Legal Issues Raised by Proposed Presidential Proclamation to Extend the Territorial Sea

Headnotes: 

The President has the authority to issue a proclamation extending the jurisdiction of the United States over the territorial sea from three to twelve miles out.

The President also has the authority to assert the United States’s sovereignty over the extended territorial sea, although most such claims in the nation’s history have been executed by treaty.

There is a serious question whether Congress has the authority either to assert jurisdiction over an expanded territorial sea for purposes o f international law or to assert the United States’s sovereignty over it.

The domestic law effect on federal statutes of the extension of the territorial sea is to be determined by examining Congress’s intent in enacting each affected statute.

The extension of the territorial sea will not affect the Coastal Zone Management Act.

Updated July 9, 2014