4 Nat. Resources L. Newsl. 1 (1970-1971)

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On September 22, 1970, the ABA's position and that of the
Section on seabed minerals policy was presented to the Senate
Interior and Insular Affairs Committee's Subcommittee on
Minerals, Materials, and     Fuels, by    Northcutt  Ely,
Vice-Chairman of the Section. He appeared by invitation of
the committee.
    The occasion for the hearing was consideration of the draft
treaty on seabed resources which the State Department
submitted as a working paper to the United Nations Seabed
Committee at Geneva, August 3, 1970.
    Mr. Ely told the committee that there is a fundamental
difference between the policy expressed in the proposed
seabed treaty and that expressed in the Resolution of the
House of Delegates (1968, No. 73) and the Bar Association
Committees. He called the Committee's particular attention
to the assertion in the ABA Resolution that within the area
of exclusive sovereign rights adjacent to the United States, the
interests of the United States in the natural resources of the
submarine areas be protected to the full extent permitted by
the 1958 Convention on the Continental Shelf.
    He said that, by contrast, the draft treaty proposes that
the United States renounce these rights, seaward of the
200-meter depth line, to a new International Seabed Resources
Authority, and receive back a new status as a Trustee of the
area between the 200-meter isobath and the seaward edge of
the continental margin.
    Hereafter, if this treaty ever takes effect, such powers as
Congress may have in this Trusteeship Area will come to it by
delegation from the international community, spelled out in a
treaty. Congress becomes merely a trustee of lands which are
the 'common heritage of mankind,' (Art. 1) and the United
States 'shall have no greater rights in the International
Trusteeship Area off its coast than any other Contracting
Party,' except as the treaty may specifically provide (Art. 27).
                                        (continued on page 4)

   Even if you are already a member of a Section
   Committee, please complete and return the Committee
   Preference Indicator in this issue. The committees will
   be newly formed on this basis.


This year the Section jointly sponsored two programs with
other sections, both dealing with environmental matters,
featuring prominent speakers. On August 11 we joined with
the Section of International and Comparative Law in a panel
presentation on problems of environmental quality and
population control. Our Section and the Section of Local
Government Law also presented a program on Local and
National Environmental Control. The Section is most
appreciative to Program Chairman William H. Holloway for
assembling this informative and entertaining program which
further contributed to the leadership of the Section in the
field of environmental law.
    The Council of the Section at its meeting on August 9,
1970 adopted the Report of a Special Committee under the
Chairmanship of William C. Perry, which was formed to study
the structure and activities of the Section's General
Committees. Major features of the Special Committee's Report
included recommendations that (1) committee membership be
open to all members of the Section upon request, (2) primary
responsibility for Section-sponsored ABA National Institutes
be assigned to the General Committees of the Section, and (3)
the General Committees be responsible for the preparation of
an annual survey article for publication in the Natural
Resources Lawyer summarizing major legal developments in
the Committees' primary area of interest. Plans for Section
sponsorship of two ABA National Institutes in 1971 were also
approved by the Council. These Institutes will deal with the
Law of the Sea (scheduled for Houston, Texas in April,
1971 in conjunction with the AIME Offshore Technology
Conference) and     Environmental Quality  (tentatively
scheduled for Washington, D.C. in the late Spring of 1971.)
    Membership Chairman Burns Errebo reported that Section
membership had grown to 2,590, representing a net increase of
187 new members over last year. Chairman-Elect Joe P.
Hammond assumed responsibility as Editor-In-Chief of the
Natural Resources Lawyer for the forthcoming year.
    At the General Membership Meeting on August 9, 1970 a
resolution was adopted to amend the Section by-laws to
provide for the automatic election of the Vice-Chairman to the
office of Chairman-Elect at the close of the respective terms of
office. Such amendment assures continuity in the editorship of
the Natural Resources Lawyer.

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