The Secretary of Interior and the Secretary of Commerce play key roles in the process of creating and managing the Marianas Trench National Marine Monument.
The proclamation designating the Marine Monument includes this language about authority:
The Secretary of the Interior shall have management responsibility for the monument, in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce, except that the Secretary of Commerce shall have the primary management responsibility, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, with respect to fishery-related activities regulated pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) and any other applicable authorities.
The next two years will be dedicated to coming up with the management plan and implementing regulations.
Photo credit: NOAA, Jean Kenyon
To facilitate this process, there will be a Mariana Monument Advisory Council. The proclamation, as to this matter, reads as follows:
The Secretaries of the Interior and Commerce, within 3 months of the date of this proclamation and after considering recommendations from the Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall establish the Mariana Monument Advisory Council to provide advice and recommendations on the development of management plans and management of the monument. The Advisory Council shall consist of three officials of the Government of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and one representative each from the Department of Defense and the United States Coast Guard.
Members of the Advisory Council will be appointed for a term of 3 years by the Secretaries of the Interior and Commerce after nomination by the head of the pertinent executive branch agency or, with respect to the officials of the Government of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, by the Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The Advisory Council will adopt such procedures as it deems necessary to govern its activities. Each participating agency shall be responsible for the expenses of its representative and the Departments of the Interior and Commerce shall be equally responsible for the costs of the Advisory Council.
Thus, The Secretary of Interior and the Secretary of Commerce appoint the members of the Mariana Monument Advisory Council. But Governor Fitial nominates those members. He has nominated Benigno M. Sablan, a member of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council; Joaquin P. Villagomez, a former member of Wespac’s advisory panel; and Sylvan O. Igisomar, the director of the Division of Fish and Wildlife, as reported in the Marianas Variety.
The new Secretaries of Interior and Commerce will have to act on the nominations within 3 months. Although they will undoubtedly give serious weight to Governor Fitial's choices, they are not BOUND to appoint them. As noted above, the term for Advisory Council members would be for three years and at the critical beginning of the Monument.
Now is the time to let the Secretaries know what you think about these choices.
You can write to the Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar at
Secretary of the Interior
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240
If you need help sorting out your thoughts on the nominees, check out Angelo's post, Lil Hammerhead's thoughts, and my personal blog opinion for background.