Adopted in 1982, The Law of the Sea Treaty was initially called the Third United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III) and aimed to implement a set of detailed rules that would control the oceans, replacing the 1958 (UNCLOS I) and 1960 (UNCLOS II) United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea. The European Community and 162 countries have joined the Convention.
“Negotiated in the 1970s, the Law of the Sea treaty was heavily influenced by the New International Economic Order, a set of economic principles first formally advanced at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in the 1970s and 1980s,” calling for redistribution of wealth to the benefit of third world countries.
President Ronald Reagan rejected the treaty in 1982 because it demanded technology and wealth transfer from developed countries to developing nations as well as adopting regulations and laws to control oceanic pollution. Jurisdictional limits on oceans included a 12-mile territorial sea limit and a 200-mile exclusive economic zone limit. The treaty would regulate economic “activity on, over, and beneath the ocean’s surface.”
In spite of the many pros and cons, in March 2004, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee recommended by unanimous vote that the U.S. sign the treaty.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), member of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Water and Power, opposes the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) on several grounds, including the loss of National sovereignty.
In order to ratify a treaty, the President needs a two-thirds majority vote from the Senate. According to Sen. Mike Lee, treaties must represent U.S. economic and security interests. Our economy and navigation rights have not been affected by the fact that we chose to reject the treaty. He finds the loss of National sovereignty and mandatory dispute resolution included in the Law of the Sea treaty quite troubling.
The International Seabed Authority (“the Authority”) has the power to distribute “international royalties” to developing and landlocked nations. “So hypothetically, a U.S. company that has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in developing clean and safe deep-sea mining machinery would be forced to give a portion of its profits to countries such as Somalia, Sudan, and Cuba – all considered to be developing nations by ‘the Authority.’” (Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah)
Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, chairman of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, supports the ratification of the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST). He believes that this treaty provides rules to handle future underwater minerals, gas, and oil exploration and shipping on new water routes opened by receding Arctic icepack. His support is predicated on the premise that the Arctic icepack melt will be a constant in the future.
According to Sen. Mark Begich, “The United States is the world’s leading maritime power. Only by ratifying the treaty can it protect freedom of navigation to advance our commercial and national security interests, claim extended continental-shelf areas in the Arctic – an area believed to be twice the size of California – as other nations are already doing, and use its provisions to protect the marine environment, manage fisheries and appoint Americans to help resolve disputes.” (The American Legion Magazine)
According to the Heritage Foundation, innocent passage through an area is already protected under “multiple independent treaties, as well as traditional international maritime law.” Few countries deny passage to the U.S., given its naval superiority. Under the Law of the Sea Treaty, “intelligence and submarine maneuvers in territorial waters would be restricted and regulated.” It is thus not in the national security interest of the United States to ratify this treaty.
The treaty requires policies that regulate deep-sea mining, requires rules and regulations to control and prevent marine pollution, and requires the control of corporations who cannot bring lawsuits independently. They must depend on the country of origin to plead their case in front of the United Nations agency.
“Some proponents of the treaty believe that it will establish a system of property rights for mineral extraction in deep sea beds, making the investment in such ventures more attractive.”
President Reagan objected to the Principle of the “Common Heritage of Mankind,” which dictates that marine resources belong to all mankind and cannot be exploited by one nation.
To spread the wealth, the UN “Authority” must regulate and exploit mineral resources by asking companies to pay an application fee of half a million dollars, recently changed to $250,000, and to reserve an extra site for the Authority to “utilize its own mining efforts.”
A corporation must also pay an annual fee of $1 million and up to 7% of its annual profits and share its mining and navigational technology. Mining permits are granted or withheld by the “Authority” which is composed of mostly developing countries. (Heritage Foundation)
Any kind of maritime dispute, fisheries, environmental protection, navigation, and research, must be resolved under this treaty through mandatory dispute resolution by the UN court or tribunal which limits autonomy. Disputes should be resolved by U.S. courts. (Heritage Foundation)
The United States provisional participation in the Laws of the Sea treaty expired in 1998. Should we consider the ratification of another treaty that has the potential to further chip away at our National sovereignty?
The GOP has recently passed (January 14, 2012) a resolution exposing United Nations Agenda 21 as “a comprehensive plan of extreme environmentalism, social engineering, and global political control that was initiated at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED).”
“According to the United Nations Agenda 21 policy, National sovereignty is deemed a social injustice.” United Nations treaties and programs want to force “social justice” through socialist/communist redistribution of wealth from developed nations like the U.S. to third world countries.
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Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh, Romanian Conservative is a freelance writer, author, radio commentator, and speaker. Her books, “Echoes of Communism”, “Liberty on Life Support” and “U.N. Agenda 21: Environmental Piracy,” “Communism 2.0: 25 Years Later” are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle.
Her commentaries reflect American Exceptionalism, the economy, immigration, and education.Visit her website, ileanajohnson.comCommenting Policy
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