Lame Duck Threat: Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST)
With the election behind us, Congress will convene a lame-duck session. This series will highlight major issues facing Congress that may be decided by defeated and retiring lawmakers.
The Issue: How does President Obama implement his wealth redistribution scheme on a global scale? Through the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, that’s how. LOST, as it is commonly known, is a deeply flawed treaty that was wisely rejected by President Reagan in 1982. It would empower an international bureaucracy headquartered in Kingston, Jamaica to raid billions of dollars from the U.S. Treasury. It would also create a binding dispute resolution mechanism whereby any country could compel the United States to reduce carbon emission under the guise of global warming.
Why Lame Duck: Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA), who is widely expected to be the next Secretary of State, has maintained all along that he would push to ratify the treaty during a lame-duck session, when senators no longer have to face their constituents. This, despite 34 Senators pledging to oppose the treaty.
Conservative Position: Not only should conservatives oppose the Law of the Sea Treaty, but they should also oppose half-measures and compromises that undermine American sovereignty.
- America can develop undersea oil and gas resources without ratifying this dangerously flawed treaty. As Heritage’s Steven Groves explains, “The United States regularly demarcates the limits of its continental shelf and declares the extent of its maritime boundaries with presidential proclamations, acts of Congress, and bilateral treaties with neighboring countries.” The creation of a new international bureaucracy isn’t necessary.
- Ratification of LOST would expose America to frivolous lawsuits from other member nations. On the issue of global warming, Groves details how “some nations are actively exploring the possible use of international litigation to impose their favored environmental standards on large emitters of greenhouse gases, particularly the United States.” And because the dispute resolution process is compulsory, any resolution would be enforceable in domestic courts.
- Ratification of the treaty is unnecessary to secure America’s navigational rights and freedoms. Heritage explains, “navigational rights and freedoms enjoyed by the United States and the Navy are guaranteed not by membership in a treaty, but rather through a combination of long-standing legal principles and persistent naval operations. Specifically, the United States relies on the customary international law of the sea and the U.S. Freedom of Navigation Program to protect those rights and freedoms.”