U.S. is not sacrificing any of its rights or sovereignty by agreeing to abide by convention and regulation by the ISA
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Myth: The United States is giving up sovereignty to a new international authority that will control the oceans.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The United States does not give up an ounce of sovereignty in this Convention. Rather, the Convention solidifies a truly massive increase in resource and economic jurisdiction of the United States, not only to 200 nautical miles off our coasts, but to a broad continental margin in many areas even beyond that. The new International Seabed Authority created by this Convention, which, as noted, has existed for a decade and will continue to exist regardless of United States actions, deals solely with the mineral resources of the deep seabed beyond national jurisdiction. That is an area in which we not only have no sovereignty but also in which we and the entire world have opposed extension of national sovereignty claims. Moreover, to mine the deep seabed minerals requires security of tenure for the billion dollar plus costs of such an operation. Our industry has emphatically told us that they can not mine under a 'fishing approach' in which everyone simply goes out to seize the minerals. The Authority was a necessary specialized agency, of strictly limited jurisdiction, to deal with this need for security of tenure. Quite contrary to the recent testimony of one witness before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, the Seabed Authority would not have "the exclusive right to regulate what is done, by whom, when and under what circumstances in subsurface international waters and on the sea-floor."5 Rather, the Authority is a small, narrowly mandated specialized international agency that, emphatically, has no ability to control the water column and only has functional authority over the mining of the minerals of the deep seabed beyond national jurisdiction. Again, this is a necessary requirement for seabed mining, in an area beyond where any nation has sovereignty, to provide security of tenure to mine sites, without which mining will not occur6;
The sovereignty costs associated with the Convention are grossly overstated primarily because many of these costs have already been accepted by the United States. In addition, the U.S. stands to gain sovereignty over 4.1 million square miles of territory by acceeding to the treaty.