23 May Senate Will Delay UNCLOS Vote Until After November Election
So says the WSJ’s account of today’s hearing on US ratification of UNCLOS. I still haven’t found the 193 minutes I would need to watch today’s UNCLOS hearing, but it seems like there is still some Republican opposition (remember it only takes 34 votes to block the treaty).
Wednesday’s hearing demonstrated the continued skepticism among Republicans toward the treaty. Sen. Robert Corker (R., Tenn.) said he hadn’t made a decision on ratification, but questioned how the Obama administration, which has been critical of the oil industry, could cite oil exploration in support of ratification. “My antennae are up,” he said.
Other Republicans said they suspected the treaty would impinge on American sovereignty, for instance, by forcing the U.S. to agree to international emissions controls to comply with treaty provisions on pollution over the oceans.
Sen. James Risch (R., Idaho), argued the treaty’s royalty-sharing provisions would essentially tax companies exploring the seabed, sending proceeds to developing nations and ceding American taxing authority to the United Nations. “My problem is with sovereignty,” he said. “If we give up one scintilla of sovereignty the country has fought for… I can’t vote for it.”
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.) predicted the U.S. would have to give up more than $70 billion in royalties. “For the first time an international organization, in this case the United Nations, would have taxing authority over the U.S.,” Mr. Inhofe said.