Russia's claim to arctic ECS hews closely to same lines demarcated in 1990 bilateral treaty
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Much of the supposed distress voiced by UNCLOS proponents stems from Russia’s 2001 submission to the CLCS, in which Russia laid claim to a vast area of Arctic ECS. The proponents incorrectly imply that Russia’s claim will result in the loss of Arctic resources that rightfully belong to the United States. According to Senator Lisa Murkowski (R–AK), for example:
[I]f we do not become a party to the treaty, our opportunity to make [a claim to the CLCS] and have the international community respect it diminishes considerably, as does our ability to prevent claims like Russia’s from coming into fruition. Not only is this a negligent forfeiture of valuable oil, gas and mineral deposits, but also the ability to perform critical scientific research.30
However, Russia’s 2001 submission to the CLCS in no way overlaps or infringes on potential areas of U.S. ECS in the Arctic. To the contrary, Russia’s claim adheres to a boundary line that the United States and the USSR agreed upon in a 1990 treaty.31 Specifically, Russia’s submission to the CLCS divides its claimed conti- nental shelf and ECS from the U.S. shelf along an agreed boundary line that extends from the Bering Strait northward into the Arctic Ocean.
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.