[Coral-List] The Majuro airport development coral mining saga
Rob Hilliard, imco
rhilliard at imco.com.au
Wed Mar 19 07:28:15 EDT 2014
I agree with Charles Delbeek's comment about the length of time the
Majuro reef issue has rolled on. As a U.S. 'outsider' on the
coral-list, I've been fascinated how little positive or actionable
response Dean Jacobson has been able to elicit from US-based
coral-listers, since his first posts for advice 3 years ago, regarding
the fate of this reef due to the FAA-funded airport runway extension.
Nor I have seen any post indicating that procedural/policy changes have
been put in place or updated to prevent a potential re-ocurrence....
The saga seems to have run for 3 years without apparently any clear
public response from FAA or other US agencies charged with overseeing
US-funded overseas project aid. Below is copy of what I put on the
Coral-List in reply to Dean's initial calls for advice & suggestions -
this was back in May 2011...!
"Date: Thu, 19 May 2011 02:40:21 +0800
From: <rhilliard at imco.com.au>
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Selection of mining sites for the Majuro
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
-ID: <4DD41295.7080800 at imco.com.au>
If Dean Jacobsen's information re. his news and appeal about the Majuro
airport development is complete and correct, then I'd suspect the FAA
might be exposed to one or two court injunction mechanism/s - possibly
relatively rapid - and taken on the basis of the need to halt it for
review a US funding agreement/development aid project that was the
subject of an apparently markedly deficient EIA approval process, and
that otherwise is now set to destroy a reef resource of high
biodiversity significance in the region near Majuro.
From Dean's information, it appears the EIA process was deficient and
notably out of step with basic scoping concepts used by development
banks and agencies around the world, in line with a range of well-known
policies such as the Equator Principles etc. If selection of mining site
options was not part of the project's EIA and approval process, it also
raises the question as to what level of steps were taken to check the
chance and scale of possible 'knock-on' erosion/ sedimentation effects
(as a result of storm and/or routine wave climate and currents
interacting with the altered seafloor topography, slope gradient and
lost hard substrate integrity). However I find it difficult to imagine
that a US funding body would ignore such questions or steps. It seems
much may depend on what effort the FAA took to ensure that selection of
the mining site/s received adequate attention, review and stakeholder
input - at levels relevant to the respective policies and regulatory
requirements of the RMI and the US, including international treaty
obligations such as the CBD and well-established international funding
Robert Hilliard PhDPg.Dip (EMS)
InterMarine Consulting Pty Ltd
19 Burton Road,Darlington
Western Australia 6070
Mob: +61 427 855 485
Office: +61 8 6394 0606
Fax: +61 8 9255 4668
*rhilliard at imco.com.au <mailto:rhilliard at imco.com.au>*
*P**lease consider our environment before printing this e-mail*
To download the latest_Marine Pest Vessel Management Guidelines_ of the Western Australian Department of Fisheries (_24^th January 2014_), go to:
On 19-Mar-14 12:00 AM, coral-list-request at coral.aoml.noaa.gov wrote:
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> Today's Topics:
> 1. The Saga of Dean Jacobson and Majuro Coral Mining (Jim
> Hendee) (Steve Mussman)
> 2. Re: The Saga of Dean Jacobson and Majuro Coral Mining (Jim
> Hendee) (Delbeek, Charles)
> 3. Re: Impact of nutrient enrichment on coral reefs
> (Delbeek, Charles)
> 4. Registration for the 3rd International Marine Conservation
> Congress is Now Open (John A. Cigliano)
> Message: 1
> Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2014 14:41:40 -0400 (GMT-04:00)
> From: Steve Mussman<sealab at earthlink.net>
> Subject: [Coral-List] The Saga of Dean Jacobson and Majuro Coral
> Mining (Jim Hendee)
> To:"coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov" <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
> <11405152.1395081700974.JavaMail.root at elwamui-muscovy.atl.sa.earthlink.net>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
> So here is a guy willing to lay it all on the line to save a coral reef area
> that is imminently threatened.
> We should all be willing to help.
> The question is what specifically can be done beyond signing a petition and
> sending a couple of emails?
> What is happening to the Marshall Islands (and Dean Jacobson) should be
> taken as a glaring forewarning of broader things to come.
> Message: 2
> Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2014 21:25:11 +0000
> From: "Delbeek, Charles"<CDelbeek at calacademy.org>
> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] The Saga of Dean Jacobson and Majuro Coral
> Mining (Jim Hendee)
> To: coral list<coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
> <547D4E9855DEF447822EC3C9D76CE9EB286416D6 at MAILBOX01.calacademy.org>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
> What I find somewhat disturbing is that this not new, Dean has been actively petitioning this list for help in raising awareness at all levels of government for this issue, yet it seems as if some are treating this as new. It is not ... Dean has been waging this battle for several years, with little help from those in a position to actually help.
> J. Charles Delbeek, M.Sc.
> -----Original Message-----
> From:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Carly Kenkel
> Sent: Friday, March 14, 2014 11:27 AM
> To: coral list
> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] The Saga of Dean Jacobson and Majuro Coral Mining (Jim Hendee)
> Dear Coral-Listers,
> I feel compelled to write in support of Dean Jacobson and his attempts to
> raise awareness concerning the impending doom of reefs in Majuro. I had the
> pleasure of meeting Dean in 2010 when I spent a few weeks in the US
> Marshall Islands sampling corals as part of NOAA funded project aimed at
> evaluating genetic connectivity of Acroporids across Micronesia. Dean was
> kind enough to introduce me to the local reefs and share some of his work
> documenting reef diversity in the region.
> The fragile status of reefs in and around Majuro are a conservation
> biologist's worst nightmare. Majuro and Arno contain some of the most
> striking atolls I have ever seen. The structure of these reefs is
> breathtaking and though far from pristine, there are coral species on these
> island that I have never seen anywhere else, such as the super-rare
> "elkhorn" coral that made headlines a few years ago (
> However, these islands are also some of the most impoverished in
> Micronesia, combining the worst attributes of a US-funded welfare state
> with a social structure that places all the wealth and power in the hands
> of a corrupt minority.
> While I'm sure the Marshallese care about their home, reef conservation
> will always take a backseat to feeding their families. There are
> individuals and organizations involved in conservation efforts in Majuro.
> However, I witnessed as members of a conservation organization on Majuro
> turned a blind eye to a massive female turtle when she rolled onto the dock
> in Arno, filling the bed of a truck, belly up. She was caught while digging
> a nest on the beach and destined to be the prime delicacy at a birthday
> cook-out back on Majuro.
> Given Dean's experience and my own observations, I do not think local
> efforts to prevent dredging are capable of success. However, the Marshall
> Islands are a US protectorate, and clearly the FAA and EPA have some
> control over this project. I know people who read this listserv have
> connections to policy makers in the US. As Dr. Hendee pointed out, more
> can be done. If you are able, please take the time to make inquiries about
> the runway extension project at Majuro. I believe our combined efforts can
> make an impact.
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