The Law of the Sea and Its Effects On Offshore Mining
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea—the US military backs it, the oil industry loves it, and Senators Murkowski and Begich support it. Hell, even the environmentalists are behind this piece of legislation. So why won’t Congress ratify this treaty and put this issue to bed?
In June of 2012, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held an array of hearings on UNCLOS to drum up congressional support for the Convention’s ratification. Senator John Kerry lead the charge and invited key players from the oil and gas, telecommunications, offshore mining, manufacturing, shipping, environmental, and tourism industries. Their argument was straightforward: without a universally recognized legal regime governing the exploitation of the mineral resources of the deep-sea beyond the zones of national jurisdictions, US companies would not assume the investment rights associated with such projects until it was clear who had “clear legal title” to the resources extracted. Uniformly, these industry leaders testified that accession to UNCLOS would provide such clarity, which would subsequently create jobs, protect the environment, and ultimately lead to a stronger US economy.