[Coral-List] The Majuro airport development coral mining saga

Steve Mussman sealab at earthlink.net
Thu Mar 20 12:15:01 EDT 2014


   While it is true that our political institutions are showing little ability
   to act decisively on any number of substantive issues, we should not lose
   sight of the fact that we could tackle the debt and much more if we could
   somehow manage to block out the partisan noise. How can we have any hope of
   developing  effective  environmental  policies  at  a  time when human
   commonality is being popularly maligned?  Of course the reefs are not a
   priority, but that should not stop us from trying to change the paradigm. It
   seems  to  me  that  under current conditions we have no choice but to
   circumvent the obstruction. If government institutions are ineffective, we
   either  avoid  them  or  get  mired  in  their  ineptitude.  It may be
   that over-exploitation will cause global industrialized civilization to
   collapse or that we are in the midst of an epoch sixth mass extinction, but
   if we are in fact headed down that road, shouldn't we be mounting some
   resistance?   Why  are so  many  who actually understand what is going
   on standing by dispassionately?   Which brings me back to Dean Jacobson. The
   least  we can do is show support for his efforts. Letting the Marshall
   Islands EPA and local news media know there is considerable opposition to
   the  dredging  project may be doing too little, too late, but it beats
   standing around dumbfounded. I'm going to drop a note to one of the EPA's
   representatives on the US Coral Reef Task Force as well.  Dr. Jordan West
   west.jordan at epa.gov    It can't hurt to let him know there is some level of
   unrest. I just wish there was more.



   -----Original Message-----
   >From: Jay Burkos
   >Sent: Mar 19, 2014 5:11 PM
   >To: "rhilliard at imco.com.au"
   >Cc: "coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov"
   >Subject: Re: [Coral-List] The Majuro airport development coral mining saga
   >While appalled, may I remind the readers that America has no sense of
   >acting on any issue until it becomes outrageously politicized. For
   >instance, we are 18 trillion in debt and no end in sight - no matter
   >what political party runs the government.
   >Our elected officials serve to gain power and wealth for themselves.
   >The reefs...well, not a priority.
   >Sent from my iPhone
   >> On Mar 19, 2014, at 1:11 PM, "Rob Hilliard, imco" wrote:
   >> 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:
   >> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Selection of mining sites for the Majuro
   >> airport developments
   >> 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
   >> procedures."
   >> _________________________
   >> 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 *
   >> * *
   >> *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:
   >>> Send Coral-List mailing list submissions to
   >>> coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
   >>> To subscribe or unsubscribe via the World Wide Web, visit
   >>> http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
   >>> or, via email, send a message with subject or body 'help' to
   >>> coral-list-request at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
   >>> You can reach the person managing the list at
   >>> coral-list-owner at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
   >>> When replying, please edit your Subject line so it is more specific
   >>> than "Re: Contents of Coral-List digest...", e.g., cut and paste the
   >>> Subject line from the individual message you are replying to. Also,
   >>> please only include quoted text from prior posts that is necessary to
   >>> make your point; avoid re-sending the entire Digest back to the list.
   >>> 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
   >>> Subject: [Coral-List] The Saga of Dean Jacobson and Majuro Coral
   >>> Mining (Jim Hendee)
   >>> To:"coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov"
   >>> Message-ID:
   <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
   >>> that is imminently threatened.
   >>> We should all be willing to help.
   >>> The question is what specifically can be done beyond signing a petition
   >>> 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.
   >>> Steve
   >>> ------------------------------
   >>> Message: 2
   >>> Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2014 21:25:11 0000
   >>> From: "Delbeek, Charles"
   >>> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] The Saga of Dean Jacobson and Majuro Coral
   >>> Mining (Jim Hendee)
   >>> To: coral list
   >>> Message-ID:
   >>> <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
   >>> raise awareness concerning the impending doom of reefs in Majuro. I had
   >>> 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
   >>> kind enough to introduce me to the local reefs and share some of his
   >>> 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
   >>> 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
   >>> 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
   >>> 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
   >>> in Arno, filling the bed of a truck, belly up. She was caught while
   >>> 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
   >>> 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
   >>> the runway extension project at Majuro. I believe our combined efforts
   >>> make an impact.
   >>> Best,
   >>> Carly
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