Our illustrious House has once again voted in support of a resolution AGAINST the Marianas Trench national marine monument proposal. You can read about it here or here.
This would be funny if it weren't so tragic.
1. They're complaining that this would be federal acton without local input. But under the proposal, based on what was done in Hawaii, the CNMI would be at the table with the federal government, helping to craft enforcement and other regulations.
2. They're complaining that this would stop fishing, mining, and other extractive activities in the area and prevent this in the future. Yes, it would. That's the whole point of CONSERVATION. (As my daughter would say, DUH!)
But right now, there are NO local fishing, mining, or extractive activities going on. And there don't seem to be any economically feasible activities from the CNMI for this in the near future (this according to past reports from WESPAC and others). All we have are some Taiwanese fishing boats poaching in our waters. So we're going to turn down an opportunity to SAVE our marine environment on the off-chance that sometime in the future we might want to join the exploiters and ruin it?
3. "We're not shutting the door here," he (Tebuteb) said. "What we're saying is hold on now. Couldn't we have at least afforded a couple of years?" A COUPLE OF YEARS?!!! Because you couldn't read up on the crisis of our oceans in a day or two? You couldn't think about this issue before, say, next month? You need YEARS?!!!
4. Representative JJ Camacho claims that the majority of the people of the CNMI are against the proposed monument. I have no idea how he came to that conclusion (well, yes, I do. He says he got it from talking to some people at rosaries, etc.) But has the Legislature held hearings? I've been talking to people,too. I've been out collecting signatures. There is no doubt that some in the community are against the proposal, but many, many, many people support it, including the business community, those interested in protecting the environment, kids and their parents. And the people who oppose it generally labor under some blatant misconception. (For example, one person had heard that it included Pagan and Alamagan and all islands north of Saipan!) It's amazing to me how many people do support it.
All I know is that I'll be looking to vote AGAINST all of the legislators in the House in my precinct, except for Ed Salas. (Heinz and Tina also support the Marianas Trench monument, or at least did not agree with the proposal against it.)