“It is an outrage.”
The source of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s anger? The fact that the United States has yet to approve a treaty known as the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, which often goes by the acronym LOST.
Panetta was speaking after the election. His ire about LOST’s status suggests that the Obama administration may well make this a second-term priority.
It’s come close to being ratified by the U.S. Senate before — it dates back to 1982, in fact. But LOST has never been able to gain enough supporters in the Senate.
That could change, however — and quickly. Its advocates, hoping that their moment has arrived, are turning up the heat.
I don’t just mean administration officials. LOST has its defenders in the media, too. Bob Keeler of Newsday, for example, recently wrote that refusing to sign the pact is “unfathomable.” By rejecting treaties such as LOST, he says, we’re refusing “to be part of the family of nations,” and we’re “well on the way to becoming an outlaw nation.”
According to its supporters, we need LOST for a variety of reasons. The main one concerns the oil and gas resources located in the outer limits of our Extended Continental Shelf. The treaty’s proponents say we can obtain legal title to it only by signing on to the treaty.
According to Panetta, “there are countries that are making claims there, and we can’t even engage with those countries because we haven’t approved the Law of the Sea Treaty,”
Adds Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.): “If the United States does not ratify this treaty, our ability to claim the vast extended Continental Shelf off Alaska will be seriously impeded.” Without LOST, we’re told, we won’t be able to develop the hydrocarbon resources beneath the Shelf in areas such as the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic Ocean.
Sounds pretty dire — and, at a time of fluctuating prices for gasoline and other forms of energy, alarming. Fortunately, it isn’t true.
Under international law and long-standing U.S. policy, we already have access to these areas. Presidents dating back to Harry Truman have issued proclamations — and Congress has passed laws — establishing America’s maritime laws and boundaries. And no one has challenged them.
Perhaps LOST’s proponents would like this to change. They tend to be fans of superfluous international agreements, and frequently back policies that would tie the hands of the U.S. and prevent us from acting in our own interests. But the fact remains that their claim about LOST being necessary to obtain legal title to the oil and gas under the Extended Continental Shelf is pure fiction.
“The Obama administration has promoted the Law of the Sea treaty and seems to have bought into the false nobility of global governance,” former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said. “Why should the American people support leaders who put American interests on an equal footing with foreign interests? Aren’t they elected to represent ‘we the people,’ not we are the world?”
So if we reject LOST, are we truly outside the “family of nations?” It’s true that more than 160 nations have chosen to ratify LOST. But the United States is hardly alone. “More than 30 other nations — including Colombia, Israel, Peru and Turkey — have chosen not to ratify the convention,” writes The Heritage Foundation’s Steve Groves, an expert on LOST. “The nations that have joined LOST cannot prevent the United States or any other nation from mining the seabed, any more than they can prevent the U.S. from exercising the freedom of navigation and overflight, the freedom of fishing, or any other high seas freedom.”
President Reagan was right to reject LOST 30 years ago. The U.S. Senate should do the same thing today.
(Feulner is president of The Heritage Foundation.)
“It is an outrage.”
- Local News
- Rosedale Elementary wins $25,000 in U.S. Cellular online voting event
Cutting down on drug abuse, trafficking
Recently, I was successful in pressing the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to expand the Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), which enables our state’s law enforcement officers and officials to access additional federal resources to further their drug control and prevention efforts.
Learn how to stay in shape while still enjoying the holiday season
While the holidays can be the most wonderful time of year, with cooler weather, family gatherings and delicious foods, they can also be a minefield for those looking to maintain their weight-loss and fitness goals.
- A visit from St. Nick
Let’s improve conditions for all coal miners
On Dec. 6 each year, we pause to honor our country’s coal miners, and reflect on the sacrifices those men and women have made over the course of well over 100 years.
Tamarack staff recommends books
Whether it’s on Read to Me Day at Bradley and Rosedale elementaries, or in the break room, Tamarack staff members read for education and for entertainment year round.
Groups schedule annual holiday show for Dec. 14
The New River Youth Symphony and Chorus will present a holiday concert at Historic Fayette Theater in downtown Fayetteville on Saturday, Dec. 14.
Examining JROTC leadership programs in Fayette County and beyond our borders
JROTC programs from across West Virginia came to the Glen Jean Armory to compete against one another academically and physically.
Lively Family Amphitheater to host Christmas event Thursday
Following Oak Hill’s popular annual Christmas parade on Thursday, the Lively Family Amphitheater will get in the spirit of the season by hosting its 1st annual Christmas Event.
- Community calendar — Monday, December 9, 2013
- More Local News Headlines