Bureaucrats Plan to Execute the Beringia Treaty This Month Without Senate Ratification As the Congress Ignores Another Erosion of Its Constitutional Responsibility


Commentary by

Dave Harbour

According to our reliable Wikipedia source, "A treaty is an express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations.  A treaty may also be known as an international  agreement, protocol, covenant, convention or exchange of letters, among other terms. Regardless of terminology, all of these forms of agreements are, under international law, equally considered treaties and the rules are the same."   Properly following the treaty process is part of America's adherence to the "rule of law".

The United States Park Service, an arm of Secretary Ken Salazar's Department of Interior (DOI), is being employed — along with Secretary Hillary Clinton's State Department — to create additional use restrictions in the Arctic via an illegal international treaty that Russian and Obama Administration officials may approve as soon as this month.  

Map Source Here


Beringia MapAlaska's Lieutenant Governor, Mead Treadwell, and various non-profits have attended Bringia meetings, so the idea of the U.S. and Russia doing something to honor their historical and geographical relationship in the ancient "Asia-Alaska Land Bridge" area is not new.  And, we are aware that Treadwell has also kept a wary eye on the whole proceeding, alert to Alaska and U.S. interests.  But, to date, the public has not seen a copy of a pending agreement and the U.S. Senate is not preparing for ratification–even though "…the issue is a priority at the highest levels."   

Our reliable source again notes that, "In the US, the treaty power is a coordinated effort between the Executive branch and the Senate. The President may form and negotiate a treaty, but the treaty must be advised and consented to by a two-thirds vote in the Senate."   An administration that does not observe the rule of law applying to treaty ratification acts illegally and debases America's rule of law.

We have documented herein how DOI and sister agencies have expertly executed President Obama's restrictive environmental agenda of closing public lands to multiple use, closing natural resource access to public lands, blocking access to lawfully issued natural resource leases using regulatory, legal and political obstructionist techniques.  

The Beringia agreement — while begun under earlier Administrations — is yet another layer of regulatory malaise this Administration will employ to smother the economic and job recovery of America.  It will violate our treaty ratification process and set America up via Park Service and/or State Department rules to enforce American compliance while the Russians may or may not be willing now and in the future to help enforce treaty provisions on their side of the fence.   It will very comfortably augment the current Administration's effort to impose further restrictions on ANWR and NPR-A, to establish critical habitat for species whose numbers are growing and to create a new omnibus zoning plan for restricting access to and use of oceans surrounding America–and the watersheads feeding the oceans. 

We wonder just what blocked access to natural resources, ocean transport limitations, or emasculated national defense capabilities to which this Administration might be committing America.  It's all in the hands of these unelected bureaucrats, guided by Salazar and Clinton at Obama's direction with advice and consent — we can be confident — from a few, well connected, special interest, environmental allies which together make up the Government-Enviroextremist Cabal.

Shame on Congress in general and the Senate leadership in particular for letting this matter move so far ahead, so far under their radar!  Where are the press conferences?  Where in the Congressional Record is news or the language of this proposed treaty?  Where is a well publicized hearing schedule to attract comment on the treaty language?  Could this agreement affect existing jobs and/or operations (i.e. Red Dog mine)?  As the Administration seeks to block access through NPR-A for a Chukchi and/or Beaufort Sea oil pipeline is it now planning to block the ability to move any discovered oil by ocean transport?  Why didn't the State Department seek the State of Alaska's formal advice and consent?

A saving grace may be in the form of a rumor we hear that Russian governmental and Yupik leaders along with some Alaska Natives, Alaska's state government and others are 'pushing back' on the Beringia treaty.  But with or without Congressional approval or budgetary support, Secretary Salazar's Park Service and Secretary Clinton's State Department are spending agency time and money trying to accomplish the Beringia goal before the end of this month, before the national elections in November.

We hope wiser minds will mobilize and stop this newest Administration assault on the State of Alaska, on national security and sovereignty, on the U.S. economy, on the freedom of Americans, on the treaty ratification process and on the reputation of  America's "rule of law".

ADN by Lisa Demer.  A Norwegian oil and gas company is delaying plans to explore for oil offshore in the Alaska Arctic until at least 2015 because of concerns about regulatory challenges faced by rival and sometimes partner Shell Oil Co., according to a company spokesman.  The decision by Statoil came in August, before federal regulators decided to allow Shell to drill in the Chukchi Sea, but that development doesn't change things, said Jim Schwartz, a Houston-based spokesman for Statoil.  "The bottom line is, in light of the significant uncertainty regarding Alaska offshore exploration, we've decided to take what we believe is a prudent step of observing the outcome of Shell's efforts before finalizing our own exploration decision time frame," Schwartz said.