Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Law of the Sea Treaty

Remarks on the Law of the Sea Treaty by Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) during a speech to the Garden Club of America on February 27th:

“In particular, I would like to take a few minutes to thank you for your advocacy on behalf of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Ratification of this treaty is vital to U.S. leadership in ocean policy. It has the support of the President, his Cabinet, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Navy, the Coast Guard, the U.S. Commission on Oceans Policy, every major ocean industry, and a broad coalition of environmental groups.

“Virtually the entire world has ratified the Law of the Sea Convention, which now serves as the accepted international basis for ocean laws and practices. The United States faces intensifying environmental, national security and economic costs if we continue to absent ourselves from the Law of the Sea. If we fail to ratify this treaty, we are allowing decisions that will affect our Navy, our ship operators, our off-shore industries, and other maritime interests to be made without U.S. representation. Our ability to claim exclusive right to our vast extended continental shelf will be seriously impeded, as will our ability to cooperate with other nations on ocean conservation issues. We will also be forced to rely on other nations to oppose excessive claims to Arctic territory by Russia and perhaps others. We will be dismissing more than a decade of impassioned advocacy from fleet commanders who have told us that U.S. participation in the Treaty will help them operate on the oceans more effectively and with less risk to the men and women they command. And we will not even be able to participate in the amendment process to this treaty, which is far more likely to impose new requirements on our Navy and ocean interests if the U.S. is absent from negotiations.

“Late last year, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the Law of the Sea Treaty by a bipartisan 17-4 vote. The treaty was also passed by the Committee in 2003. A Senate Floor vote on the Convention, thus far, has been blocked. Nevertheless, the issue awaits action by the full Senate, and I am hopeful that we will soon have the chance to vote on it.”

Comment: Right on, Senator Luger. It now time for the United States to ratify the treaty. This should not require extensive debate in the Congress, so lets see it done right away! JAD

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