Saturday, May 09, 2009

Shiver me Timbers: The U.N. Law of the Sea Treaty

An interesting set of events have taken place in the past few days. Most notably was the decision by Salazar to not disrupt former president Bush's policy on polar bears.

The fact that this was done, leads one to ask, where is the rest of the story?

The rest of the story can be found in a treaty with the U.N. It's called the Law of the Sea Treaty.

The treaty has been a hot button topic and one blog has been created with the mindset that the treaty should be rejected.

From a standpoint of interest, I wanted to see who was/is for it and who was/is against it, so I thought the blog rejecting it would be a good place to start.


The Gipper

Given the fact the Gipper was against it, I wanted to see out of curiosity what the treaty would do with concerns on the environment.

Sure enough, the rest of the story.

The Facts:

LOST’s provisions and mandatory dispute resolution mechanisms would give environmental activists and like-minded governments (notably those in Europe) both grounds and venues to bring action against the United States for violating the Kyoto Protocol – even though America is not a party to that accord.

For example, LOST Article 194 requires states parties to “take…all measures consistent with this Convention that are necessary to prevent, reduce, and control pollution of the marine environment from any source.” This provision goes on to require that such measures address “all sources of pollution of the marine environment…including those from land-based sources, from or through the atmosphere, or by dumping….”

LOST Article 212 goes further, requiring parties to “adopt laws and regulations to prevent, reduce and control pollution of the marine environment from or through the atmosphere….” The sweeping nature of this commitment suggests that the associated implementing legislation will be enormously comprehensive, hugely costly to conform to and wildly controversial in this country.

Matters would be made vastly worse under LOST by the further requirements of the “Precautionary Principle” – a legal tenet that bars any initiative unless it can be proven to do no harm. As the International Seabed Authority’s Regulation 31 puts it: “In order to ensure effective protection for the marine environment from harmful effects which may arise from activities in the Area, the Authority and sponsoring States shall apply a precautionary approach….”

The prospect that U.S.-generated greenhouse gases will adversely affect the environment – the premise upon which Kyoto is based – could be used to justify action against many shore-based American companies, government entities and military activities (e.g., ballistic missile launches).


Clinton was for it and it is a given that Obama supports it, so does Senator Murkowski. And so does Palin.

Palin would do well to back off on this one. To give credit due, McCain saw the problems as did Reagan.

While some may laud what Salazar did, his boss will put the United States under obligations that will open us to conducting business by international laws.

And with the mindset of the recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings on CO2 and the position of certain Justices on the use of international law in its rulings, it is not far-fetched to see the writing on the wall.

So all of the hype on Salazar's position of no change on Bush's policy may really be smoke and mirrors to what lays ahead with ratifying the treaty.

After all this president likes to play the blame game.

1 comment:

green said...


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