View all text of Chapter 44 B [§ 2461 - § 2466]

§ 2461. Findings and purpose
(a) Findings
Congress finds that—
(1) the Antarctic continent with its associated and dependent ecosystems is a distinctive environment providing a habitat for many unique species and offering a natural laboratory from which to monitor critical aspects of stratospheric ozone depletion and global climate change;
(2) Antarctica is protected by a series of international agreements, including the Antarctic Treaty and associated recommendations, the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Seals, and the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, which are intended to conserve the renewable natural resources of Antarctica and to recognize the importance of Antarctica for the conduct of scientific research;
(3) recurring and recent developments in Antarctica, including increased siting of scientific stations, poor waste disposal practices, oil spills, increased tourism, and the over-exploitation of marine living resources, have raised serious questions about the adequacy and implementation of existing agreements and domestic law to protect the Antarctic environment and its living marine resources;
(4) the parties to the Antarctic Treaty have negotiated a Convention on the Regulation of Antarctic Mineral Resources Activities which the United States has signed but not yet ratified;
(5) the Convention on the Regulation of Antarctic Mineral Resources Activities does not guarantee the preservation of the fragile environment of Antarctica and could actually stimulate movement toward Antarctic mineral resource activity;
(6) the exploitation of mineral resources in Antarctica could lead to additional degradation of the Antarctic environment, including increased risk of oil spills;
(7) the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties have agreed to a voluntary ban on Antarctic mineral resource activities which needs to be made legally binding;
(8) the level of scientific study, including necessary support facilities, has increased to the point that some scientific programs may be degrading the Antarctic environment; and
(9) the planned special consultative meeting of parties to the Antarctic Treaty and the imminence of the thirtieth anniversary of the Antarctic Treaty provide opportunities for the United States to exercise leadership toward protection and sound management of Antarctica.
(b) Purpose
The purpose of this chapter is to—
(1) strengthen substantially overall environmental protection of Antarctica;
(2) prohibit prospecting, exploration, and development of Antarctic mineral resources by United States citizens and other persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States;
(3) urge other nations to join the United States in immediately negotiating one or more new agreements to provide an indefinite ban on all Antarctic mineral resource activities and comprehensive protection for Antarctica and its associated and dependent ecosystems; and
(4) urge all nations to consider a permanent ban on Antarctic mineral resource activities.
(Pub. L. 101–594, § 2, Nov. 16, 1990, 104 Stat. 2975.)