UNCLOS obligates states that mine the seabed to provide funds to subsidize its land-based competitors
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If our supposed legal gains from the treaty are in fact losses, what of the acknowledged economic losses? These are admittedly less severe than those proposed in 1982, but they are still unjustifiable and, worse, capable of expansion as the ISA gets into its stride. Thus, if the U.S. wished to drill or mine on the continental shelf beyond a 200-mile limit, it would have to provide a percentage of its revenue, rising from 1 to 7 percent annually, to the Deep Seabed Authority established by the ISA to superintend such commercial exploita- tion. As Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy has vainly tried to explain to U.S. corporations, a company wishing to mine the deep sea has an obligation to set aside an area where the ISA can develop its own mining with financial and technologi- cal assistance from its commercial rival. The ISA is itself obliged by its UNCLOS charter to ensure that the seabed resources are used for the general benefit of mankind. What this means in practice is that the ISA would provide economic assistance to what have been described as “developing countries which suffer serious adverse effects on their export earnings” from deep-sea-bed mining. In other words, nations and companies that engage in com- mercial mining must subsidize their rivals and competitors.
By ratifying UNCLOS, the U.S. would be subjecting its resource extraction industries to control by the United Nations. Furthermore, these industries would be assessed a royalty fee on these resources that the International Seabed Authority would redistribute to other states, possibly counter to U.S. national security interests.