Voting in ISA already beset by corruption and vote dilution
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Voting in the ISA so far gives no reason for optimism. Electing members to the dominant Council has proven to be no easy task, with substantial disagreement over membership criteria and political horse- trading.9 For instance, in 1996 there were 22 candidates for 15 seats on the Legal and Technical Commission. But the Council, rather than select from this pool, simply expanded the membership to 22. Five years later there were 24 candidates in the election, so the Council again increased the size of the panel. During the 2004 election for ISA Secretary-General, substantial pressure was applied to the three candidates who were apparently trailing to withdraw to avoid having a contested election.10
The revised treaty retains the ISA’s ability to impose production controls. Negotiators excised provisions that set a convoluted ceiling on seabed production, but they preserved Article 150, which, among other things, states that the ISA is to ensure “the protection of developing countries from adverse effects on their economies or on their export earnings resulting from a reduction in the price of an affected mineral, or in the volume of exports of that mineral.”
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.