaty--recognition of commercial and military right of free transit on the seas--is illusory. The only guarantee of such a right is the US Navy and our willingness to enforce existing international usage. Suppose North Korea tries to restrict our right under the treaty to sail near their shore. Are we required to sue them? Who enforces it? The UN? The US Navy is still the ultimate enforcer.
4. The tax levied on deep sea mineral exploitation is administered by an international agency, the ISA. Tax monies are to be shared with member nations and with non-state organizations (eg the PLO). This could provide billions of unaccountable dollars of funding for mischief for international agencies to do harm.
5. Even the good things in the treaty (eg military transit rights, 200 mile sovereignty over resources etc) are explicitly made 'subject to this convention and international law.' That language gives leftist judges a hook to start combing thru international law to implement their constituent's agendas having to do with our military and commercial interests as well as our management of our ocean resources offshore.
6. The treaty can be amended by a 2/3 vote. There is already talk about amending it to prohibit impartant transit rights to nuclear powered ships due to supposed environmental concerns. If we sign the treaty and cannot muster 1/3 of the membership to vote with us, we have disabled our Navy from going to key parts of the globe.