I don't know if the USS Houston was leaking as far back as December, but with the impending military buildup, this kind of news is going to become more common in our Commonwealth.
The Saipan Tribune reported on this story today. I was quoted in the story.
Angelo Villagomez, a community member active in environmental organizations, said he expects more cases like this will arise with the U.S. military buildup in Guam and the CNMI.This issue is a tough one. Most of the businesses love having those ships in town. The bars open up early and the taxis make a killing.
“I hope the military in CNMI mitigate those problems and future problems,” he said.
But, Villagomez said, he does not want the incident to stop other ships from docking here.
“The [CNMI] wants those ships to come here because they offer great economic benefits,” he said. “They pump thousands of dollars into our economy when they stop here.”
Even so, are short term economic gains worth the long term environmental destruction? What if that sub had been leaking brown tree snakes instead of radioactive water? What if it was leaking uranium (I doubt that's possible)?
I try not to quote Donald Rumsfeld on a regular basis, but those are the known unknowns. What about the unknown unknowns?
How do we mitigate for those issues ahead of time, especially when the military hasn't been too forthcoming with their plans for our islands?