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This topic isn't getting much coverage in the press but plays a major role in the future of mining, oil and gas. Chalk up a future scandal for the UN.

By Steve Foley
Why ratification of this treaty must be stopped.

Today the Senate is holding hearings on the possible ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea or as it's commonly known by its opponents "The Law of the Sea Treaty" (LOST) for short.

President Reagan rejected the treaty during his term stating it would be contrary to American interests, and he was right in doing so for reasons I’ll present below. Then along came the first Bush administration who worked to fix problems in the treaty followed by President Clinton who finished the restoration and revived the treaty which in return led to its activation by other countries in Europe and elsewhere. Thanks to a Republican controlled Senate the ratification process was blocked.

Fast-forward to President George W Bush’s administration and ”Wham-O” here we go again. The problems with the new remodeled treaty are many, I happen to like the CATO’s example:

Read on . . .

y, the revised treaty retains many of its original flaws. There is still a complicated multinational bureaucracy that sounds like an excerpt from George Orwell's "1984": At its center is the International Seabed Authority. The Authority (as it calls itself) supervises a mining subsidiary called the Enterprise, ruled by an Assembly, Council, and various commissions and committees. Mining approval would be highly politicized and could discriminate against American operators. Companies that are allowed to mine would owe substantial fees to the Authority and be required to do surveys for the Enterprise, their government-subsidized competitor.

A mandatory transfer of mining technologies to Third World companies has been watered down. However, "sponsoring states" -- that is, governments of nations where mining companies are located-would have to facilitate such transfers if the Enterprise and Third World competitors are "unable to obtain" necessary equipment commercially. Depending on the whims of the Authority, ensuring the "cooperation" of private miners could look very much like mandatory transfers.

The Authority, though so far of modest size, would suffer from the same perverse incentives that afflict the U.N., since the United States would be responsible for 25 percent of the budget but easily outmaneuvered. Proposals by industrialized signatories to limit their contributions have so far received an unfriendly reception. Still, when it signed the Law of the Sea Treaty, the Clinton administration said there was no reason to worry, because the treaty proclaims that "all organs and subsidiary bodies to be established under the Convention and this Agreement shall be cost-effective." Right. Presumably just as cost-effective as the U.N.

The treaty's mining scheme is flawed in its very conception. Although many people once thought untold wealth would leap from the seabed, land-based sources have remained cheaper than expected, and scooping up manganese nodules and other resources from

As you can see even with the modifications this treaty, as Reagan put it, is contrary to American interests and should be stopped immediately.

Here were Reagan’s objections :

1. Former President Reagan's first objection to the Treaty was the Principle of the "Common Heritage of Mankind," which dictates that oceanic resources should be shared among all mankind and cannot be claimed by any one nation or people. In order to achieve this goal, the Treaty creates the International Seabed Authority ("Authority") to regulate and exploit mineral resources. It requires a company to submit an application fee of $500,000 (now $250,000), as well as a bonus site for the Authority to utilize for its own mining efforts. Additionally, the corporation must pay an annual fee of $1 million, as well as a percentage of its profits (increasing annually up to 7%), and must agree to share mining and navigational technology--thereby ensuring that opportunities aren't restricted to more technologically advanced countries. The decision to grant or to withhold mining permits is decided by the Authority, which consists disproportionately of underdeveloped countries. Technology-sharing is no longer mandatory, however, there are remaining "principles" to guide its use and distribution. Additionally, the Council has been restructured so that the United States has a permanent seat, and developed countries can create a blocking vote.

2. Secondly, former President Reagan believed that the Treaty would restrict the world's supply of minerals. The Treaty was originally designed to limit the exploitation of heavy minerals in order to protect the mineral sales of land-locked, developing nations. This is no longer a severe limitation, because production limits to preserve land-based mining have been removed.

3. The third--and still valid--objection is that mandatory dispute resolution restricts autonomy. Either a U.N. court or tribunal must mandate maritime issues involving fisheries, marine environmental protection, and preservation, research, and navigation. A country may opt out if the dispute involves maritime boundaries, military, or limited law enforcement activities. Submitting to external jurisdiction creates an uncomfortable precedent. Furthermore, it weakens the U.S. argument of autonomy when it refuses to submit to the International Criminal Court. Additionally, a country must petition to be excluded from mandatory jurisdiction requirements.

Just the other day Human’s Bill Steigerwald had a Q & A with Cliff Kincaid, president of America's Survival Inc. See also Rob Bluey's piece: Should the Senate Ratify Law of the Sea Treaty?

Q: What's the biggest and most important thing wrong with LOST?

A: The biggest thing wrong with it is that it is yet another United Nations project to give the world body more power, authority and influence over world affairs. The idea that the U.N. -- a notoriously corrupt and incompetent body, which squandered billions in the oil-for-food program with Iraq -- should now have jurisdiction over seven-tenths of the world surface, with money coming from American companies, is ludicrous.


Q: Gathering intelligence, opening sea lanes, seizing terrorist -- all of those?

A: All of those activities are potentially at risk and can be seen by these foreign judges as possible violations of the Law of the Sea Treaty.

Q: Some supporters of the treaty say it contains no mention of a tax at all?

A: They don’t call it a “tax,” that’s true. They call it “fees” or “royalties.” But the money flows to the International Seabed Authority for the right to go after certain gas and oil and mineral deposits. There’s no question about this. The United Nations Association, which is backing the treaty, has described it as providing the first source of independent revenue for the United Nations.


Now I acknowledge that some of the people fighting against this treaty are pretty far out there, some are complete far right wingnuts and others are just crazy. Some like Devvy Kidd would argue that since the U.S. has not had a lawfully seated U.S. Senate since 1913 and the sixteenth and seventeenth amendment were never legally ratified therefore no treaty can be seen as lawful.

Well, I’m not a constitutional scholar so maybe she has an argument, maybe she doesn’t. Regardless, both Reagan and Kincaid have very reasoned arguments you can cite in your correspondence with your senators.

So this is my call to action:

Please contact your Senator’s to voice your opinion and let us torpedo this Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) and sink this idea once and for all!

Cross posted from The Minority Report


This thing might look tasty in the short term but will burn us in the long run. America should bow to no one.

641 Posts
This is about the biggest threat to our nation right now and it is getting almost no coverage. Glenn Beck is the only person in the media I hear talking about it. Contact your senators now!
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