U.S. needs to ratify UNCLOS to take full advantage of resources along its extended shelf
The United States has one of the largest continental shelves in the world; in the Arctic, for example, our shelf could run as far as 600 miles from the coastline. However, as noted, we have no access to the Commission, whose recommendations would facilitate the full exercise of our sovereign rights – whether we use them to explore and exploit natural resources, prevent other countries from doing so, or otherwise. In the absence of the international recognition and legal certainty that the Convention provides, U.S. companies are unlikely to secure the necessary financing and insurance to exploit energy resources on the extended shelf, and we will be less able to keep other countries from exploiting them.
Joining the Convention provides other economic benefits: it also gives coastal States the right to claim an exclusive economic zone (“EEZ”) out to 200 nautical miles. That gives the United States, with its extensive coastline, the largest EEZ of any country in the world. In this vast area, we have sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring, exploiting, conserving, and managing living and non-living natural resources.