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WASHINGTON – While the Obama administration has been pressing hard for passage of the Law of the Sea Treaty, its prospects this year appear dim, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
The U.S. Senate has been trying to pass the treaty since 1994. For those who object to it, there remain serious security and sovereignty concerns.
Also, there is an upcoming presidential election in which Barack Obama will want to avoid controversy surrounding the treaty as long as those concerns remain.
The Senate needs 67 votes to agree to the treaty and even supporters believe there is little prospect of obtaining that number.
Some 162 countries have signed up to the treaty since it was first introduced in 1982. However, President Ronald Reagan refused then to sign up to the treaty. President Bill Clinton did sign the treaty but even with changes the Senate didn’t provide an advise and consent vote on it.
That’s because the concerns raised then by Reagan in refusing to sign the treaty remain.
They include the fact that while the treaty would give the United States even greater access to oil, minerals and precious metals found on the ocean floor beyond the 200-mile territorial limit, the issue of revenue in which the U.S. would have to pay a royalty on the wealth it obtains from deep-sea mining and drilling remains.
Critics of the treaty say that it would create what amounts to an international tax on the U.S. and offers a scheme to redistribute the nation’s wealth to the rest of the world without U.S. consent.
In effect, it would give the United Nations taxing authority over sovereign countries.
Any royalties collected from U.S. mining would have to go to the United Nations agency International Seabed Authority. Critics say there is no say over where the money then would go.
Reagan at the time was concerned that monies would go to the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
The treaty also would force the U.S. to share any deep sea technology that most countries do not now have.
It also would place restrictions on the U.S. Navy by compelling what amounts to an environmental impact statement on the area where it might conduct exercises.
This would be especially difficult if the U.S. Navy is attempting to keep open the shipping lanes for the Strait of Hormuz since its operations would require that prior to their undertaking there must be a statement on how such exercises will harm the environment where the ships are operating.
Also, the treaty would not allow the U.S. Navy to stop and board questionable ships on the high seas, even if those ships are involved in piracy, slavery, suspect terrorists or transporting weapons of mass destruction.
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