Monday, February 22, 2010

Beautify CNMI Supports a Mariana Trench Visitors Center on Saipan

The Friends of the Marianas Trench Monument are asking community members to write in support of locating the headquarters for the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument on Saipan. Beautify CNMI set this letter to Congress:
February 21, 2010

Representative Madeleine Z Bordallo
Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans
427 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative Bordallo,

Beautify CNMI is a volunteer coalition of government agencies, private businesses, community groups, and concerned individuals that I founded when I was serving in the 15th CNMI Legislature. Since 2006 our members have waged a united campaign to protect the natural resources of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) by participating in beach cleanups, planting trees, promoting recyling in our schools, and educating the public on environmental issues.

In 2008 we were the first organization in the CNMI to publicly support what would ultimately become the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument. When the leaders of our coalition asked President George W. Bush to protect the entire United States EEZ around the islands of Uracas, Asuncion, and Maug we were told that the monument would lead to a Mariana Trench Visitors Center being built in the CNMI.

We supported the monument with gusto and our volunteers helped out with the grassroots campaign that collected over 6000 signatures from Saipan, Tinian, and Rota residents in support of the monument.

Since the monument was declared, the Islands Unit has become the crown jewel of the system of local, state, and national parks that exist within the CNMI. I know this first hand because I grew up in the Northern Islands. Not everyone can afford or survive the arduous trip to the Maug caldera, but we still want to share these wonders with our people and the world and the best way would be to place a Visitors Center on the island of Saipan.

Saipan is over 100 miles closer than Guam to the area of the monument that is a marine protected area it was the people of the Commonwealth who petitioned President Bush to create it, not our brothers and sisters on Guam. It is only fair and reasonable that the social and economic benefits go to the people who requested that it actually be created.

I hope that you can come around to supporting H.R. 3511 because it would start to fulfill the promises made by the Bush Administration and the federal government when the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument was designated on January, 6, 2009.

Respectfully yours,

Cinta M. Kaipat
Foundering Volunteer

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