txt

SJR 7: Urging the United States Senate to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (the Law of the Sea Treaty).

00                       SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 7                                                                     
01 Urging the United States Senate to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of                                   
02 the Sea (the Law of the Sea Treaty).                                                                                    
03 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                               
04       WHEREAS, in August 2007, Russia sent two small submarines into the Arctic Ocean                                 
05 to plant that nation's flag under the North Pole to support its territorial claim that its                              
06 continental shelf extends to the North Pole; and                                                                        
07       WHEREAS Denmark is exploring whether a mountain range under the Arctic Ocean                                    
08 is connected to Greenland, a territory of Denmark; and                                                                  
09       WHEREAS Canada is considering the establishment of military bases to protect its                                
10 claim to the Northwest Passage; and                                                                                     
11       WHEREAS the actions taken by Russia, Denmark, and Canada have been exercised                                    
12 under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea; and                                                          
13       WHEREAS the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea permits member                                      
14 nations to claim an exclusive economic zone out to 200 nautical miles from shore, with an                               
15 exclusive sovereign right to explore, manage, and develop all living and nonliving resources,                           
16 including deep sea mining, within that exclusive economic zone; and                                                     
01       WHEREAS the United States Arctic Research Commission estimates that the United                                  
02 Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea would permit the United States to lay claim                                    
03 beyond the present 200-mile exclusive economic zone to an area of the northern seabed off                               
04 Alaska that is equal in size to California; and                                                                         
05       WHEREAS 161 countries have ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of                                 
06 the Sea, including all allies of the United States and the world's maritime powers; and                                 
07       WHEREAS ratification of the current form of the United Nations Convention on the                                
08 Law of the Sea has been pending before the United States Senate since 1994, and hearings on                             
09 the treaty were held by the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in 1994,                                
10 2003, and 2004, and on September 27, 2007, and October 4, 2007; and                                                     
11       WHEREAS, despite favorable reports by the United States Senate Committee on                                     
12 Foreign Relations regarding the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 2004                                 
13 and 2007, the United States Senate has yet to vote on the ratification of the Convention; and                           
14       WHEREAS the United States, with 1,000 miles of Arctic coast off of the State of                                 
15 Alaska, remains the only Arctic nation that has not ratified the United Nations Convention on                           
16 the Law of the Sea; and                                                                                                 
17       WHEREAS, until the United States Senate votes to ratify the United Nations                                      
18 Convention on the Law of the Sea, the United States may not have the authority to promote its                           
19 claims to an extended area of the continental shelf, refute the claim of authority by other                             
20 nations to exercise greater control over the Arctic, or take a permanent seat on the                                    
21 International Seabed Authority Council; and                                                                             
22       WHEREAS, until the United States ratifies the United Nations Convention on the                                  
23 Law of the Sea, the United States cannot participate in deliberations to amend provisions of                            
24 the Convention that relate to the                                                                                       
25            (1)  oil, gas, and mineral resources in the Arctic Ocean and other northern                                  
26 waters;                                                                                                                 
27            (2)  conduct of essential scientific research in the world's oceans;                                         
28            (3)  right of the United States to the use of the seas;                                                      
29            (4)  rules of navigation;                                                                                    
30            (5)  effect of the use of the seas on world economic development; and                                        
31            (6)  environmental concerns related to the use of the seas; and                                              
01       WHEREAS the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea will have an                                        
02 important and beneficial effect on virtually all states, both coastal and noncoastal, because the                       
03 United States is heavily dependent on the use, development, and conservation of the world's                             
04 oceans and their resources; and                                                                                         
05       WHEREAS the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea will not interfere                                  
06 with the intelligence-gathering efforts of the United States or the navigational freedom of the                         
07 United States Navy; and                                                                                                 
08       WHEREAS ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea has                                 
09 wide bipartisan support;                                                                                                
10       BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature urges the United States Senate                                 
11 to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.                                                          
12       COPIES of this resolution shall be sent to the Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Vice-                            
13 President of the United States and President of the U.S. Senate; the Honorable John F. Kerry,                           
14 Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations; the Honorable Richard G. Lugar,                                
15 ranking Republican on the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations; the Honorable Lisa                                
16 Murkowski and the Honorable Mark Begich, U.S. Senators, members of the Alaska                                           
17 delegation in Congress; and all other members of the United States Senate.