A stealth effort is underway to convince conservatives the United Nations Law of the Sea treaty is needed to protect the very thing the Reagan Administration believed it wouldn’t—American sovereignty.

Jim_DeMint__R_SCMembers of the misnamed American Sovereignty Campaign (TASC) are working to achieve radical environmental goals that would cripple America’s energy economy under a guise of patriotic values. As Senator DeMint details in an op-ed in The Hill today, LOST would compel the U.S. to follow United Nations standards on air pollution, including carbon emissions, and allow other nations to sue the U.S. if it does not adhere to those guidelines.

TASC touts numerous environmental groups in support of LOST, but omits the fact they support the treaty because it forces the U.S. to abide by international climate guidelines. It’s clear that after failing to pass cap and trade laws, or ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, LOST has become the liberals’ last hope of regulating U.S. energy.

Groups championing LOST under the umbrella of TASC include:

·         Pew Charitable Trusts, a champion of cap and trade laws that cites environmental concerns as a chief reason to support LOST.

·         A Better World Campaign founded by CNN’s Ted Turner to support United Nations-related causes and the National Resources Defense Council, an environmental group that helped write the Democrats’ failed cap and trade bill.

·         TASC plugs the Council on Foreign Relations, which published a 2009 report on LOST that argued the treaty should be ratified in order to stop the rise of greenhouse gases from energy use. The CFR report,posted on the TASC site, states that “Oceans are among the first casualties of increased greenhouse-gas emissions,” that “with rising levels of atmospheric CO2, the seas are being asked to absorb more carbon than ever before,” and concludes that LOST creates “a framework for further developing measures to prevent, reduce, and control pollution globally, regionally, and nationally.”

·         The Joint Ocean Commission Initiative, a TASC member group committed to cap and trade policies, whose leadership now includes liberal John Podesta and was once led by Leon Panetta,  who is now Secretary of Defense. In his capacity as JOCI co-chairman, Panetta penned an op-ed for the Washington Post promoting the treaty for environmental reasons.  “The United States is one of the few nations that has failed to accede to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, essentially a global-scale version of our various regional alliances,” he wrote. “Joining the convention would ensure that the United States has a stake in decisions that affect the health of our oceans.”

·         The World Wildlife Fundhas told their environmental activists that LOST “serves as a dynamic, living constitution for the world’s oceans.” WWF further states that the “combined stresses of overfishing, wildlife trade, pollution, and climate change have put the world’s oceans and the plant and animal species they sustain in peril.” WWF calls for ratification of LOST because the “treaty sets standards and calls for establishing global and regional rules to help govern the conservation, protection and management of marine species.”

·         The Center for International Environmental Law says: “Land-based pollution, entering the oceans through rivers and deposition of air pollution, is currently the major source of marine pollution, accounting for over 80 percent of the total load of contaminants and pollutants entering the ocean. Several international instruments address water pollution issues, such as … the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)… UNCLOS stipulates that measures shall prevent, reduce and control pollution from land-based sources, seabed activities subject to national jurisdiction, activities in the high sea area, dumping, vessels, and the atmosphere.”

·         Defenders of Wildlife says: “The eight-year failure of this administration to work with the rest of the world to seriously address emissions of greenhouse gas pollution will make solving the problem of global warming, and saving wildlife and habitat from its impacts, even more difficult. Similarly, the failure of the outgoing administration to secure Senate ratification of the Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Convention on Biological Diversity, two global agreements that are critically important to protecting wildlife and its habitat…”

If LOST should be passed for environmental reasons, supporters should make that case. But, it raises suspicion when that case is not consistently made and so drastically altered for different audiences.

27 Republican senators have pledged to oppose LOST ratification in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Their concerns echo the same arguments President Reagan made in explaining his reasons for rejecting LOST.

Ed Meese, former Attorney General under Reagan, pointed out that Reagan long opposed LOST because of its threat to U.S. sovereignty, stating in a 1978 radio address that “no nat[ional] interest of ours could justify handing sovereign control of two-thirds of the Earth’s surface over to the Third World.”

Just as it was in 1978, it is today.

LOST means losing sovereignty. No liberal environmental groups, even one that hides behind the alias American Sovereignty Campaign, can distort the text of the treaty to mean otherwise.