• Article Advocates U.S. Ratification of Law of the Sea Treaty

    A recent article on the Breaking Energy website argues that the U.S.’ failure to ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty “may, paradoxically, proscribe the US’ ability to represent its own interests in securing rights to potentially resource-rich areas” in the Arctic. The article explains that “The Law of the Sea Treaty – or more formally, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea – establishes navigational rights, territorial limits, economic and legal jurisdiction, and various other basic regulatory structures for delimiting countries’ rights in seas and oceans.”  The “US is the only country with an Arctic coastline that has not yet ratified the Law of the Sea Treaty, which could put it at a disadvantage in laying claim to what could be substantial resources on its outer continental shelf.”

    The article quotes Fran Ulmer, Chair of the US Arctic Research Commission, who told attendees of the USAEE/IAEE North American Conference in Anchorage, Alaska on July 29, 2013, that the treaty is “basically the rules of the road for how to do business, not just in the Arctic, but in other places, and how you prove out your extended continental shelf claims,” including oil and gas. According to Mr. Ulmer, “More than 160 countries have ratified the treaty, and it has had broad-based and consistent support, with proponents including the military, the oil and gas industry, several presidential administrations and the US Chamber of Commerce….The United States is undertaking the science associated with being prepared to prove its claims to the extended continental shelf, but until the Senate ratifies this treaty, we will not be able to claim those additional lands….Other nations are moving forward and proving up their claims, and the US is sitting on the sidelines without having ratified that treaty for really no good reason.”

    Click here to read the rest of the Breaking Energy article and more of Mr. Ulmer’s reasons why the U.S. should ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty.




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