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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Senate Urged to Ratify The Law Of The Sea In Highly Supported Letter

UPDATE: A report on Law of The Sea was broadcast CBS’s 60 Minutes on Sunday between 7:00-8:00 PM, ET/ PT and is available to stream on Paramount+.

A coalition of prominent former military and political leaders is advocating for the United States to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), a move aimed at advancing the country’s engagement in deep-sea mining amid escalating competition with China for critical minerals.

In a preliminary draft letter obtained by The Wall Street Journal, distinguished U.S. statespersons, retired military personnel from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and intelligence community, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte as well as Michael Chertoff and Thomas Ridge – Secretaries of Homeland Security and Gordon England and James M. Loy – Deputy Secretaries of Homeland Security. These leaders are urging the Senate to endorse the treaty. Their objective is to position the United States to assert its jurisdiction over vast expanses of international waters rich in essential minerals such as cobalt and nickel, crucial for both energy transition initiatives and national security applications.

The letter, directed to Senators Ben Cardin (D., Md.) and Jim Risch (R., Idaho), highlights the urgent need for U.S. ratification, emphasizing the potential loss of valuable deep seabed mining sites. These sites, designated by the United Nations as “USA,” hold immense strategic mineral reserves worth trillions of dollars. Failure to act swiftly risks ceding control to other nations, notably China and Russia, which have aggressively pursued their interests in securing seabed resources.

The Law of the Sea Treaty, in effect since 1994, establishes the legal framework governing maritime and marine activities. Despite recognizing its provisions, the United States has refrained from ratifying the treaty, depriving itself of a decisive voice within the International Seabed Authority (ISA), the regulatory body overseeing seabed operations in international waters. Without full membership status, the U.S. relinquishes its ability to influence seabed mining regulations and secure exploration contracts, placing it at a disadvantage compared to countries like China, which holds five such contracts.

The ISA is poised to convene next week in Kingston, Jamaica, to finalize the mining code, a comprehensive set of rules governing deep-sea mining activities. This crucial meeting underscores the pressing need for U.S. engagement to safeguard its strategic interests in maritime resources.

While deep-sea mining remains a contentious issue, proponents argue that extracting minerals from the ocean floor offers a more environmentally and socially responsible alternative to land-based mining practices. However, critics warn of potential ecological consequences and advocate for stringent safeguards to protect fragile marine ecosystems.

The letter, endorsed by 331 initial signatories, including distinguished figures like Admiral Dennis Blair and Admiral Jonathan Greenert, underscores the growing bipartisan support for deep-sea mining initiatives in the United States. Recently, Representatives Carol Miller and John Joyce introduced legislation aimed at bolstering fiscal and policy support for the industry, reflecting a broader political consensus on the imperative to counter China’s dominance in critical mineral supply chains.

“As the Chinese Communist Party tightens its grip on global mineral resources, it is imperative that we take decisive action to safeguard our security and economic interests,” remarked Representative Joyce, underscoring the urgency of the issue.

author avatar
Matt Seldon
Matt Seldon, BSc., is an Editorial Associate with HSToday. He has over 20 years of experience in writing, social media, and analytics. Matt has a degree in Computer Studies from the University of South Wales in the UK. His diverse work experience includes positions at the Department for Work and Pensions and various responsibilities for a wide variety of companies in the private sector. He has been writing and editing various blogs and online content for promotional and educational purposes in his job roles since first entering the workplace. Matt has run various social media campaigns over his career on platforms including Google, Microsoft, Facebook and LinkedIn on topics surrounding promotion and education. His educational campaigns have been on topics including charity volunteering in the public sector and personal finance goals.
Matt Seldon
Matt Seldon
Matt Seldon, BSc., is an Editorial Associate with HSToday. He has over 20 years of experience in writing, social media, and analytics. Matt has a degree in Computer Studies from the University of South Wales in the UK. His diverse work experience includes positions at the Department for Work and Pensions and various responsibilities for a wide variety of companies in the private sector. He has been writing and editing various blogs and online content for promotional and educational purposes in his job roles since first entering the workplace. Matt has run various social media campaigns over his career on platforms including Google, Microsoft, Facebook and LinkedIn on topics surrounding promotion and education. His educational campaigns have been on topics including charity volunteering in the public sector and personal finance goals.

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