Bush Administration Law of the Sea Treaty Defense Inaccurate

Husband David has a letter in today’s Washington Times. It corrects factual errors in a June 13 op-ed by deputy secretary of state John Negroponte and deputy secretary of defense Gordon England defending the Bush Administration’s decision to ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty.

Said David:

The op-ed by John D. Negroponte and Gordon England “Reap the bounty,” (Wednesday) contained a number of inaccuracies.

They state that by assigning responsibility for maritime zones, the treaty would improve protections for the environment. It could do just the opposite. It requires, for example, that nations either harvest their entire allowable catch in certain areas or give the surplus to other nations. Such a use it or lose it policy is reminiscent of federal grazing policy, which until recently required ranchers to use their forage rights or lose them. Because ranchers lacked the flexibility to remove cattle for extended periods, overgrazing resulted.

Mr. Negroponte and Mr. England also suggest that ratification is needed to have legal certainty of such maritime rights as “innocent passage.” They’re wrong in two ways: Such rights already exist under the 1958 Convention on the Territorial Sea, and the treaty governs the behavior of signatories — currently numbering more than 150 nations — regardless of whether the United States accedes to the treaty.

Finally, they suggest the treaty would bolster U.S. national security. Instead, it would complicate some of these efforts by subjecting certain actions to judgment by an international tribunal.

The Law of the Sea treaty should be scuttled.

Vice President
The National Center for Public Policy Research

It is interesting to me that we haven’t heard any environmental organizations speaking out against the possibility of United Nations-mandated overfishing, as David warns could happen under Law of the Sea.

Go here here for lots more reasons to worry about the Bush Administration’s perplexing support for the Law of the Sea Treaty.

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