THE LAW OF THE SEA CONVENTION
September 24, 2007
The Honorable Harry Reid The Honorable Mitch McConnell Majority Leader Minority Leader United States Senate United States Senate Washington, DC 20510 Washington, DC 20510 THE SENATE SHOULD APPROVE U.S. ACCESSION TO THE LAW OF THE SEA CONVENTION Dear Senator Reid and Senator McConnell: We, the undersigned, urge the Senate to expeditiously provide its advice and consent for United States accession to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. We agree with President Bush's statement of May 15, 2007, in which he asserted that accession to the Convention is essential to protect national security interests, secure sovereign rights over extensive marine areas, and promote U.S. interests in the environmental health of the oceans. We strongly urge the Senate to approve the Convention before the adjournment of this session of Congress. The Convention has been thoroughly reviewed in numerous Senate hearings and public forums. It has overwhelming bipartisan support from a broad and diverse range of interests that have carefully considered the issues from a variety of perspectives. It is clear that accession will protect and enhance our country's sovereign military, economic, and environmental interests. The Convention codifies and strengthens freedoms of navigation and overflight that are essential to U.S. military mobility. The Navy and Coast Guard have testified that joining the Convention will strengthen our ability to defend these and other important maritime rights and will enhance our national and homeland security efforts. Recent statements of support for accession from National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, and Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England reinforce the important national security benefits that will accompany accession. All major U.S. ocean industries, including offshore energy, maritime transportation and commerce, fishing, and shipbuilding, support U.S. accession to the Convention because its provisions help protect vital U.S. economic interests and provide the certainty and stability crucial for investment in global maritime enterprises. Environmental organizations also strongly support the Convention. As a party, the United States would be in the best position to lead future applications of this framework for regional and international cooperation in protecting and preserving the marine environment. The Congressionally-mandated and Presidentially-appointed U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the independent Pew Oceans Commission both unanimously recommend accession to the Convention as an important part of a comprehensive and coordinated U.S. ocean policy.
Currently, 155 nations are party to the Law of the Sea Convention. Yet, despite an exceptional level of diverse bipartisan support, the United States remains the primary industrialized nation not a party to the
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Convention. U.S. accession to the Convention would send a clear message in support of our efforts to foster international approaches, while significantly furthering our own national interests. The Senate should move expeditiously to consider and approve U.S. accession to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. cc: President George W. Bush Vice President Richard B. Cheney Secretary Condoleezza Rice Secretary Robert M. Gates Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
Senator Richard G. Lugar James D. Watkins Admiral, U.S. Navy (Retired) Chairman, U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy Co-Chair, Joint Ocean Commission Initiative The Honorable Leon E. Panetta Chair, Pew Oceans Commission Co-Chair, Joint Ocean Commission Initiative
John Adams Co-Founder Natural Resources Defense Council
Madeleine Albright Former Secretary of State Chairman, Board of Directors The Democratic Institute for International Affairs David M. Abshire President Center for the Study of the Presidency Bruce Babbitt Former Secretary of the Interior Chairman, Board of Directors,World Wildlife Fund James A. Baker, III Former Secretary of State Senior Partner, Baker Botts, LLP Governor John Baldacci State of Maine Robert D. Ballard Professor, Graduate School of Oceanography University of Rhode Island Lillian C. Borrone Former Assistant Executive Director Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
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Ted A. Beattie President and CEO John G. Shedd Aquarium Frances Beinecke President Natural Resources Defense Council Senator John B. Breaux Senior Counsel Patton Boggs LLP Charles J. Brown President and CEO Citizens for Global Solutions Governor Felix Camacho Territory of Guam Governor Donald Carcieri State of Rhode Island David D. Caron Co-Director, Law of the Sea Institute University of California, Berkley
Red Cavaney President and CEO American Petroleum Institute Clarence P. Cazalot, Jr. President and CEO Marathon Oil Corporation Eileen Claussen President and Chair of the Board Pew Center on Global Climate Change James M. Coleman Boyd Professor, Coastal Studies Institute Louisiana State University John Connelly President National Fisheries Institute Joseph J. Cox President and CEO Chamber of Shipping of America Walter Cronkite CBS
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Admiral William J. Crowe, Jr. Fomer Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Navy (Retired) Chairman, Board of Visitors, International Programs Center and Center for Peace Studies Ann D'Amato Commissioner U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy Thomas Dammrich President National Marine Manufacturers Association John C. Danforth Bryan Cave LLP Lawrence R. Dickerson President and COO Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc. John Englander CEO International Seakeepers Society Donald L. Evans Former Secretary of Commerce Thomas Fry President National Ocean Industries Association Vice Admiral Paul G. Gaffney II U.S. Navy (Retired) Jack N. Gerard President and CEO American Chemistry Council James C. Greenwood President and CEO Biotechnology Industry Organization Governor Christine Gregoire State of Washington Carlotta Leon Guerrero Executive Director Ayuda Foundation Alexander M. Haig, Jr. Former Secretary of State Chairman, Worldwide Associates, Inc.
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Scott A. Hajost Executive Director IUCN-US Lee Hamilton President and Director Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Scott A. Hajost Executive Director IUCN-US Lee Hamilton President and Director Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Mike Hayden Secretary Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks Tony Haymet Director Scripps Institution of Oceanography Marc J. Hershman Professor, School of Marine Affairs University of Washington Carla A. Hills Former U.S. Trade Representative Chairman and CEO, Hills & Company Michael Kantor Former Secretary of Commerce Paul L. Kelly Kelly Energy Consultants Donald Kennedy Editor in Chief, Science Magazine, American Association for the Advancement of Science Charles Kennel Founding Director, Environment and Sustainability Initiative, Scripps Institution of Oceanography Tony Knowles Former Governor of Alaska Christopher L. Koch President and CEO World Shipping Council Governor Ted Kulongoski State of Oregon Melvin R. Laird Former Secretary of Defense P. Patrick Leahy Executive Director American Geological Institute
Governor Linda Lingle State of Hawaii
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Jane Lubchenco Wayne and Gladys Valley Professor of Marine Biology, Department of Zoology Oregon State University James R. Luyten Acting President and Director Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Steven J. McCormick President and CEO The Nature Conservancy Robert C. McFarlane Former National Security Advisor Chairman, McFarlane Associates, Inc.
Governor Ruth Ann Minner State of Delaware Senator George J. Mitchell Chairman DLA Piper John Norton Moore Director, Center for Oceans Law and Policy University of Virginia School of Law
Frank E. Muller-Karger Dean, School for Marine Science and Technology University of Massachusetts Dartmouth James J. Mulva Chairman and CEO ConocoPhillips Mike Nussman President and CEO American Sportfishing Association Sean O'Keefe Former Secretary of the Navy Chancellor, Louisiana State University Julie Packard Executive Director Monterey Bay Aquarium Pietro Parravano President Institute for Fisheries Resources Brian T. Petty Senior Vice President International Association of Drilling Contractors Thomas R. Pickering Former Under Secretary for Public Affairs U.S. Department of State Vice Chairman, Hills & Company Colin Powell Former Secretary of State
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Admiral Joseph W. Prueher U.S. Navy (Retired) Joshua S. Reichert Managing Director, Pew Environmental Group The Pew Charitable Trusts William K. Reilly Former EPA Administrator Chairman Emeritus, World Wildlife Fund Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Mayor of Charleston
Carter S. Roberts President and CEO World Wildlife Fund Peter J. Robertson Vice Chairman of the Board Chevron Corporation David Rockefeller, Jr. Director and Former Chair of Board of Trustees The Rockefeller Foundation Andrew A. Rosenberg Professor, Department of Natural Resources and Institute for the Study of Earth, Ocean, and Space University of New Hampshire William D. Ruckelshaus Strategic Director Madrona Venture Group Vice Admiral Roger T. Rufe, Jr. U.S. Coast Guard (Retired) Barry Russell President Independent Petroleum Association of America Paul A. Sandifer Senior Scientist, National Ocean Service National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Rear Admiral William L. Schachte, Jr. U.S. Navy (Retired) Harry N. Scheiber Co-Director, Law of the Sea Institute University of California, Berkley Richard Schwartz Chairman and Founder Boat Owners Association of the United States Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger State of California
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Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft U.S. Air Force (Retired) Andrew Sharpless CEO Oceana George P. Shultz Former Secretary of State Chairman, J.P. Morgan Chase International Council A.F. Spilhaus, Jr. Executive Director American Geophysical Union Governor Eliot Spitzer State of New York Vikki N. Spruill President and CEO Ocean Conservancy Kathryn Sullivan Director, Battelle Center for Mathmatics and Science Education Policy, Ohio State University John Temple Swing President Emeritus Foreign Policy Association Strobe Talbott President Brookings Institution Russell E. Train Chairman Emeritus World Wildlife Fund Mead Treadwell Chairman U.S. Arctic Research Commission Richard D. West Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy (Retired) President, Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education Patten D. White Commissioner Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Christine Todd Whitman Whitman Strategy Group
Timothy E. Wirth President United Nations Foundation and Better World Fund