U.S. can pursue its claims in the Arctic without being a party to UNCLOS through bilateral agreements
[ Page 4 ]
LOST in the Arctic. The U.S. Arctic Region Pol- icy urges the Senate to approve U.S. accession to LOST. However, the U.S. can execute its Arctic policy without ratifying LOST.
At present, America is not bound by the treaty’s procedures and strictures, but the U.S. is pursuing its claims under international law as an indepen- dent, sovereign nation, relying on President Harry S. Truman’s Presidential Proclamation No. 2667, which declares that any hydrocarbon or other resources discovered beneath the U.S. continental shelf are the property of the United States.4 The U.S. has shown that it can successfully defend its rights and claims through bilateral negotiations and in multi- lateral venues, such as through the Arctic Ocean Conference, which met in Greenland in May 2008.
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.
The United States can successfully pursue its national interests regarding its extended continental shelf by negotiating on a bilateral basis with nations with which it shares maritime borders to delimit and mutually recognize each other’s maritime and ECS boundaries.