U.S. ratification of UNCLOS will go a long way towards promoting international protection of the environment
Mr. Chairman, the Law of the Sea Convention is a powerful and successful environmental treaty precisely because it seeks to achieve a reasonable balance between environmental and other interests. For many years, in the law of the sea negotiations and in other fora, the United States has tried to make clear that environmental treaties must be carefully framed to produce a reasonable accommodation of diverse interests. Some people have characterized this as opposition to environmental protection. Some of the extreme rhetoric used abroad has been particularly damaging to our reputation in important allied countries. The Senate now has a signal opportunity to set the record straight. Its approval of the Convention and the Implementing Agreement would suggest that there is every reason to ensure that the multilateral agenda is pursued carefully and that, as long as it may take, at the end of the day relevant interests are reasonably accommodated. It would announce that when that is done, America will stand second to none in joining to strengthen multilateralism, to strengthen the rule of law in international affairs, and to strengthen international protection of the environment.
U.S. ratification of UNCLOS will have a positive effect on the environment as the conservation of ocean wildlife, the protection of delicate marine ecosystems, and the control of marine pollution are by their very nature multilateral issues. U.S. ratification will demonstrate U.S. commitment to address these problems in a cooperative manner at a time when some view U.S. policy as generally antithetical to multilateral arrangements. The environmental community strongly favors UNCLOS and U.S. ratification would send a message of support