26th Legislature(2009-2010)

Bill Text 26th Legislature


00 Enrolled HJR 22                                                                                                         
01 Urging the United States Senate to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the                               
02 Sea (the Law of the Sea Treaty).                                                                                        
03                                          _______________                                                                
04 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                             
05      WHEREAS, in August 2007, Russia sent two small submarines into the Arctic Ocean                                  
06 to plant that nation's flag under the North Pole to support its territorial claim that its                              
07 continental shelf extends to the North Pole; and                                                                        
08      WHEREAS Denmark is exploring whether a mountain range under the Arctic Ocean                                     
09 is connected to Greenland, a territory of Denmark; and                                                                  
10      WHEREAS Canada is considering the establishment of military bases to protect its                                 
11 claim to the Northwest Passage; and                                                                                     
12      WHEREAS the actions taken by Russia, Denmark, and Canada have been exercised                                     
13 under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea; and                                                          
14      WHEREAS the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea permits member                                       
15 nations to claim an exclusive economic zone out to 200 nautical miles from shore, with an                               
16 exclusive sovereign right to explore, manage, and develop all living and nonliving resources,                           
17 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 155 nations 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.                                              
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