[Coral-List] apology from Majuro

Jim Hendee jim.hendee at noaa.gov
Wed Jan 25 07:06:11 EST 2012


  For those who may have missed Dean's posts, all three of them
(apparently) were posted in January and can be seen in the Coral-List
archives, here:



On Tue, Jan 24, 2012 at 6:21 PM, Dean Jacobson <atolldino at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Jim:
> 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.
> Mahalo,
> 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.
> Cheers,
> Dean Jacobson
> 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.)
> Cheers,
> Dean Jacobson, Ph.D.  (MIT/WHOI joint program)
> College of the Marshall Islands
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