[Coral-List] Reef destruction on Majuro
atolldino at yahoo.com
Thu Feb 23 01:11:39 EST 2012
Nadiera and Listers:
I thank you for all your comments I immediately toned down my letter quite a bit About the work US agencies have done to deal with the coral mining situation: I think you would agree that I am possibly more familiar with the particulars, and the local atoll context, of the "Airport" reefs in question than any other person alive. I have been snorkeling and diving that locality for ten years. So I wonder why have this multitude of meetings in Honolulu and elsewhere gone on without any direct input from me, not even an email or a cc? I have been spending nearly all my waking hours, apart from teaching, in an effort to document the rapid changes being experienced by Majuro reefs (either in the water or analyzing my time series photos, which span almost ten years). I assume US agencies want to make informed decisions. Since I have been out of the agency loop, receiving very few emails from US agencies (none for months at time) it was easy be me
to believe my concerns were being ignored. I am sorry for any inaccuracies or excess shrillness!
Perhaps the US embassy can invite me to give a briefing to the ambassador (I have requested meetings with her over the years, with no success). I am surprised (but I guess I should be) that the US govt and its agencies are so disdainful of "civilians". Is this fair? It seems to be a common complaint. Perhaps its a tribal "Fed" thing.
It is possible that because I have been held "at arms length", the RMI government has now been emboldened to seriously consider deporting me. (This threat, published in today's paper, was issued by the same guy who, I learned unofficially and second-hand, wanted to have a "cordial" meeting with me...but no direct, official invitation has come yet, as the week draws to a close). Our local American run newspaper has come out against me, saying I should keep quiet, that I care more for fishes than for people (Arrrrgh!!!!). Perhaps the US (State in particular) is making this circus more ridiculous than need be. Doesn't Bill Clinton's 1998 Executive Order concerning coral reefs have any bearing on this? Or does this order also have loopholes?
College of the Marshall Islands
----- Original Message -----
From: Nadiera Sukhraj <sukhraj at hawaii.edu>
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Sent: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 10:09 AM
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Reef destruction on Majuro
I have been quietly reading the discussion on this topic for the past few
months and have become increasingly frustrated with the amount of
misinformation being reported and the anger being directed to the wrong
people/agencies. That includes some of the comments that were circulated
by Dean Jacobson who had no participation in the ongoing fight being waged
by the U.S. federal agencies that work to protect these resources. And
most of that effort has fallen on deaf ears, including attorneys, the FAA,
RMI counterparts, etc. I am not replying from my work e-mail but will say
that I work for a federal natural resource agency with a field office in
Honolulu that has been heavily involved in this mess. And I can't rehash
all that has been done because it would be a very long list of letters,
meetings, conference calls, etc. I can say that none of the agencies (EPA,
USFWS, NOAA, etc.) have been ignoring this huge problem, as has been
claimed by many, but need to point out that Majuro is a unique situation.
It does not fall under the 1995 UES (Environmental Standards and Procedures
for United States Army Kwajalein Atoll Activities in the Republic of the
Marshall Islands) that are laid out for the military islets in Kwajalein
Atoll. And that is where most of the loopholes that would allow this
activity have originated.
We do not agree with using U.S. taxpayer dollars to pave over reefs,
destabilize shorelines, contaminate water supplies, reduce food sources,
etc. I do not understand how people on here can think that U.S. agencies
would put this in their blind spot and pretend that it was not happening.
Unfortunately, there will be no lawsuits. All communication is now being
handled by the State Department and the U.S. Embassy. We are no longer
allowed to contact the foreign entities directly.
When asked to give technical assistance to the RMI in regard to the
environmental assessment, we did, and the head of the RMI EPA was
Yes, the USCRTF will be discussing this again this week in closed meetings
and hopefully can gain some more support from CEQ. Representatives from
the RMI will be there, but attacking them will not solve anything.
Please back up your comments with some facts before sharing them. The
confusion is not helping the situation.
If you really want to complain- direct your comments to the U.S. Embassy in
the RMI. It's all political now.
On Mon, Feb 20, 2012 at 4:14 AM, David Wheeler
<davidwheeler at doctors.net.uk>wrote:
> Dear Listers
> I have been following Dean Jacobson's postings on the imminent
> destruction of an inshore reef to provide rubble. As scientists do not
> seem to be able to make much impact maybe we could try to atttack the
> problem through the tourism pocket. The three ladies listed below are
> in the Marshall Islands Visitors Authority. Here is the email I sent
> to them (and to Ron).
> > General Manager
> > Brenda Alik Maddison
> > gm at visitmarshallislands.com
> > Marketing & Research Officer
> > Emelyn Simon
> > tourism at ntamar.net
> > Information Officer
> > Deardre Neko Ned
> > info at visitmarshallislands.com
> > Dear Ladies
> > I am a diver prepared to travel long distances from the UK in search of
> > unspoiled coral reefs. For instance, I recently went to Raja Ampat in
> > Irian Jaya (a two day journey) to dive the reefs there. I am
> > considering mounting an expedition to the Marshall Islands and am
> > astonished to hear that your government is minded to allow the
> > destruction of a high quality reef in order to provide rubble to extend
> > the runway safety area. This is akin to bulldozing the Alele Museum
> > with all its exhibits for building rubble.
> > I have it on good authority that unlimited material may be dredged from
> > the reef without significant environmental damage whereas dredging the
> > reef will destroy for ever an important tourist site. After a week's
> > diving it is necessary to take 24 hours off before flying and a
> > snorkelling a beautiful shallow reef would be an excellent way of
> > passing the time. Moreover, I understand that the reef is an important
> > fish spawning area and destroying it will have a significant effect on
> > local fisheries. There are many restaurants in Majuro but from where
> > will they obtain fish to feed to the tourists?
> > I am even more astounded to hear that this destruction is being funded
> > by the US Government in defiance of a ruling from the FAA that it is
> > not a sustainable action.
> > It seems to me extraordinarily short sighted to destroy a fine reef for
> > short term gain just as the Marshall Islands are becoming available for
> > dive tourism. Whereas one is pleased to hear of the recent declaration
> > of ban on shark fishing throughout the Marshall Islands (divers love
> > sharks) the destruction of a reef makes one wonder just how dedicated
> > the Government is to conservation. The wanton destruction of a reef
> > sends out a very bad message indeed to the diving community.
> > Yours sincerely
> David Wheeler
> Coral-List mailing list
> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
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