by Ashe Schow
Has Senator Kerry flip-flopped? It’s hard to tell, but whether you’re on the right or left or somewhere in between, his claims about the treaty deserve scrutiny.
Here’s a noodle-scratcher for you: Senator John Kerry (D-MA) – a self-proclaimed environmentalist and strident believer in manmade global warming – is apparently carrying water for America’s oil and natural gas companies.
What could Senator Kerry and “Big Oil” have in common? They both support the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), which cedes America’s sovereignty and royalties to a United Nation’s subsidiary.
According to a source familiar with his sales pitch to Republicans and conservatives, Senator Kerry claims that “in 5 years most of the Arctic ice will have been melted due to climate change, opening up vast new shipping lanes that will give access to resources that were unreachable before. China and Russia have been pushing to get at those resources. We need to make sure our oil and gas companies have the certainty they need to develop our resources in the Arctic.”
Senator Kerry is trying to sell LOST as a pro-business and pro-energy treaty. Essentially, oil and gas companies cannot have business certainty – especially in the Arctic – without this treaty. It is a finely calculated pitch, pulling in conservative rhetoric on taxes (“certainty”) and the GOP’s fight to expand production of oil and gas resources.
Many in the environmental movement would be surprised to learn that Senator Kerry’s lobbying is remarkably similar to the pitch made by the oil companies lobbying for LOST. Last year, an oil company executive testified before Congress on the benefits of the treaty, as it related to the oil and gas industries.
Regardless of the merits of their arguments as it relates to their business model, the implications of LOST are much broader, and the invested interests are very diverse and often contradictory. The real question Americans, lawmakers and the media should be asking is whether Senator Kerry is shilling for “Big Oil” or simply playing both sides of the aisle. Remember, groups such as the World Wildlife Fund, Ocean Conservancy, Defenders of Wildlife, Oceana and a host of other environmental groups have lobbied on behalf of the treaty.
On one hand, he is ginning up environmentalists who believe this treaty will “protect” the Arctic; and on the other, he is telling Republicans that it is pro-business and pro-energy.