Not everyone agrees with what they have done and the Internet is abuzz with commentary.
Harry Blalock, local radio station manager and avid diver writes:
And that brings me to the other monumental show of ignorance recently by this self-important body. The House of Representatives voted Thursday by a vote of 17-3 approving a resolution asking President Bush not to unilaterally declare a marine sanctuary around the islands of Uracas, Maug and Asuncion. The 3 who voted against the resolution were Representatives Tina Sablan, Heinz Hofschneider and Edward Salas. The Senate unanimously adopted the resolution earlier in the week. I realize there are people on both sides of this debate and issue, but honestly those who have come out against it have motives that are more than a little suspect, and their track records are less than stellar when it comes to the environment. I believe it is always a mistake though to take sides on an issue before thoroughly familiarizing yourself with it. After all, how can you vote on something if you haven’t bothered to educate yourself on it? Do you really think that reading a few letters to the editor in the newspaper qualifies you as being properly educated? Did the lawmakers bother to actually find out how the public actually feels about this proposed marine sanctuary? Did they hold any public hearings on the matter before issuing their resolution? Or do they think they have some kind of ESP that informs them automatically what the majority of their constituency thinks about any particular matter at any given time? Again, these supposed “representatives” of the people decided they already knew what you wanted and thought, and therefore they didn’t need to ask you, they would just go ahead and speak for you, whether it represented how you truly felt or not. In my mind the most prudent thing to do at this point would have been to hold public hearings, do some more investigation into exactly what this would mean for the CNMI, and maybe find out how the marine sanctuary in the northern Hawaiian Islands has been working out.Tami Hunter, mother of three and business manager, writes:
The front pages of today's papers made me sick to my stomach!!!! "Senate says no to national monument proposal". "Marine Monument Nixed"....Why? because according to the Senate, the majority of local people will not support the proposal...WTF!!!!!!!!!!!! HOW WOULD THEY KNOW???? DID ANY OF THEM EVER ASK THE LOCAL PEOPLE HOW WE FEEL???? I'M A "LOCAL PEOPLE" AND I LOVE THE IDEA! HAVE ANY OF THEM BEEN READING THE LETTERS OF SUPPORT TO THE EDITOR???? OR ATTENDING ANY OF THE PRESENTATIONS THAT ANGELO HAS BEEN GIVING????????? ARGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!Lil Hammerhead, anonymous blogger than seems to have lived here for a very long time, writes:
I'm not going to go on and on about the Marine Monument idea. It's a great idea, and I've yet to meet anyone in the public who doesn't think it is a great idea.Wes Bogdan, long time CNMI attorney (sorry, no link, but it was in the Variety), writes:
The opportunity to create a NMI Marine National Monument (Pew Monument) is a brilliant idea, a gift from heaven at an exceptionally dark moment in time for the CNMI. It is hard to imagine how anyone could possibly be against it. For starters, the creation of such a monument would instantly begin changing the world’s perception of Saipan from a alien sweat-shop full of prostitutes and non-resident workers to world class eco-friendly tourist destination. A place where we care about our planet. The arguments against the Pew Monument which have appeared in letters to the editor in your paper and which have been made by some government officials in reporter’s articles miss the point. And this is the point: Humans and their activities are slowly killing the world we live in and the CNMI has been presented with a golden opportunity to save a tiny part of the planet. Saving any part of the planet that we can is the right thing to do period. All the silly arguments made against this proposal pertaining to who gets to manage (exploit) the resources found in and around the islands in the future are part of the problem–not the solution.The actual resolution, which is negative in tone, actually describes what has to happen for the Legislature to support this initiative. They want more information and hard numbers, so we've been meeting on a daily basis with people in the community and we've commissioned a scientific and an economic report. Both reports will be available in May.
The bloggers just won't quit!
Rick, an environmentalist living in San Francisco I have never met, gives a point by point analysis and finishes with:
But we're not talking about a pie-in-the-sky, unproven approach here. It's an ambitious vision based on already working exemplars. Consultants and expertise are just neighbor island groups away. And it creates a tangible, realistic, and inspirational goal for stakeholders--young and old, elected and electorate--to rally around.Then Mike Tripp, pleasantly polite father of two, writes:
Thanks to all those who came out to hear the facts, to debate the issues and to discuss the concept. I know it is controversial on a number of fronts but, keeping an open mind and becoming informed rather than rejecting the idea all together because a few think it is a bad idea or have their own agendas will do no one any good.******
I, for one, am like many of these people. I'm getting to know the facts and hear both sides of the issue from those who care. Once I feel I have the necessary answers to my own questions I'll weigh in on the matter more thoroughly.
To do anything less is just plain irresponsible!
The fire continues...
Mark Powell, a blogging scientist in the mainland, writes:
Conservationists have responded to the loss of natural refuges by asking for man-made refuges, places closed to some or all fishing. It's a common sense concept championed by smart fishermen in rivers and lakes, and some courageous ocean fishing leaders. But, sadly, most ocean fishermen have chosen to fight rather than join the refuge effort. Angelo over at Saipan Blog reports the sad news that refuges won't happen right now in the Mariana Islands, and Rick at Malaria, Bed Bugs, Sea Lice and Sunsets points out a possibly nefarious effort by fishing interests to stop these refuges.CR McClain, contributor to Deep Sea News, a science blog with a technorati score about 100 times higher than mine, writes:
In the backass wisdom that is the CNMI Legislature, they have adopted a resolution opposing the proposed Northern Islands Marine National Monument. It looks like the logo "You'll Love How Deep We Go" will not see daylight. The reasons for the blockage ranges from stupid to idiotic to just plane asinine.I feel it is important to point out that none of these blogs are against the idea of a monument. I would post it if somebody put it up, but not a single blogger has come out against it, whether living in the CNMI or anywhere else in the world.
With that said, I'm not responsible for what the other bloggers write. I'm just reposting a few snippets to give an idea of the tone of their post. If you want to read each post, just click on the link.
The newspapers were very one sided in their reporting that "the Senate on behalf of the People of the CNMI, the House concurring, does not support the establishment, creation, or designation of a marine monument, marine sanctuary, or national park in the vicinity of any of the Northern Islands of the CNMI," they failed to mention that it was immediately followed with "at this time and feels that study, discussion, and deliberation is necessary before any further action is taken."
Again, just like the governor's original letter, the phrase "at this time" is used.
However, without a strong showing of local support, the White House will probably take the proposal off the table and this opportunity for jobs, federal funds, a visitors center, years of positive international attention, and increased reserach, training, and education, not to mention the chance to protect our islands and our waters for generations to come, will simply sail away.
Jane Mack adds:
For all of you who voted against the marine national monument, you've lost my support. For some, I'm not in your district, so JJCamacho, feel free to ignore me. Don't bother smiling at me next time. Ralph Torres, you have a beautiful family. Don't mind my tears as I think how your children and future grandchildren will suffer for an ocean that you failed to protect. For those who never had my support, enjoy whatever those corrupting influences are putting in your pocket. You can't take it with you when you die.I am working on a response to the resolution. Hopefully I can get it in Tuesday's newspaper.