Wednesday, March 15, 2006

US federal Minerals Management Service has proposed what amounts to new marine state boundaries extending 200 nautical miles into the Atlantic Ocean. The map, which was published in the Federal Register on Jan. 3, was the result of the MMS using a principle called “equidistance” to draw the lines. An equidistant line is one for which every point on the line is equidistant from the nearest points on the baselines being used. The equidistance principle is a methodology that has been endorsed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, meaning the same principle applies to defining marine boundaries between countries. Why is it important? Because of the oil and gas royalties, fisheries and mineral claims. Look at the map. The state of Virginia is not happy about the equidistance principle, and I understand why.