Big stakes streaked hand searching. A flashlight may appear, or a hammer, or wrench or ‘wire or a thermometer. Jeremy sees those he calls “day folks” for an hour every day. At seven a.m., when the day crew is not at all thrilled by the prospect of a gorgeous Gulf sunrise, as Jeremy calls it, he is at top speed, ready to talk of the night passed, ready to tell a ribald joke he has saved. “You know, I had to fix ‘at damn door stob again last night. Kitchen help just runs through it like it’s free to fix. You know what I heard one of them niggers say last week? ‘Get it before it gets you.’ Ah, man, they wonder why nothin’ but nothin’ gets done around here. Spend all my time fixin’ what the nigger help tears up and don’t have no time to do things for the old folks.” There are rumors that Jeremy helps one of the old folks by renting a bit of ice box space from her to keep his early morning beer, but no one questions him too severely about this. Nor is he questioned about working around people who reflect his physical possibilities within a few short years. His fear shows readily. Early one morning he goes into a room to fix a bed that won’t respond to lowering and raising efforts. The occupant is a stroke victim, but he actually looks to be healthier than Jeremy. He wants to talk to Jeremy. Jeremy’s in the room at least ten minutes and has yet to open his mouth. He acts as though the man is part of the bed. His work actions grow more and more hurried. “Poor old soul,” is all he says as he leaves the room. Many of the repairmen prefer assignments in rooms. It gives a chance for some honest stalling through conversation. Jeremy is reluctant to go in. He completes assignments in public areas readily, but takes his time getting to private rooms to answer late night calls. He’s talkative about everything but the people he works around night after night. Jeremy subscribes to the conspiracy theory of life. “It’s gettin’ worse,” he says. “And the Nixon bunch is gonna go down in school books as the darkest hours. Look at what they’re doin’ to the service station fellas. Big ones knockin’ over little ones. Even if a man can stay in binness, it’s gettin’ where he don’t care. He has to sell gas higher than 44 cents so he figures it’s just time ’til he’s out of binness. And I voted for him three times. Didn’t even vote for Kennedy.” He’s been angered by his job from time to time, and has gone as far as applying at other places. But he likes his boss, says he figures he gets a fair shake of things. “You’ll learn by the time you’re startin’ to bend like me, it ain’t the money and the hours, it’s whether you get a fair shake. God, I wish we had a retirement plan, but I guess if I keep on working’ cause I have to, I’ll live longer.” By Jamie Frucht Houston The oil men, sea food producers, mineral men and environmentalists sat attentively. You could tell the oil men by the cut of their clothes and the fisheries men by their hands; the mineral men seemed hard as stone. These spokesmen, representing resource-oriented agencies and industries such as Exxon, Deepsea Ventures, Inc. \(a Associatidn and the Texas Offshore Terminal Commission, gathered recently in Houston to participate in a symposium on meeting was, “What is Texas’ stake and stroke in the upcoming United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea?” The answer was supplied by Richard Greenwald from Deepsea Ventures, “Texas’ stroke is zilch, but her stake is enormous.” The Constitutional Convention is peanuts compared to LOS. Texas is merely a land drop in the ocean’s bucket in comparison to the ocean acreage that LOS must deal with three-fourths of the world’s property, property which is floating in legal ambiguities and legal voids right now. Arvid Pardo, whose concern initiated the LOS resolution in the U.N., lets his imagination run loose in those legal voids: Once you have a port or a refinery [offshore] ,’ why not small industry? Why not nuclear power plants? Why not housing for the people who work at these facilities? The whole thing grows’ like Topsy once it starts. The military will want submarine bases in undersea mountainsides. We will be tempted to change the , weather, divert ocean currents. Russia and Canada both intend to divert huge rivers that now flow northward: What will this do to the climate? These schemes are frighteningly dangerous but perfectly legal now. 1 WHAT THE LOS must do is write a constitution for the three-fourths of the world that belongs to no one. Law has never gone to such depths before. No judge has ever had to rule in the abyssal chambers, or decide if migrating tuna are earmarked for Russia, Japan or us. The risk of extending the worst of nationalism into the world’s oceans is very real if national interests and motives should prevail over international politics. One-hundred and forty-eight nations will meet in Caracas, Venezuela, when the Conference on the Law of the Sea convenes this summer. It will be the largest global conference ever undertaken. The single most important task for LOS will be to determine the distance, and perhaps depth criteria, over which coastal nations can tow their sovereignty and jurisdiction. The “territorial sea” used to be defined as three miles seaward from the coastline, or as far as a cannon ball could fly. Then countries began adding on extra mileage and fathoms, bringing the total to 12 unofficial de facto miles under their jurisdiction. Fifty percent of the world’s nations now adhere to this 12-mile seaward boundary. But some of the Latin American nations, as a result of the Santo Domingo Resolution, have pushed boundaries out to 200 miles, claiming preferential fishing rights. In 1945, President Harry Truman proclaimed for the U.S. all seabed resources on the adjacent subsoil of the continental shelf to a depth of 200 meters, thus opening Pandora’s box. \(We claim only three miles on the ocean’s surface, but extensive jurisdication on the ocean’s The buried treasure of the ocean is no longer just a few gold coins lost by a few bearded pirates. The world’s greatest buried treasure lies in the red clay, 16,000 feet below, guarded over by ear bones of whales and sharks’ teeth. The continental shelf and deep sea floor have the potential of becoming the greatest mineral reserves ever, for closed around the fallen sharks’ teeth are potato-sized lumps of rock containing iron, cobalt, copper, nickel and manganese. In fact, the ocean has more known resources than does the land more of everything, including more oil. The continental margin now provides about one-fifth of all oil and gas used in the U.S., “yet less than 1 percent of the area of the American continental margin has been tested by the drill.” 2 The oceans can even outdo the land mass in the extent to which they can be degraded and destroyed. The oceans are uniquely susceptible to pollution.. Their currents and restless depths wouldn’t let sleeping crude rest. The ocean as dump just doesn’t work. Environmentalist Burgess Griesenbeck, who participated in the symposium, reminisced about the good old days when oceans were the place where grade B stiffs were pushed overboard in grade B movies. Now we dump toxic and radioactive barrels. Griesenbeck, citing the 700,000 tons of solid waste that our own Gulf received in 1968, condemned the practice of “putting the worst things in the world in 2. Statement by Northcutt Ely, presented before the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the U.S. House of Representatives, March 27, 1973. March 1, 1974 13 1. As quoted in “Chaos at Sea,” from Saturday Review/ World, November 6, 1973.
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