11 Sep 2008

CNMI legislators vote against planned marine sanctuary

7:00 am on 11 September 2008

The CNMI House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed a resolution opposing a plan that would designate a vast area of nearby ocean water as a national marine monument.

The resolution, passed by 15 votes to three, says the proposed monument, which would encompass the northern islands of Maug, Asuncion and Uracas, will bar local people's access to the region, that the waters in question are already protected by CNMI regulators and that the proposal has become a divisive issue in the community.

It adds further that the designation of the marine monument would be a permanent and nearly irrevocable federal action that rightfully should require the consideration of the needs and opinions of the people of the CNMI and the potential lost opportunities for economic benefit to the Commonwealth.