House opposes expanding marine monuments, military use of Pagan

Heeding committee recommendation, the House of Representatives adopted Thursday a resolution requesting Gov. Eloy S. Inos to “oppose any and all proposed military use of Pagan and oppose any increased military activities in the Northern Islands.”

The House also adopted a resolution asking President Barack Obama not to expand the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, which the governor earlier said is “the first step in expanding other marine national monuments in the western Pacific” such as the ones in the CNMI’s own backyard, the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument.

By a vote of 14-1, the House adopted at 2:49pm Speaker Joseph Deleon Guerrero’s House Joint Resolution 18-14 to oppose any and all military plans for Pagan and other Northern Islands, among other things.

Only Rep. Ray Tebuteb voted “no.” Five House members were absent.

Tebuteb later told Saipan Tribune that that CNMI should be open to dialogues rather than permanently shutting its doors to the military.

During the afternoon session, Tebuteb officially withdrew his name as co-sponsor of the joint resolution for the same reason.

The House also adopted Rep. Richard Seman’s HJR 18-19, asking Obama to withdraw the proposed expansion of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, which is south and west of Hawaii, protecting areas around Kingman Reef, Palmyra Atoll, Howland Island, Baker Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, and Wake Island.

Like the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument was also established by President Bush in 2009.

During its almost three-hour session Thursday afternoon, the House adopted three resolutions, passed eight bills, and rejected one, which is the fiscal year 2015 budget measure that the Senate amended and sent it to conference.

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Haidee V. Eugenio | Reporter
Haidee V. Eugenio has covered politics, immigration, business and a host of other news beats as a longtime journalist in the CNMI, and is a recipient of professional awards and commendations, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s environmental achievement award for her environmental reporting. She is a graduate of the University of the Philippines Diliman.

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