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Opposition to Law of the Sea Treaty heats up

Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerOn The Trail: Democrats plan to hammer Trump on Social Security, Medicare Lobbying World Democrats spend big to put Senate in play MORE (R-Nev.) on Friday became the 27th senator to sign on to a letter opposing passage of the Law of the Sea Treaty, leaving opponents just seven votes shy of the 34 votes opponents need to doom passage of the UN maritime convention.

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“We are writing to let you know that we believe this Convention reflects political, economic, and ideological assumptions which are inconsistent with American values and sovereignty,” reads the letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidNevada looks to shake up presidential primary calendar Biden turns focus to next priority with infrastructure talks How to pass legislation in the Senate without eliminating the filibuster MORE (D-Nev.).

U.S. accession to the 30-year-old treaty is championed by the U.S. Navy and oil and gas industries, who say it's in the United States' interest to be able to craft international maritime law. Critics say it could force the U.S. to abide by international restrictions on carbon emissions and force American companies to pay royalties to a United Nations body.

The full text of the letter is below:


The Honorable Harry Reid

Majority Leader

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510


Dear Mr. Leader,


We understand that Chairman Kerry has renewed his efforts to pursue Senate ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. We are writing to let you know that we believe this Convention reflects political, economic, and ideological assumptions which are inconsistent with American values and sovereignty.


By its current terms, the Law of the Sea Convention encompasses economic and technology interests in the deep sea, redistribution of wealth from developed to undeveloped nations, freedom of navigation in the deep sea and exclusive economic zones which may impact maritime security, and environmental regulation over virtually all sources of pollution.


To effect the treaty’s broad regime of governance, we are particularly concerned that United States sovereignty could be subjugated in many areas to a supranational government that is chartered by the United Nations under the 1982 Convention. Further, we are troubled that compulsory dispute resolution could pertain to public and private activities including law enforcement, maritime security, business operations, and nonmilitary activities performed aboard military vessels.


If this treaty comes to the floor, we will oppose its ratification.


Sincerely yours,


Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.)

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Dean Heller (R-Nev.)