U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), today pressed administration officials on the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) during a hearing that featured Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin E. Dempsey.
"For the first time in U.S. history, LOST will create an international body that can tax this country," said Inhofe. "Royalties, despite the misinformation that Chairman Kerry provided, will go from the U.S. Treasury to an international group located in Kingston, Jamaica. From there, the funds will be redistributed to the "developing world,' including to regimes that are corrupt and despotic. There could be billions, if not trillions, in resources in the Extended Continental Shelf (ECS). Using a conservative estimate of $1 trillion, that would mean $70 billion lost from the United States to a faceless international bureaucracy in what amounts to a bailout to the Third World.
"In addition, we will be opening ourselves up to non-appealable lawsuits that will allow others, including environmentalists, to sue the United States military and commercial ventures for their environmental impact on the world's oceans, and even air above. This includes capping CO2, which means this is really a back door effort to enact Cap and Trade. Even though there are not 25 votes in the U.S. Senate for a Cap and Trade bill, environmentalists are already saying they will use this treaty as their plan to achieve the regulation of Green House Gases.
"At a time when our nation faces a debt larger than $15 trillion, and billions in defense cuts, the tax levied by this UN international body could otherwise be spent improving our national defenses."
During the hearing, Inhofe asked Dempsey and Panetta which would provide a greater defense for the U.S.: transferring $70 billion in U.S. funds to an international body, or using those same funds to pay for defense systems that Obama has cut.
Inhofe pointed out that the $70 billion in U.S. funds could be used to add $3 billion to eliminate the delayed construction of the SSBN(X), the Ohio-Class Ballistic Missile Submarine Replacement Program and ensure the U.S. can maintain its continuous at-sea deterrence capability; add $12.1 billion to maintain DoD procurement at Fiscal Year 2012 levels allowing our military to continue to modernize its fleet of ships, aircraft and ground vehicles; buy additional F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and completely eliminate the Navy's strike fighter gap of 240 aircraft at a cost of $31 billion; avoid a three year carrier gap by accelerating the construction of the next Ford-class carrier as begin construction of the next Ford-class carrier at an approximate cost of $11 billion; and add an additional 6 Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense ships at a total cost of $12 billion.
Inhofe said it is hard to believe that the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs would prefer to send U.S. funds to an international body to be redistributed to the Third World instead of using those funds to provide all of the above.