The Antarctic Conservation Act (“Act”) is a conservation law providing protection and management of Antarctic resources. The Act provides for international mechanisms and create legal obligations necessary for the maintenance of Antarctica as a natural reserve devoted to peace and science.
Over a quarter of a century, scientific investigation has been the principal activity of the federal government and the U.S. nationals in Antarctica. More recently, interest of American tourists in Antarctica has increased. Hence, the Act was designed to ensure that the U.S. scientific activities and tourism, and their supporting logistics operations, are conducted with an eye to preserving the unique values of the Antarctic region.
A person may be charged with civil or criminal penalties for any violating the provisions of this Act. Pursuant to 16 USCS § 2403, it is unlawful for any person:
1.to introduce any prohibited product onto land or ice shelves or into water in Antarctica;
2.to dispose of any waste onto ice-free land areas or into fresh water systems in Antarctica;
3.to dispose of any prohibited waste in Antarctica.