The Law of the Sea Treaty (“LOS” or “Treaty”), currently pending before the U.S. Senate, could potentially be ratified during the “lame-duck” session after the upcoming election. Many provisions of the Treaty may have far reaching impacts on the business community and the U.S. economy at large, as the Treaty could open up access to potentially vast reserves of natural resources that were previously outside our nation’s territorial reach. Ratification will increase U.S. job opportunities. Although successive U.S. Presidents from both parties have urged the Senate to initiate floor debate and give the constitutional two-thirds vote of ratification, those steps have yet to occur. Consequently, for nearly two decades, the Treaty has remained in a “pending status” before the Senate, and as a result, U.S. companies are missing out on a modern day gold rush.
*This article was originally published in TQ: ABA Transportation Committee Quarterly, Vol. 5, No. 3 (Fall 2012).
Senator John Warner is former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Secretary of the Navy, and John Norton Moore, director of the Center for Oceans Law & Policy at the University of Virginia, was U.S. Ambassador for the Law of the Sea Convention under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford and was a Reagan appointee to the National Advisory Commission on Oceans and Atmosphere.