Trump Executive Order Asserts the Right to Mine the Moon
A new executive order issued by President Donald Trump reasserts a long-standing U.S. claim to mine for resources on the Moon. Amid the global pandemic, the order has slipped under the radar but it fits with a pattern of pro-resource extraction Trump has adopted for years.
“Americans should have the right to engage in commercial exploration, recovery, and use of resources in outer space,” the executive order says.
The U.S. does not view space as a ‘global commons’ – meaning the country believes it can assert property and perhaps even territorial rights to the Moon. While Americans were the first people to visit the Moon, a 1979 Moon treaty requires international co-operation on the matter. However, the U.S. is not a signatory.
But the executive order goes further, claiming that American should not be impeded in exploiting other heavenly bodies.
“The United States is not a party to the Moon Agreement,” Trump’s order states. “Further, the United States does not consider the Moon Agreement to be an effective or necessary instrument to guide nation states regarding the promotion of commercial participation in the long-term exploration, scientific discovery, and use of the Moon, Mars, or other celestial bodies.”
“Accordingly, the Secretary of State shall object to any attempt by any other state or international organization to treat the Moon Agreement as reflecting or otherwise expressing customary international law.”
The order follows Trump’s infamous founding of the space force.