Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Integrity Intact

I am writing my final letter to the editor concerning the creation of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument and have been reading some of my older letters to pull quotes. I am really proud of the work I did last year. I had a few slip ups, like when I publicly made an estimate on how much federal funding the monument would get before we had our economic study from the University of Guam, but for the most part I was careful with what I said and wrote and did so with respect (with a few exceptions, like when I joked about James Connaughton's sandwich).

One of the early criticisms I received was that I did not answer questions when I did not know the answer. Somebody want to tell me how the hell you are supposed to respond to that accusation?

Anyway, I wrote a letter titled Only If the people want it on April 30, 2008. It ended with the following:
Let me be clear: The process to create a monument in the CNMI is only in its infancy. If the CNMI wanted to explore this proposed project, there would be public forums, a task force, and plenty of opportunity for local input. Unfortunately, the proposal may be killed before it had a chance to start. The White House will not consider any proposed project that hints of controversy.

The Pew Environment Group wants this proposed project to happen, but only if the people of the CNMI want it. With that said, the only chance this proposed project has of even getting started is for an upwelling of community support and a letter of clarification from the Legislature saying that they would like more information before the proposed project is shelved.
I like that I can look back on what I wrote and be able to say that I knew what I was talking about.

Back in April of 2008 the process to create a monument hadn't even started. It only started on August 25, 2008, after President Bush issued his executive order directing his agencies to explore the possibility of creating a monument. There were public forums. A bill for a task force was introduced, but never acted upon, something I could not control. There was plenty of opportunity for local input. There was an upwelling of community support and the Legislature eventually clarified their position and supported the creation of the monument.

When I look back on the last year all I can think about is how proud I am of our people. Good work.

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