It is almost an embarrassment that someone with as much education and experience as has former judge Juan T. Lizama does not seem to understand that efforts in the U.S. Congress to re-gain a CNMI claim to the waters around could continue even if the U.S. President were to grant co-management of the full EEZ to the CNMI.
Lizama is quoted as saying, in the Thursday issue of the Saipan Tribune, that he hoped monument supporters would postpone their activities until the U.S. Congress settles "the submerged lands issue."
These are not mutually exclusive activities!
The Presidential action, which-if it takes place-could give the CNMI co-management rights well beyond 3 or 12 miles of submerged lands-will not affect what Congress may or may not choose to do.
It does not make sense to give up such an offer of co-management rights direct from the President of the United States in hopes that the large, contentious, slow-moving 400-plus members of the U.S. Congress may-at some unknown date in the future-grant the tiny, remote, largely unknown islands of the CNMI control over what most likely will not be more than three, or at the most 12, miles of ocean.
Ruth L. Tighe