Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Obama Confers Submerged Lands to CNMI

News out of the White House today is that President Barack Obama signed S.256 conferring submerged lands to the Northern Mariana Islands for the first time in history.  Submerged lands and the exclusive economic zone were not yet concepts when the Covenant creating the Commonwealth was signed, so there has been some confusion as to who owns the submerged lands in recent years.  That confusion no longer exists.  State waters now start at the high tide mark and extend out to 3 miles.  Federal waters extend from 3 miles to 200 miles.

Congratulations are in order for Delegate Sablan and his staff, the White House staff who helped deliver on this Bush Administration promise, and the numerous other individuals involved.

I've written for four years how this would affect the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument.  Those posts are still relevant.  Here is a letter the Friends of the Monument wrote in 2009.  Most of my posts on this issue are tagged with Submerged Lands.  There may also be a few tagged with Marianas Trench Marine National Monument.

The Saipan Tribune covers the story in a breaking news article.

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