Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) warned on Tuesday that the current administration is working with the United Nations to ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), an international agreement that would see the U.S. abiding some by foreign climate regulations.
Not familiar with the Law of the Sea? Here's a brief refresher:
LOST is an initiative decades in the making and one of its chief goals is international cooperation in regards to natural resources.
"Although the treaty is meant to establish a set of rules regarding the oceans, only a few pages of it deal with purely navigational concerns," longtime LOST opponent Sen. DeMint notes.
"The bulk of the 288-page treaty does things like establish a new international bureaucracy in Jamaica to collect and redistribute royalties on offshore oil drilling and force the United States into international arbitration for environmental disputes," he adds.
If ratified, the senator argues, LOST would compel states to "adopt laws and regulations" to "implement applicable international rules and standards established through competent international organizations or diplomatic conference to prevent, reduce and control pollution of the marine environment from land-based sources."
In other words, the senator believes the U.S. may be forced to obey U.N. standards on air pollution and carbon emissions. In fact, he claims the treaty even allows foreign nations to sue the U.S. if it doesn't adhere to LOST guidelines.
“LOST dictates that disputes, environmental or otherwise, be settled by a five-member arbitration panel,” Sen. DeMint writes.
“That panel would be made up of two representatives each from the parties involved in the dispute and one deciding vote. If the two parties cannot agree on the critical fifth arbiter, the deciding vote would be appointed by the U.N. secretary-general,” he adds.
So, as Sen. DeMint puts it, LOST may act as a “backdoor Kyoto Protocol.”
Many Americans are opposed to a treaty that supposedly hands this much authority over to the U.N. In fact, a good deal of Americans have been opposed the treaty as far back as 1978 when former President Ronald Reagan said that "no nat[ional] interest of ours could justify handing sovereign control of two-thirds of the Earth's surface over to the Third World."
Perhaps in an effort to meet this opposition, LOST advocates have started something called The American Sovereignty Campaign (TASC) to convince people that the treaty is totally patriotic.
“The need for Law of the Sea Treaty ratification has grown more urgent with time and current U.S. economic and security interests make immediate ratification imperative,” TASC’s website reads.
The site continues:
Ratification would protect or guarantee:
- America’s legitimate claims to vast areas of the Arctic, which, absent U.S. ratification, can be encroached upon by other nations. Russia has already submitted a claim for almost half of the Arctic, and Canada intends to put forth a large claim, parts of which could encroach upon America’s exclusive economic zone recognized under the Treaty.
- Unfettered ability to lay and maintain undersea communications cables that keep America connected across the globe.
- American rights of passage, navigation and safety along critical maritime transit routes, including through the South China Sea and the Strait of Hormuz.
- Access to economically important minerals, including rare earth minerals widely used in medical equipment, modern technology - such as smart phones, flat screen TVs and electric vehicles - and U.S. defense systems.
However, as noted by Sen. DeMint’s staff, the TASC website fails to underscore one of the chief tenets of LOST: "protecting the environment."
“If LOST should be passed for environmental reasons, supporters should make that case. But, it raises suspicion when that case is not consistently made and so drastically altered for different audiences,” the site points out.
The South Carolina senator is not alone in his opposition to LOST: 27 Republican senators have joined with him in his fight against the U.N. initiative.
But that’s not to say that the possibility of the treaty being ratified isn't great.
"LOST is just the latest part of the White House’s relentless push to regulate America’s energy emissions," the senator writes.
"The Senate has already provided its consent to the Obama administration for one misguided treaty with New START last year. Republicans must not let that mistake be repeated again in the upcoming lame duck," he adds.
This article has been updated.