Scribe first reported that former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MI) is now lobbying for corporate and environmental interests on behalf of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, also known as the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST).
His lobbying efforts stand in stark contrast to his position while in the Senate, when he warned that LOST would create a “U.N. on steroids.” Ratification of LOST, he warned in 2007, would “cede our national sovereignty – both militarily and economically” by subjecting maritime disputes to U.N. authority.
While LOST’s prospects seemed dim, lately “hopes for ratification have been revived,” according to Congressional Quarterly. Chief among the forces advancing ratification has been Lott’s lobbying work.
“One reason for the treaty advocates’ new optimism is the support from former Mississippi Republican Sen. Trent Lott,” writes CQ. “Seeing Trent Lott in the room, I feel a hell of a lot better about the chances for ratification,” said Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who has been pushing hard for ratification.
Lobbying disclosure forms show that Lott is working on behalf of Shell Oil and Pike Associates, another lobbying firm with ties to the environmentalist movement.
Shell insists that LOST would grant the U.S. sovereignty over its continental waters. But as the Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney pointed out, “multinational companies prefer global regulation to national regulation.”
“Such uniformity wipes out any home-field advantage local companies might have over the big guys,” Carney explained, “and so even if the total regulatory burden is heavier, it’s still easier to navigate.”
As for the environmental interests lobbying for the treaty, LOST would give the United Nations the authority to impose environmental sanctions on the United States, as Heritage’s Kim Holmes explained.
“Opportunistic nations would lodge any number of specious allegations, charging anything from environmental degradation to poisoning the ocean with carbon emissions,” noted Holmes. “The U.S. would be treaty-bound to adhere to whatever decisions are handed down.”
Lott himself offered notable and legitimate objections to the treaty’s ratification. But his subsequent work in favor of LOST may be enough to revive the measure in the Senate. If LOST becomes law, Lott will have played no small part in the effort.