With 34 Republican senators now opposing a United Nations effort to regulate international waters, the Law of the Sea treaty effectively has no way forward in the U.S. Senate.
Republican Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mike Johanns of Nebraska and Johnny Isakson of Georgia joined 30 other GOP members in agreeing to vote against the U.N. treaty.
South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint helped lead the conservative effort on Capitol Hill to rally senators against the treaty, which has been pushed by chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee John Kerry and notably backed by Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain.
Business groups like the American Petroleum Institute and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as well as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also support the Law of the Sea treaty, which would give unprecedented taxing and permitting authority over activity on international waters to a U.N.-created agency.
“Proponents of the Law of the Sea treaty aspire to admirable goals, including codifying the U.S. Navy’s navigational rights and defining American economic interests in valuable offshore resources. But the treaty’s terms reach well beyond those good intentions,” Ayotte and Portman wrote in a Monday letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
“This agreement is striking in both the breadth of activities it regulates and the ambiguity of obligations it creates,” the pair continued. “It’s 320 articles and over 200 pages establish a complex regulatory regime that applies to virtually any commercial or governmental activity related to the oceans — from seaborne shipping, to drug and weapon interdiction, to operation a manufacturing plant near a coastal waterway.”
A treaty needs 67 votes in the Senate to be ratified, so opponents can now defeat the treaty with 34 nay votes.
“This is a great victory for American sovereignty to finally defeat this UN treaty bill that would have enacted a backdoor Kyoto Protocol, force the U.S. to pay energy taxes to terror-supporting nations and give control over U.S. military operations to a UN tribunal,” DeMint spokesman Wesley Denton told The Daily Caller.
Other senators involved in whipping votes against the treaty also declared victory.
“There is not one concrete example that can be made where a company would benefit from our involvement in the Law of the Sea Treaty,” Sen. James Inhofe, Republican from Oklahoma, said in a statement. “Furthermore, this is the first time in history that an international organization, the U.N., would possess taxing authority, transferring potentially billions of dollars from the U.S. Treasury. The treaty also would give the U.N. the ability to regulate 70 percent of the earth’s surface.”