Bill Eichbaum, vice president, Marine and Arctic Policy, at the World Wildlife Fund, said that such a scenario would be easier to grapple with as a member of the Convention.
“In terms of the environmental communities, the fact is today, under the Treaty, there is a regime for managing claims for deep seabed mining,” he said. “Countries and companies are pursuing those claims and going forward, and the United States is [not pres- ent] for managing that system.
“One of the things we believe is that the United States tends to be, as compared with most other countries, a pretty good environmental steward. And, so, if the United States was at the table helping to set the standards, helping to set the regulatory scheme, it would probably be, from an environmental perspective, better than it is likely to be with the United States not at the table,” he said.
“What many observers fail to understand about Law of the Sea is that the Convention already forms the basis of maritime law regardless of whether the United States is a party,” Lugar said in opening remarks at the May hearings. “International decisions related to resource exploitation, navigation rights and other mat- ters will be made in the context of the Convention, whether we join or not. Because of this, there is virtual unanimity in favor of this treaty among people who actually deal with oceans on a daily basis and invest their money in job-creating activities on the oceans.”