Law of the Sea Treaty May Deliver More Than Expected


I agree with Edwin Williamson that the Law of the Sea Treaty "should not be blindly ratified" ("Law of the Sea Treaty is Good for U.S.," Letters, Oct. 6). Yet Mr. Williamson reveals too much about his pro-LOST thesis by the proffered condition that it not be "blindly ratified." He says that "if combined with reform of our domestic energy policy," ratification of this relic from the days of ascendant socialism is a worthy endeavor. Two cheers for this implicit acknowledgment that, at least without first attaining that undefined yet inarguably daunting technicality, LOST ratification should not be considered.

This also reminds one of a particularly treacherous aspect of the pact not addressed by John Bolton and Dan Blumenthal in their Sept. 29 piece to which Mr. Williamson responds.

Sec. 207, "Pollution from land-based sources," reveals that LOST is a sweeping regime cracking down on all activities arguably depositing pollutants into the seas. Under the precautionary principle, which LOST adopts, allegation is sufficient to establish the offense. With "ocean acidification" the latest nominee to supplant troubled CO2-warming theory, LOST supplants the failed Koyoto Treaty. It invites attacks on, e.g., America's transport and energy policies, claiming our cars and coal-fired power plants contribute to the latest claimed phenomenon, "acidification."

Sec. 213, "Enforcement with respect to pollution from land-based sources," ultimately rests with LOST's own tribunal. That is a power grab not even the Kyoto Treaty dared attempt. The U.S. rejects Kyoto; why would we join Kyoto with a court? In a rational world, thus ends renewed discussion about America ratifying LOST. In the real world, the best we can hope for is an honest debate, followed by burial of this titanic mistake at sea.