In defense of the national park proposal
I read John Gourley’s recent letters to the editor concerning the proposed "National Park of the Sea" and I feel that it is necessary to correct one of Mr. Gourley’s many misrepresentations on his personal campaign of misinformation.
The proposed park in the CNMI is modeled after the recently created Papahânaumokuâkea Marine Monument recently created in Hawaii. It is now known as one of the new seven wonders of the natural world.
Mr. Gourley was there at a presentation of the PEW proposal for the establishment of a marine monument in the top three northern islands of the CNMI at the Saipan Chamber of Commerce office. I also attended and I watched Angelo Villagomez hand Mr. Gourley a copy of the Memorandum of Agreement between the Federal government and the State of Hawaii concerning the management of Papahânaumokuâkea. The MOA outlines how the Federal government and the State government are to co-manage the area.
The MOA gives the state of Hawaii co-management over the waters from 0-50 miles. Before the MOA, the state of Hawaii managed from 0-3 miles. The state gained an extra 47 miles with the co-management agreement.
Under Pew’s current proposal, the CNMI would gain co-management over the waters from 0-200 miles. I understand this is a politically sensitive issue, but according to the 9th Circuit (and Mr. Gourley’s letter), we currently control nothing. We stand to gain 200 miles under a co-management agreement. The management details, as explained by Angelo, for the current monument would be worked out between the CNMI and the Federal government. As I understand it, the CNMI will also be provided with the means to patrol its own waters for the very first time. Wow!
I have provided just one correction to just one of Mr. Gourley’s misrepresentations. I encourage you to visit Jane Mack’s blog at http://saipanwriter.blogspot.com for a much more thorough breakdown of his letter.
I do not know why he opposes the PEW proposal. First, it does no harm; and will, if it goes through, be of great benefit to the people of the CNMI. The opportunity cost of letting this proposal slide, at a time in the CNMI history, when we need to take advantage of every great opportunity, would be a tragedy.