7 May 2008

Fitial tells Bush of concerns over Pew proposal

10:15 am on 7 May 2008

The CNMI President, Governor Benigno Fitial has asked President Bush to reject a proposal to create a marine national monument in the northern islands.

In a letter to President Bush, the Governor said the designation would reduce or eliminate the ability of the CNMI government to carefully balance cultural, environmental, and economic considerations in the region in an open and inclusive manner.

The governor noted that his position is shared by most lawmakers, who recently adopted a resolution opposing the proposed marine sanctuary.

But Angelo Villagomez, a local coordinator of Pew Charitable Trusts, which made the proposal, said much of the opposition to the marine monument is based on misinformation.

He said that they will continue to educate the public on the proposal.

The plan is to designate a Mariana Trench Marine National Monument around the islands of Uracas, Maug, and Asuncion.