Wall Street Journal
Senate Democratsâ€™ hopes of passing the Law of the Sea Treaty sank Monday, when a pair of Republican senators announced their opposition to ratification.
Sens.Â Bob PortmanÂ of Ohio andÂ Kelly AyotteÂ of New HampshireÂ penned a letterÂ to Senate Majority LeaderÂ Harry ReidÂ (D., Nev.) saying, â€œwe have concluded that on balance this treaty is not in the national interest of the United States.â€
The treaty, completed in 1982, seeks to codify big chunks of customary international maritime law, including freedom of navigation and access to deep-sea energy resources. It is supported by a wide swath of business interests, environmentalists, and military officials in the U.S.; most countries have ratified it.
The announcement Monday that Sens. Portman and Ayotte â€” both considered possible running mates for GOP presidential hopefulÂ Mitt RomneyÂ â€“ would vote â€œno,â€ puts the final nail in the treatyâ€™s coffin, for this Congress at least. Previously, 32 other senators had expressed theiroppositionÂ to the treaty, which needed 67 votes for ratification. The Senatetook upÂ the issue again this spring, five years after its last failed effort.
Like the other lawmakers opposed to the bill, Sens. Portman and Ayotte zeroed in on what they see as the treatyâ€™s erosion of U.S. sovereignty, both in terms of international arbitration of disputes and the possibility that a supranational body could impose binding rulings on the U.S.
â€œIn short, we are deeply concerned about the treatyâ€™s breadth and ambiguity, the inadequate U.S. input in the treatyâ€™s adjudicative bodies, and the automatic enforcement of tribunal judgments in the United States,â€ they wrote. â€œOn balance, we believe the treatyâ€™s litigation exposure and impositions on U.S. sovereignty outweigh its potential benefits.Â For that reason, we cannot support the Law of the Sea treaty and would oppose its ratification.â€
The office of Sen.Â John KerryÂ (D., Mass.), the Foreign Relations Committee chairman, dismissed the public statements as election-season politicking, and vowed to keep fighting for the treaty.
â€œNo letter or whip count changes the fact that rock-ribbed Republican businesses and the military and every living Republican Secretary of State say that this needs to happen, and thatâ€™s why itâ€™s a matter of â€˜whenâ€™ not â€˜ifâ€™ for the Law of the Sea,â€ said Kerry spokeswomanÂ Jodi Seth.
Republicans are trumpeting their opposition to the treaty even though it would boost U.S. access to undersea resources and domestic energy production is important to GOP campaigns this year.
In the Arctic, where warming temperatures are opening up greater areas for offshore oil and gas exploration, sorting out who owns what energy resources threatens to be a contentious point in future years. All Arctic nations except the U.S. are signatories of the Law of the Sea treaty, which gives ratifying states clear title to the resources on its continental shelf.
â€œNot since we acquired the lands of the American West and Alaska have we had such a great opportunity to expand U.S. sovereignty,â€ Defense SecretaryÂ Leon PanettaÂ said at a news conference earlier this year urging support for ratification.
To read more, visit:Â http://stream.wsj.com/story/campaign-2012-continuous-coverage/SS-2-9156/SS-2-33614/
Don’t let the MSM censor your news as America becomes Great Again. Over 500,000 Americans receive our daily dose of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness along with Breaking News direct to their inbox—and you can too. Sign up to receive news and views from The 1776Coalition!
We know how important your privacy is and your information is SAFE with us. We’ll never sell
your email address and you can unsubscribe at any time directly from your inbox.