DISARM! Space Preservation Act
Changes in the Space Preservation Act of 2002 (HR 3616)
As suggested by the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.
We present this and our attached alternative Peaceful Uses of Space Act for purposes of discussion, and in the hope that a stronger proposed Act may yet be crafted.
A summary of changes to HR 3616, as they appear in our proposed alternative Act, follows:
1) In Section 2 we have added reaffirmation of the 1967 UN treaty governing uses of space, which has been ratified and is now a part of the US body of law.
2) We have added a Section (our Section 4) establishing an Independent Presidential Commission to set guidelines for the uses of space. It would review existing and proposed uses of space by the US military and corporations and make sure they are consistent with the Act and Treaty (as referenced in Section 2) and with this present proposed Act. We are very concerned that HR 3616 seems to invite a broad range of corporate and military activity in space, but calls for no guidelines, controls or monitoring body.
3) We have changed the wording of the call for an international treaty banning space based weapons (your Section 4) to tie it more clearly to the existing 1967 treaty (our Section 5). The 1967 treaty already bans weapons of mass destruction in space or on celestial bodies, calls for co-operation in the scientific and legal aspects of space exploration and use, and declares that such exploration and use should be "for the benefit of all peoples, irrespective of the degree of their economic or scientific development." Any new treaty should build on existing law and foundations.
4) We are also calling for US support of an International Independent Panel under the UN to monitor space activity and ensure that it is in compliance with international law (our Section 6).
5) We have added a ban on the use of nuclear power and Radioisotope Thermal Generators (RTG)in space as well as weapons (our Section 7). We believe current moves by NASA to promote nuclear propulsion, and the use of RTG are highly dangerous and must be banned along with space weapons.
6) We have enlarged your Section 5 to include reporting on compliance with the use of nuclear power or RTGs in space (our Section 9).
7) We have dropped your Section 6 which invites a wide range of military and commercial activity in space, and which implies the availability of public monies to fund military and subsidize private ventures without any provision for monitoring or control to make certain there is compliance with national and international law. Instead we would require that requests for public subsidy of space activity be channeled through the Independent Presidential Commission for approval (our Section 8). We have no doubt our own and other countries will continue to explore and utilize space, but there must be monitoring and control mechanisms to ensure these ventures are environmentally sound and in compliance with both national and international law.
8) We feel that HR 3616 is considerably weaker than HR 2977 (submitted by yourself in 2001) because you have eliminated the more detailed list of definitions. We have kept the generic definition in HR 3616 (your Section 7) but we have put back the more detailed definitions given in HR 2977 (included in our Section 10).
WILPF Disarmament Campaign Committee
June 3, 200