19 Nov 2008

Guam lawmakers oppose Bush administration's monument plans

9:11 pm on 19 November 2008

Lawmakers in Guam are opposing the proposal by the Bush administration in the US to create a Marianas Trench Marine Monument.

The Saipan Tribune reports that Guam senators have passed a resolution supporting the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas' Carolinian Affairs Advisory Committee's opposition to the proposal.

The 29th Guam Legislature said it is unjust for President Bush to attempt to leave an environmental legacy by way of a national marine monument for the Marianas Trench without first receiving full input from stakeholders across Micronesia.

President Bush wants an area encompassing 115,000 square miles of ocean surrounding the CNMI's three northernmost islands of Asuncion, Maug and Uracas be designated as the Marianas Trench National Marine Monument as part of his "Blue Legacy" project.

But Guam senators say the federal government is pursuing the issue "without either recognizing the indigenous native classification for descendants of CNMI inhabitants or providing an avenue for Guam's self-determination process".

Their resolution says a more appropriate and fitting legacy for President Bush would have been to take steps to further the development of self-determination and self-government for the people of Guam.