Friday, June 26, 2009

Intelligent Conservation

My This Week in Congress newsletter from Representative Sablan contained some environmental news this morning.
The 2010 Commerce, Justice, Science and related agencies appropriations, H.R. 2847, passed the House on June 18 with special earmark funding for the Northern Marianas. An earmark in the bill goes to the CNMI Division of Fish and Wildlife to educate the public about the importance of marine sanctuaries. DFW will receive $220,000. The CJS appropriation must still pass the Senate before these funds become available.
I am really interested to see how DFW spends this money.

The director of Fish & Wildlife was one of the main opponents to creating the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument last year (I wouldn't even be writing this if they weren't still updating it). He directed his staff to create an anti-conservation website. Staff members also wrote several letters to the editor spreading misinformation.

I was also confidentially told by some of the staff of the shenanigans that goes on in that office. Not good stuff. I can't write or talk about it though, because it would give away who told me what.

reed warblerOn top of that, in the last few months, the Secretary of the Department of Lands and Natural Resources, the man who has oversight of DFW, has stated that we should be able to kill more turtles, that birds on Saipan should be eradicated so that they don't interfere with development, and that conservation areas keep farmers from growing enough food to feed the people of this island.

And these guys are going to get a quarter million dollars to educate the public about the importance of marine sanctuaries? This money should have gone to MINA.

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