The U.S. can exercise its rights under the 1958 Convention on the High Seas to assert that it is permitted to mine and navigate in its Extended Continental Shelf. Ratifying UNCLOS would constrict the ability of the U.S. to respond to challenges to these rights by forcing all further negotiation to occur through the CLCS.
- U.S. should assert its rights to develop in the Arctic by invoking the existing convention on the high seas
- US can still legally assert a claim in the Arctic without being party to UNCLOS
- U.S. scuttling of Russia's initial Arctic claim shows it can still influence CLCS as a non member
- US successful experience with challenging Russia's claim shows that even as a non party to UNCLOS the US is not a helpless bystander to CLCS
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The United States cannot currently participate in the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, which oversees ocean delineation on the outer limits of the extended continental shelf (outer continental shelf). Even though it is collecting scientific evidence to support eventual claims off its Atlantic, Gulf, and Alaskan coasts, the United States, without becoming party to the convention, has no standing in the CLCS.
- Assertions of legal rights to arctic resources have dubious legal standing while us remains outside of UNCLOS
- US will have no capacity to challenge CLCS claims unless it is a full member of UNCLOS
- Seat on CLCS council valuable in that it allows US to take part in discussions and engage other participants
- By remaining outside of convention, US is unable to engage in disputes over Arctic claims within framework
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