The Variety published Ignacio Cabrera's letter to Governor Fitial asking him to support the Monument. He writes:
I encourage you to look into this worthwhile project, which will be an integral part of the worldwide effort by Ocean Legacy to protect our marine environment so that we have fish to catch and eat for generations to come. It will also help the CNMI meet and possibly exceed our commitment to the Micronesia Challenge.I think this is the first mention of the Micronesia Challenge, a region wide pledge to "effectively conserve 30% of our near shore resources and 20% of our terrestrial resources." This would certainly help the CNMI meet and then exceed that worthy goal, which is supported by both the Governor and the Washington Rep (hey, they agree on something!)
Ed Propst penned a letter outlining 10 things that the Commonwealth must do in order to turn itself around. The Mariana Trench Monument is #9:
Rescind your resolution against the proposed national marine park. I am dumbfounded at how our leaders could so quickly and recklessly come up with a resolution that slams the idea of a national marine monument for the CNMI. What I want to know is if it is really true that the resolution was written by a WESPAC lobbyist. Do you truly understand the ramifications of your resolution? Have you exhausted all efforts in understanding the pros and cons of the marine monument? Since when was conservation a bad thing? Why do you buy into propaganda and sensationalism? As far as our local fishermen are concerned, how many of our local fishermen travel three hundred-plus miles to go fishing? It is not economically feasible, especially given the high cost of fuel! (Maybe the legislators figure the fishermen will swim up and back.) Do you know who is fishing those waters right now? Illegal commercial fishing companies from Korea and Taiwan! And as we speak, the CNMI cannot do anything about it right now! Stop listening to lies and start listening to the voice of reason. I ask that you revisit your resolution and rescind it. There is nothing wrong with changing your mind if it means you are changing your mind for the right reasons.Dr. Cooper Schraudenbach wrote a letter, Dr. David Khorram discussed it in his editoral, and the Northern Marianas Insurance Association is in support of the idea, too.
Ruth Tighe dedicated most of this week's On My Mind to the Monument. I think she's been in communication with Jay, because her editorial has a very good grasp of the situation. This is highly recommended reading, she's right on in what she wrote:
According to Jay Nelson, Director of the Global Ocean Legacy under the Pew Environment Group, the U.S. executive branch has let it be known that it might be interested in establishing another monument, similar to the one just declared in Hawaii, sometime this year. Criteria for selection would include the viability of the site, its value, and the existence of local support. The federal administration has not yet taken any further action.Just to clarify, the Senate entered speeches into the record explaining that their resolution was not written to kill the proposed project, they just wanted more information.
In follow-up to that information, several non-governmental organizations began looking at possible candidates for a monument designation. The Pew Charitable Trust is one of them. Thinking that the Marianas Trench, the only feature of its kind in the whole world, together with the near-pristine waters surrounding the northern islands, would make a good candidate, Jay Nelson came out to the CNMI to assess its potential.
According to Nelson, the time crunch is that the NGO's have now been told that by the end of May the U.S. executive branch intends to begin reviewing and assessing sites that have been identified by the NGOs for their suitability as monuments.
It bears repeating: except to say, "we are thinking about establishing another monument somewhere," there has been no other federal decision, or action.
Nor will there be any occasion for the federal government to take action, or to make decisions, until and unless the CNMI's northern island area is chosen for monument status - at which point negotiations would be undertaken with the federal government on the specific terms and conditions under which the monument would operate.
The speeches haven't been transcribed into writing yet, but I'll be sure to make them available when they are.
So what are we going to do this week?
I'm going to drop off information packages for all of the leaders on Monday morning. They've been getting some bad information.