The U.N. Law of the Sea Treaty, which passed the Senate Foreign Relations committee with a unanimous vote in 2004 but failed to receive the necessary two-thirds majority in the full Senate, is already in for a bigger fight this year. Longtime treaty critic Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) now sits on the committee, as do staunch conservatives including Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), James Risch (R-Idaho) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), all of whom expressed opposition to the treaty at a recent hearing.
“I think we’re in pretty good shape,‚?Ě Inhofe told Human Events. “If you look at the committee, the vast majority of Republicans on the committee were opposed to the ratification. I can assure you that there will be seven Republicans that will be voting against it.‚?Ě
Inhofe said a provision whereby an international authority would collect royalties for oil and gas production and other activities on the continental shelf, then redistribute proceeds to treaty members, would represent the first multi-national tax levied on the U.S. He’s convinced that others will see it his way if the facts are laid out clearly.
“I said to (Committee Chairman Sen. John Kerry) that I wanted at least one hearing with witnesses that are against (the treaty),‚?Ě Inhofe said. “And he said, ‘I’ll do it.’‚?Ě
Inhofe has requested that former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton and Heritage Foundation fellow Steven Groves sit on the panel; Kerry mentioned the president of the Heritage Foundation, Ed Feulner, as a third member.
While some have said the treaty will gain traction with Republicans during the November lame duck session, Inhofe believes the opposite: that moderate Democrats will be emboldened to oppose the treaty after the elections. “To give up jurisdiction over 70 percent of the earth’s surface to the United Nations is something that we are not going to let happen,‚?Ě Inhofe said.
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