Friday, February 19, 2010

Monument Hearing on Thursday

A Congressional hearing for the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument has been scheduled and is listed on the House Committee on Natural Resources Committee calendar:
The House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife, led by Del. Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-GU), will hold a legislative hearing on the following bills:

H.R. 3511 (Sablan): To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to establish and operate a visitor facility to fulfill the purposes of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, and for other purposes. "Marianas Trench Marine National Monument Visitor Facility Authorization Act of 2009"

H.R. 4493 (Bordallo): To provide for the enhancement of visitor services, fish and wildlife research, and marine and coastal resource management on Guam related to the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, and for other purposes. "Marianas Trench Marine National Monument Management Enhancement Act of 2010"

Subject:
House Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife
Legislative Hearing on H.R. 3511 and H.R. 4493

When:
Thursday, February 25, 2010, at 10:00 a.m.

Where:
Room 1324 Longworth House Office Building

Witnesses:
TBA

The hearing will be webcast live and archived on the Committee's Web site at http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/
Representative Sablan released a press release announcing the hearing to newspapers on Saipan:
The House Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife announced today a hearing on H.R. 3511, the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument Management Enhancement Act of 2009.

The bill provides for Monument visitor facilities to be located in the Northern Mariana Islands and was introduced by Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan in July. A similar bill, H.R. 4493, introduced by Subcommittee Chair Madeleine Z. Bordallo this year is also on the agenda. The hearing will be on Thursday, Feb. 25, 10am, EST.

“I want to thank Chairwoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo for making time on her Subcommittee's very busy agenda for these two bills,” said Sablan. “I appreciate her positive response to my requests for a hearing.”

“The many people in the Northern Mariana Islands who supported establishment of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument are very eager to see the promise of this Monument begin to be fulfilled. Establishing the visitor center in the NMI is an important first step towards realizing the potential benefits of the Monument.”

Sablan introduced H.R. 3511 on July 31, 2009. The bill has 37 co-sponsors. His bill authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to build a multipurpose visitor center in the NMI for interpretation, public education and enjoyment of the Monument. A hearing on the legislation was first scheduled in October, then cancelled by the Subcommittee.

Chairwoman Bordallo introduced H.R. 4493 on January 25, 2010. Bordallo's bill provides for Monument visitor and research services to be placed on Guam. Bordallo's bill also gives the government of Guam a role in the management of the Monument, equivalent to the management role of the CNMI provided in the Presidential Proclamation that created the Monument.
First off, kudos to Kilili's press release writer for getting every fact about the monument correct. It was perfect. I think this was the first time they got everything absolutely correct.

Kilili continues:
“I look forward to working with Chairwoman Bordallo to make sure that Congress does the right thing with respect to development and management of the Monument,” said Sablan.

“And I look forward to taking testimony from Governor Fitial, the Northern Marianas Legislature, Friends of the Monument, and other parties both in the Northern Marianas and nationally, who advocated for the Monument or helped negotiate with the White House the terms and conditions of the Presidential Proclamation, signed on Jan. 6, 2009.”
I'm taking the first stab at writing up the testimony for the Friends of the Marianas Trench Monument. It usually takes several days for our seven member board to put the stamp of approval on our releases. The hearing is this Thursday, which means we're going to have a busy weekend. Stay tuned for updates.

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