One of the ISA’s key functions is to redistribute royalties generated from resource production on the outer continental shelf to other countries. Treaty opponents have suggested the ISA could agree to a distribution formula that would pay out royalties to U.S. enemies.
True, the treaty does contain revenue-sharing provisions. Companies are allowed to operate royalty free for the first five years of production, then are subject to payments to the ISA of 1 percent of production value beginning in year six and increasing 1 percent per year after that, maxing out at 7 percent in year 12. But this is where opponents’ trumped-up fears about paying terrorists parts ways with reality.
As Secretary Clinton pointed out at the Foreign Relations Committee hearing, the treaty specifically provides the United States with a permanent seat on the ISA council, a key decision-making body, effectively giving us veto power over how distribution would occur.
Yes, as the Heritage Foundation reports, final decisions would be made by the ISA’s general assembly. But the assembly would only be voting on policies the council recommended unanimously, meaning we could block any proposal from even getting to a vote at the general assembly. This de facto veto power means the United States would always be able to prevent royalties from being distributed to countries we have designated as state sponsors of terrorism.
To put this in terms treaty opponents can better understand, it would be as if every senator on the Foreign Relations Committee had to approve the Law of the Sea treaty before it could be considered by the full Senate for ratification. Under those circumstances, would the treaty ever see a ratification vote?
Ask Sen. Risch. Then think about how likely it would be for the United States to approve a payment formula that would send cash to Somalia or the Palestine Liberation Organization. It’s just not going to happen.