A United Nations threat to U.S. sovereignty has been halted. The Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), a pet project of Senator John Kerry (D-MA), ran aground yesterday when opposition reached critical mass.
A total of 34 Senators, led by Jim DeMint (R-SC) and James Inhofe (R-OK), have now expressed opposition—enough to kill the treaty if it comes up for a vote.
As Heritage Action for America CEO Michael Needham said:
America had little to gain through accession to the Law of the Sea Treaty—but much to lose. Rather than affirming existing practices, it would have instituted a radically new, international legal regime. The demise of the Law of the Sea Treaty not only represents a victory for American sovereignty, but also the American people.
One of the most vocal and effective spokesmen against LOST has been Heritage Foundation expert Steven Groves. He testified in June before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by Senator Kerry.
Groves has researched extensively and successfully argued that:
- The U.S. doesn’t need to sign on to LOST to develop its oil and gas resources in the undersea extended continental shelf.
- Signing on to LOST would force the U.S. to hand over royalties from oil and gas development in the extended continental shelf to developing countries and even state sponsors of terrorism.
- The U.S. doesn’t need LOST to guarantee any of its maritime rights or freedoms.
- LOST would expose the U.S. to international environmental lawsuits that would harm its environmental, economic, and military interests—including suits based on alleged U.S. contributions to global climate change.
- LOST creates a massive international bureaucracy, which the U.S. would be forced to fund.
Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and John Cornyn (R-TX) warned that LOST would “sink the economy,” saying that “LOST contains numerous provisions that hurt the U.S. economy at a time when we need more jobs—not fewer.”
Yesterday, Groves said the treaty was dead for the time being, but that opponents should remain vigilant:
By getting to 34 Senators in opposition, we have won a big battle. But Senator Kerry is unlikely to give up very easily, and the war won’t be over until it’s over.
Indeed, Kerry is already planning a counteroffensive for after the election, when his spokeswoman said Senators will be “away from the politics of the moment.”
The politics of LOST are anything but momentary—President Ronald Reagan declined to sign the treaty in 1982, and we are still fighting this creeping United Nations bureaucracy today. Reagan recognized that the best way to secure American freedom on the seas was a strong U.S. Navy, which will remain true if and when the Senate considers LOST again.