Sunday, July 06, 2008

Elizabeth Dole, Politics and Ocean Conservation

Let's talk mainland environmental politics.

President Bush has officially announced the assessment of one potential monument, the War in the Pacific National Marine Monument, which may include Pearl Harbor, Ford Island, and other WWII Pacific battle sites.

According to a recent story on NPR, there are five other potential monuments being considered for assessment. They are Islands in the Stream in the Gulf of Mexico, Rose Atoll in American Samoa, Central Pacific Atolls, Mariana Trench Marine National Monument, and what I have coined Deep Water Coral National Marine Monument off the East Coast.

The White House, however, has not publicly stated one way or another what is on or off the table right now.

Even without a presidential announcement, there has been an avalanche of local press on the proposed Mariana Trench Marine National Monument, mostly from the Saipan Tribune and the Marianas Variety, but also from some of the Pacific-wide media. (Speaking of local media, make sure you check out this article from the latest issue of Island Locator).

Mariana Trench Marine National MonumentThere hasn't been much else from any of the proposed sites, except for the one story on the War in the Pacific National Marine Monument and a few stories on the proposed site off the East Coast.

The latest news from the East Coast has Senator Elizabeth Dole (R - North Carolina) being attacked by the Democratic challenger of her seat for allegedly simultaneously supporting ocean conservation and considering offshore drilling.

Whatever. I'm not going to get into local politics.

I will, however, point out that the proposed Deep Water Coral Marine Monument now has the support of one of the Republican senators from North Carolina, the Republican governor of South Carolina (a potential running mate for John McCain, nonetheless), and a consortium of scientists.

Here on Saipan, where we have the support of many from the business community, leading environmentalists, and some of the elected officials and island elders, we are still waiting to see if President Bush will make an assessment of the proposed Mariana Trench Marine National Monument.

I apologize for not linking to every single news story and letter to the editor, but I felt it was getting a little overwhelming for a personal blog about life in Saipan. Some of the supporters are working on a website. I hope it is up soon.

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