Law of the Sea, Federal-State Relations and the Extension of the Territorial Sea



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Dean Rusk Center for International and Comparative Law


The territorial sea of the United States is a political, legal and ecological phenomenon, absorbing in and of itself. It is also of immense interest for reasons which reach well beyond its geographical limits. What follows may be taken as an argument that the territorial sea ought now formally to be expanded from three to twelve miles. There is more at stake, however, than just an extension of boundaries, important though that is. This is so because the territorial sea is pivotal to other marine and coastal areas, potentially a model for other natural resources, a paradigm of the complexities of Federal-State relationships, and the occasion for an experiment in citizen involvement in hard governmental choices, including those related to energy and foreign affairs. Therefore, to the degree that these pages make an argument for expansion of the territorial sea, they do so en route, hopefully, to stimulating exploration of these other, implicated possibilities.


76 pages


territorial sea, Law of the Sea, territorial waters, marine law, maritime law