Marianas Variety, Tuesday, January 9, 2007I really thought this issue was dead. The last time we heard anything about this issue was way back in August 2006.
DLNR: Grotto monorail will run on electricity
By Emmanuel T. Erediano
Variety News Staff
THE Japanese firm that wants to build the Grotto monorail will use electric power instead of a gasoline-powered engine, according to Department of Lands and Natural Resources Secretary Ignacio Dela Cruz.
He said executives of Tateishi Planning Co. Ltd. were on island a month ago and have expressed a willingness to address environmental concerns regarding the monorail project.
Dela Cruz said air pollution will not be a problem since electricity does not produce the kind of pollutants that gas-driven equipment emits.
The project, he added, will take only two months to complete.
Tateishi hopes to start the project as soon as possible this year, Dela Cruz said.
The company conducted a noise test in June last year to assure the CNMI government that the $250,000 project would comply with all rules, and that the habitat in the area would be properly protected.
The noise test used state of the art equipment in measuring sound and was conducted after the Division of Environmental Quality said noise could be a concern for the wildlife in the area.
Some lawmakers threatened to take legal action to prevent the project which they believe will adversely affect the popular diving site’s ecosystem and cultural significance.
On one side we have DNLR, Public Lands, and the Governor's office claiming that we are in an economic crisis and that we need this and any other foreign investment we can find. They are also claiming that there are legions of disabled tourists who will start coming to Saipan if they know that they can take a monorail to the bottom.
On the other side is everyone else, wondering why the hell anybody would even consider putting such a monstrosity inside the Grotto.
I can promise that this project will not happen. Over 800 people have already signed a petition opposing the Grotto project...and the group hasn't even gone public yet.
There are so many problems facing the CNMI today, I wish we didn't have to deal with stupid ideas like this one. If this project is allowed to go forward, a lot of people that could otherwise be working on the CNMI's real problems are going to have to take time out to stop this mistake from happening. It is really disappointing.
Click HERE to visit Save the Grotto, which has an archive of everything that has been written about the Grotto Monorail.