International Law

Long-Stalled Law of the Sea Treaty, Dubbed 'LOST' by Critics, Is Back Before Senate

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The Law of the Sea Treaty has won ratification by more than 160 nations, but the United States isn’t one of them.

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. John Kerry, is trying once again to win ratification of the treaty negotiated 30 years ago, report the New York Times and the Associated Press. The treaty’s critics have dubbed the treaty “LOST,” which according to the Times is an “uncharitable, if apt, acronym.”

Testifying on behalf of the treaty, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said opposition is based on “ideology and mythology,” according to the AP story. There is an unfounded fear, she said, that because the treaty is a United Nations pact “the black helicopters are on their way.”

Clinton said that failure to ratify the treaty could interfere with the United States’ ability to exploit oil, gas and mineral deposits. The treaty generally provides that countries’ exclusive economic zones extend about 230 miles from the coastline.

Republicans say they object to the treaty because the United States would have to pay billions in royalties to an international authority that would give money to less developed countries. They also say it will obligate the United States to abide by the rejected Kyoto climate change treaty.

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