While the United States Government refused to recognize the AWPPA, the Act has had a significant impact on the international system. Its main influence was felt at the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea that began in 1974. First, the AWPPA added to the growing demands for coastal states to create a maritime zone of control beyond the traditional limits of the territorial sea. This eventually led to the creation of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which gives coastal states sovereign rights over the resources in waters up to 200 nautical miles (370.6 km) beyond their coasts, including the right to develop domestic laws governing environmental protection. More specifically, the AWPPA also led to the creation of Article 234 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). This article gives coastal states with ice-covered waters the right to "adopt and enforce nondiscriminatory laws and regulations for the prevention, reduction and control of marine pollution from vessels in ice-covered areas..."

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