Redefining the Territorial Sea in the Clean Water Act: Replacing Outdated Terminology and Extending Regulatory Jurisdiction

Journal Article

Title: Redefining the Territorial Sea in the Clean Water Act: Replacing Outdated Terminology and Extending Regulatory Jurisdiction
Authors: Matthews, J.
Publication Date:
June 01, 2011
Journal: Sea Grant Law and Policy Journal
Volume: 4
Issue: 1
Pages: 114-136
Publisher: National Sea Grant Law Center
Affiliation:
Receptor:

Document Access

Website: External Link
Attachment: Access File
(292 KB)

Citation

Matthews, J. (2011). Redefining the Territorial Sea in the Clean Water Act: Replacing Outdated Terminology and Extending Regulatory Jurisdiction. Sea Grant Law and Policy Journal, 4(1), 114-136.
Abstract: 

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan extended the breadth of the territorial sea of the United States from three nautical miles to twelve. By Presidential Proclamation the United States asserted sovereignty and jurisdiction over the territorial sea extending from the baseline seaward a distance of twelve nautical miles. The presidential proclamation specifically stated that it did not extend or alter “existing Federal or State law or any jurisdiction, rights, legal interests, or obligations derived there from.” Some federal laws have not been updated to reflect this boundary change and the extension of the territorial sea has resulted in inconsistent definitions of the territorial sea in U.S. domestic law. 3 The Clean Water Act (CWA) is one law that has not been updated to reflect the change; in the CWA, the territorial sea is defined as extending seaward a distance of three miles. This Article explores the effects that the outdated definition of the territorial seas has on the two main permitting programs established by the CWA, and the potential environmental benefit that could result from updating the definition to make it consistent with the territorial sea claimed by the United States under international law.

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