Environmental protection of the circumpolar arctic waters : A comparative study and an appraisal of the National Regulatory Systems


University of British Columbia

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Master of Laws - LLM




Canada, the United States-Alaska, the Soviet Union-RSFSR, Norway, and Denmark/Greenland have non-specific laws apply for the environmental protection of their Arctic lands, waters, and marine spaces. But the piecemeal approaches employed neglect the need for environmentally sound management in respect of the multiple uses of the polar sea's delicate ecosystems. Convenient component elements of Arctic pollution are chosen for examination -- (1) land-based sources of freshwater pollution and (2) marine-borne pollution resulting from offshore drilling and Arctic shipping. This comparative study moreover serves three objectives: (1) the exposition of the statutory instruments and administrative materials; (2) the evaluation of the national approaches taken for environmental protection generally and Arctic protection specifically; and (3) the appraisal of the accommodation and resolution of conflicts over interests concerning economic uses vis-a-vis environmental protection. In the chapter on each state a background makes reference to the national socio-legal and international legal conditions affecting municipal Arctic pollution control. The next section on the national regulatory framework follows the territorial and jurisdictional zones of the coastal state: from land-based operations affecting the freshwaters, to the coastal area, the body of law on shipping and navigation, the environmental provisions of a 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone, the continental shelf activities, to the regime on deep sea-bed mining. The latter of which ends this section and provides for the evaluation given in the concluding section on the country in question. The states have taken different avenues in their pollution control enactments: (1) blanket prohibition or the regulation of pollution; (2) the enforcement and supervision of statutory provisions; and/or (3) civil and criminal liability for violations of respective measures. Every state provides precedences for a number of recommendations in order to facilitate resource uses, environmental protection, and the integration of the Arctic natives in an ecosystem management approach to environmental protection. Examples are such like Norway's integrated statute on pollution prevention, the United States' legislation on coastal zone management and environmental impact assessments, and Canada's framework on Arctic shipping and Arctic pollution prevention.


Marine pollution -- Arctic Ocean; Environmental protection -- Arctic Ocean

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Law, Peter A. Allard School of