Minimal benefit over status quo of U.S. having seat on CLCS
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Is having a seat on the CLCS an important enough reason to join the Convention? Would having a seat on the CLCS really put the United States Government in a position to have a say in deliberations over other nations’ extended continental shelf claims? Again, the answer to both of those questions is, “no.” The CLCS was established to help facilitate the implementation of Article 76. As a body of scientific experts, however, the CLCS does not have veto power over coastal state submissions. It may only make rec- ommendations to the coastal state on matters related to the establishment of the outer limits of its continental shelf. Coastal states may accept or reject these recommendations. Annex II (Article 8) to the Convention and CLCS Rules of Procedure (Rule 53) simply require the coastal state to make a revised or new submission in the case of disagreement with the recommen- dations of the Commission. Additionally, Annex II (Article 2) limits the membership of the CLCS to 21 experts, so there is no guarantee that a U.S. representative would be elected to the Commission even if the United States was a party to the Convention. Moreover, even if elected, the U.S. repre- sentative would serve in a personal capacity (Annex II, Article 2(1); CLCS Rules of Procedure (Rule 11)) and would be precluded from voting on any submission tendered by the United States (Annex II, Article 5; CLCS Rules of Procedure (Rule 42)). Having a seat at the table on the CLCS would not put the U.S. Government in a position to have a say in deliberations over other nations’ claims and would therefore have minimal benefit for the United States. "
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.