Monday, May 14, 2007

Law of the Sea may finally be a reality

Maybe it's because he's a lame duck, but Dubya is set to finally make at least one positive step on the environment. Perhaps as early as tomorrow, reports The Washington Note, he will urge the US Senate to ratify the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea which has been dormant since the Reagan Administration. Yes, over twenty years.

The coalition who's been pushing for this for the longest time includes such strange bedfellows as tree-huggers as well as the oil and gas industry; fishermen and shipping companies, and the US Navy. Coming out against -- still -- include Phyllis Schlafly and Senator James Inhofe, for no other reason than they hate everything about the UN.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out the sustainable operation of the world's oceans is one of the keys to global security. In fact it will actually help America's national defence because, as did Canada which has ratified, the 200 mile limit can be extended outwards to a new limit of 370 miles if "custodial managment" is deemed necessary. (In Canada's case, we've only used the Law of the Sea to protect the "nose" and "tail" of the Grand Banks off Newfoundland.) Reaching out a hand to the over 150 countries who have already ratified UNCLOS will be a good first step to putting America back in the world's favour again.

It will do nothing to prevent attacks by land and air, as we found out on 9/11. But having a major superpower out of step on something as simple as water is, as it stands, bewildering.

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