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Public Statements

Disclose Act of 2012--Motion to Proceed--Continued

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. INHOFE. Madam President, I am about to make a major announcement that I think is very significant and, hopefully, would give us more time to attend to some of the problem areas we are trying to attend to, such as the Defense authorization bill, sequestration, expiring tax cuts, and all the spending bills. The announcement I would make is that we now have a letter containing 34 signatures of those who say: If you bring up the ratification of the Law of the Sea Treaty this year, we would oppose it. So we actually have 35 such signatures.

I want to make a couple of comments. I was going to talk for a little longer, but I know there are a lot of Senators wanting to get the floor. So I will try to do this in a shorter period of time.

First of all, I have been involved in this treaty for a long period of time. Way back during the Reagan administration this treaty that was actually first negotiated back in the 1970s was defeated for a variety of reasons. A lot of people are saying the reasons Reagan opposed it at that time have been answered. That is just flat not true. Ambassador James Malone, who renegotiated the lost treaty during the Reagan administration, stated:

All the provisions from the past that make such a [new world order] outcome possible, indeed likely, still stand. It is not true, as argued by some, and frequently mentioned, that the U.S. rejected the Convention in 1982 solely because of technical difficulties with part XI.

That is the seabed mining portion of it.

The Collectivist and redistributionist provisions of the treaty were at the core. .....

They are still in there today.

I think it is important to recall what happened in 2004. In 2004, when Republicans were the majority, I chaired the Committee on Environment and Public Works and was also one of the senior members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. At that time the Law of the Sea Treaty passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee without--I believe it was without a dissenting vote. I think it was 16 to 0. So we started having hearings before the two committees that were my committees, the Environment and Public Works Committee, talking about how this would subject us to other countries imposing their will on us, as well as ramifications that would affect the Senate Armed Services Committee. As a result, of course, we recall it was defeated.

We have this happening again. I do appreciate Senator Kerry and his efforts to get this through. We have had several hearings. They have been pretty lopsided. I believe the count today is there have been 16 witnesses supporting it and some 4 witnesses opposing it. That is not really important because I think it is worth mentioning a couple of things about it but then actually going into the detail as to why, if it is brought up, it could not be ratified during this year or during a lameduck session.

First of all, when I talk to someone about the problems with this I tell them this would cede authority to the United Nations over 70 percent of the surface of the Earth, along with the air above it. I remember one time a witness came--this was back during the Bush administration which was supporting the treaty, but I asked the question, I said: If you have 70 percent of the surface area, does that mean you also have 70 percent of the air above it? They could not answer that question. Now I think it is pretty well understood that would be the case.

I tell people three things: First of all, we would be submitting our sovereignty, surrendering it to the United Nations, over 70 percent. That really is enough. But when we talk about the fact that for the first time in the history of this country it authorized the United Nations to have taxing authority over the United States of America, people go ballistic. That is something that is not conceivable we would even be considering.

Then when we are talking about the lawsuits, how we have lawsuits we could be facing--let me be a little more specific.

The area that is in controversy in terms of its ability to tax or otherwise get royalties from the United States, would otherwise go to the United States and put those into the United Nations, is an area called the Extended Continental Shelf. That would be in excess of 200 nautical miles offshore. Nothing within this treaty is going to affect this within the 200 miles, but outside it would be.

As it is right now, it is important to understand how the royalties are paid at the present time. The royalties the United States usually collects from the Extended Continental Shelf is an amount between 12.5 percent and 18.75 percent. The reason there is a disparity between those is because the royalties go along with how much money can be made out there if things go well and how deep it is, how far out it is, how expensive it is to drill, and all of that. So the range the United States currently collects is between 12.5 percent and 18.75 percent from the Extended Continental Shelf.

Under article 82, if we pass the Law of the Sea Treaty, at the end of the 12th year, 7 percent of the royalties would be taken away from the United States--that is roughly half the royalties we would have--and given to the International Seabed Authority to redistribute those in accordance with whatever they want to do. It is not specific. This all would take place in Kingston, Jamaica, of all places, where they would make this redistribution of wealth. I have often said that is something the United Nations has always desired; that is, to have the ability to redistribute the wealth.

It is hard to say what amount would fall into the royalties within the Extended Continental Shelf. There is a group that was appointed to try to approximate these things, and they have said it would be in the hundreds of billions or maybe even in the trillions.

For each trillion that would be in production, that would equal about $70 billion that would be taken out of the U.S. Treasury and put into the United Nations, sent to the Seabed Authority in Kingston, Jamaica, to be redistributed around the world in accordance with whatever criteria they would have. That is a huge amount, and it is very significant, and it is specific that the figure would be up to 7 percent after the 12th year. That is a very significant amount.

When we stop and think about it, we have been talking about how we can come up with $1 trillion in the next 10 years. Now all of a sudden we have an amount that could come close to equaling that just from losing our royalties that would otherwise come to the United States of America. Of course, there is the lawsuits. I think this is significant. Under the Law of the Sea Treaty, any country could sue the United States in an international tribunal and not in the U.S. courts.

In other words, we could be subjected to lawsuits from other countries. There are already a number of Pacific Island nations that intend to sue the United States for environmental damage to their seas and air if the United States joins the Law of the Sea Treaty. In other words, we would be voluntarily allowing people to sue the United States on what they would allege to be environmental damages.

The members of the convention and regulations to prevent pollution in maritime is very specific. Article 212 of the Law of the Sea Treaty states to ``adopt laws and regulations to prevent, reduce, and control pollution of the marine environment from or through the atmosphere, applicable to the air space under their sovereignty''--we are talking about the United Nations--``and to vessels flying their flag or vessels or aircraft of their registry, taking into account internationally agreed rules, standards and recommended practices.''

If the EPA--as we found out in their endangerment finding--is able to declare an endangerment, just imagine what they could do under this case. In fact, article 235 states that countries ``are responsible for the fulfillment of their international obligations concerning the protection and preservation of the marine environment. They shall be liable in accordance with international law.''

That is why we have so many of the far-left environmental groups, such as Greenpeace, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Environmental Defense Fund, and all of them fervently supporting this treaty because they want to use it admittedly to bring the United States and all other countries into conformity with their environmental agenda.

I am going to submit this for the Record. It is interesting because we have, for example, Andrew Strauss, who is a law professor and is very well known, who states that the U.S. rejection of the Kyoto Protocol ``makes the United States the most logical first country target of a global warming lawsuit in international forum.''

I commend to the attention of my colleagues the various legal entities that are rejoicing about the fact that they might be able to sue this country.

I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record a letter signed by 31 Members of the Senate stating that they will object to and vote against any ratification effort that would take place this year. It doesn't restrict it to this year. There are 31 Members.

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Mr. INHOFE. I also have a statement from the Web site of Senator Isakson, and I was given permission to speak on behalf of Lamar Alexander, that while he hasn't taken a position on the Law of the Sea Treaty, he does object to having it brought up this year. So we have 35 Members of the Senate who have stated they would object if it is brought up before the Senate this year.

So with these items I referenced included as a part of the Record, I would like to say that something isn't going to happen this year. It could be they want to bring it up, and that is up to the leader. If he desires to do so, of course, he could do it. If it does come up, it will take a lot of time from other business that this body should address.

With that, I would only say there are some 35 Members--and many more I might suggest--who would vote against it should it come up.

I have used my time, and I yield the floor.

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