Friday, August 08, 2014

Pacific Remote Islands Expansion

governor fitial george w bush
Five and one half years ago I watched George W. Bush put pen to paper to achieve the conservation victory of the decade.  On that day, the former president created three marine monuments in the Pacific: Rose Atoll, Marianas Trench, and Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monuments.  My involvement with the Marianas Trench Monument is well documented in the archives of this blog.  No need to rehash all that; read it yourself.

On June 17, 2014 at the Our Oceans conference in Washington, DC, President Barack Obama announced his attention to expand the current boundaries of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, which consists of the federal waters surrounding 7 uninhabited islands: Wake, Jarvis, Howland, Baker, Johnston, Kingman, and Palmyra.  The closest of these islands is Palmyra, which is about 1,000 miles from Hawaii.  They are thousands of miles away from the Northern Mariana Islands.


If you want to support the expansion of this federal protected area, you can sign petitions sponsored by NRDC, MCI, Ocean Conservancy, Pacific Practitioners, and Pew.  You can also send a letter.

WESPAC opposes the expansion, of course, and details their arguments in a press release.  According to the Saipan Tribune and the Marianas Variety, WESPAC council member and CNMI lawmaker Richard Seman introduced a resolution in the CNMI Legislature in opposition to the conservation initiative.  It was exciting to see my name in the comments.

There is going to be a public hearing in Honolulu on Monday.  If you are there, I encourage you to attend.

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