Observations regarding the process and proclamation of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument Expansion follow a familiar path.
Consider these two views of an August 2014 “Town Hall Meeting” in Honolulu, hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as an example.
“More people testified in support of the proposed expansion than in opposition. All of the testimony was recorded and will be summarized and submitted to NOAA officials and, presumably, President Obama.”
“PRIMNM Town Hall Listening Session: Strong Opposition to Proposed Monument Expansion”
Same meeting. Different perspectives.
One of the most interesting reactions to the President’s proclamation comes from Kitty Simonds, Executive Director of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council. Here is the full text of Ms. Simonds’ quote:
“Congress has curtailed further use of Presidential monument proclamation authority in Alaska and Wyoming, and Congress should similarly bar further national marine monument proclamations in Hawaii and the US territories of American Samoa, CNMI, Guam and the US Pacific Remote Islands.”
This rhetoric may sound familiar. For nearly a decade, press releases and bills from legislators in several western states have included nearly identical language. Readers who are unfamiliar with the history of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council may find this 2009 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office illuminating.
One final thought from the Executive Director of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council closes this post:
“We now look to see how this declaration will be achieved in practice, beyond paper and politics….”
Sources and additional text for quotes and comments:
Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument Expansion