[Coral-List] apology from Majuro
atolldino at yahoo.com
Tue Jan 24 18:21:59 EST 2012
I apologize for any inaccuracy on my part, but two long messages sent after Jan 3 were not posted, so I clearly jumped to the wrong conclusion. Things are so crazy and frustrating here, with the "environmental protection agency" board of directors here on Majuro approving a coral mining operation with no EIA, no public hearing, and even after refusing to spend five minutes viewing my underwater photos, photographs the manager of EPA asked me to collect. The chair of this board (a good guy who was outvoted, Ben Chutaro) was then fired after his ouster was demanded of the RMI president by Jerry Kramer, CEO of PII, the guy who mines coral.
Again, I am sorry for my error, but the evidence appeared to support my presumption. I skipped an important verification step. And at least one of my posts was properly blocked some months ago, I wrote in haste.
Yet, here we are, the Majuro officialdom hopelessly corrupted by corporate influence and the lure of US money, and the FAA refusing to intervene a second time. This week, after many months of seeming to ignore my urgent emails, Ron Simpson sent me the following:
Aloha Dr. Jacobson,
We appreciate the update and encourage you to continue to with the local
authorities, RMI EPA and RMIPA, to seek resolution.
Ron Simpson, Manager,
FAA, Honolulu Airports District Office
You can see why this makes for considerable frustration, for feelings of being ignored. I felt I had to risk "stepping on some toes" to bring more attention to this Catch 22. It is disingenuous and simply wrong for the US to avoid responsibility for driving the coral mining about to begin. Construction of the ramp onto which the dredging crane will be off-loaded form a barge had already begun, and a silt curtain has been installed at the Reservoir reef site, roughly 1 km east of the Majuro airport. Yet, despite messages that coral transplantation should be part of the "mitigation" process (something that is usually given lip service, nothing more) no one with any power or leadership has responded to my offer to help transplant branching Acroporas. (Most of the coral, Porites rus, is not suitable for relocation).
Will emails to Ron Simpson make a difference? Lets find out: Ron.V.Simpson at faa.gov
thanks, Jim, for your marvelous service; I hope my apology can be accepted.
College of the Marshall Islands
From: Jim Hendee <jim.hendee at noaa.gov>
To: Douglas Fenner <douglasfenner at yahoo.com>; Dean Jacobson <atolldino at yahoo.com>
Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 8:44 AM
Subject: Re: Fw: [coralreef-freeforall] FAA-funded Reef mining on Majuro
I am not blocking anything from anybody unless they, a) posted it wrong, b) aren't following the rules, c) posted it from the wrong address, or, d) they feel persecuted and are making it up (that happens now and then).
On Tue, Jan 24, 2012 at 2:16 PM, Douglas Fenner <douglasfenner at yahoo.com> wrote:
Is it really true that Dean's messages are being blocked?? I can't quite believe it. President Clinton's EO that established the US Coral Reef Task Force ordered federal agencies to work together to protect coral reefs, not destroy them. FAA appears to be in violation of that EO. In the past, NOAA has pushed FAA to not allow the contractor to destroy corals. We need to be working together to get them to dredge where there isn't live coral, there is lots of area without live coral. Cheers, Doug
>----- Forwarded Message -----
>From: Dean Jacobson <atolldino at yahoo.com>
>To: "coralreef-freeforall at yahoogroups.com" <coralreef-freeforall at yahoogroups.com>
>Cc: "Ron.V.Simpson at faa.gov" <Ron.V.Simpson at faa.gov>; "beth.dieveney at noaa.gov" <beth.dieveney at noaa.gov>
>Sent: Monday, January 23, 2012 4:43 PM
>Subject: [coralreef-freeforall] FAA-funded Reef mining on Majuro
>Hi! Coral-List is blocking my recent posts on the situation in Majuro.
>Back in June, FAA sent a message that the 14,000 dump truck loads of fill "needed" for a runway safety area at the west end of the Majuro airport should be imported, rather than dredged from the adjacent lagoon coral reef. This was wonderful, kudos for FAA for listening to NOAA and Coral-Listers. The contractor, PII, had several back up plans was to dredge the lagoon reef flat west of the airport, then east of the airport, and when these plans were blocked, they proposed mining the coral reef just a few km east, near our water reservoirs (this is the most important infrastructure on the entire atoll). So, to save a little money, instead of dredging away from coral from barges, they are going to mine from shore, destroying all the coral (and there is a lot of it!) right in front of the reservoirs, the coral that is protecting the shore and hosting thousands of fish. There are supposed to be mitigation plans, but even the proposed relocation of
some of the coral (which I have been insisting upon) has apparently been abandoned. Construction has already begun on a revetment ramp into the lagoon at this site, and a silt curtain is newly in place.
>I have complained, of course, but the local EPA board voted to approve the coral dredging, after getting pressure from the RMI govt, who got pressure from PII. (In fact, after the CEO of PII, Jerry Kramer emailed the RMI president last year that Ben Chutaro, the EPA board chair, should be fired, he was fired) Local observers have noted that democracy has collapsed even further, with the new election of a chief (by the long-serving Parliament members, not by voters) as president. The EPA board decision was made without any EIA, without any public hearing, and without seeing any photographs of the reef, including those that I had taken that same day (I could have given a 5 min presentation, but this offer was refused). I have complained to FAA, and after many weeks I finally get this response:
>We appreciate the update and encourage you to continue to with the local
>authorities, RMI EPA and RMIPA, to seek resolution.
> So, that is our US FAA at work, an agency that, according to FAA local rep Ron Simpson, (he told me this to my face at the Majuro airport early last year) "the FAA tries to be environmentally sensitive". Well, not very hard.
>We need emails to Ron urgently (Ron.V.Simpson at FAA.gov). Ron, who is a good guy, obviously has his hands tied, possibly by US State Dept. The indifference shown by these agencies is intolerable. Shocking kaka. The mice were furious. (The older I get, the more I realize how "with it" Douglas Adams was.)
>Dean Jacobson, Ph.D. (MIT/WHOI joint program)
>College of the Marshall Islands
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