Friday's front page carried a heart-warming example of international cooperation between the U.S. and our Canadian friends. Icebreakers from the two countries are doing joint surveys of the high arctic ocean floor. They're looking for geographic features that might enable the nations to make territorial claims that extend beyond the 200-mile limit now recognized in international law.
If the arctic holds rich resources beneath the international ocean floor, this is how the U.S. would claim our rightful share.
Only one problem for the U.S.: We won't be able to make any new claims to arctic ocean territory until we ratify the Law of the Sea treaty.
Every other arctic and industrialized nation has officially approved the treaty, which was first concluded in 1982 and revised to meet U.S. objections in 1994. At first the U.S. accepted all aspects of the treaty except for those saying how seabed mining in international waters would be administered and regulated. The 1994 revision cured U.S. objections. Since then the call to ratify the treaty has garnered impressive political support.
President George W. Bush supported ratification. The American Petroleum Institute did too. So have environmental organizations and the official U.S. commission on ocean policy. The Pentagon has said ratifying the treaty will be helpful to national security.
To read the complete editorial, visit The Anchorage Daily News.