Monday, May 16, 2011

Protect the Oceanic Whitetip Shark on World Ocean's Day

oceanic whitetip shark
The IUCN Red List Threatened Species assesses the Oceanic Whitetip Shark as Critically Endangered in the Western and Central Atlantic. Globally they are assessed as Vulnerable and are threatened with extinction if strong measures are not put into place to protect their remaining populations.

To raise awareness of the plight of this charismatic species, please change your Facebook profile picture to the attached graphic until World Ocean's Day on June 8, 2011.  A high resolution of the photo can also be found on Flickr.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Friends of Marpi - ACTION ALERT

The following is reproduced from an email circulated on May 11, 2011:

Dear Friends of Marpi,

As many of you know by now, on May 2, 2011 Judge Kenneth Govendo issued a 90-day preliminary injunction on the Marpi power pole project following two days of hearings on the matter. The judge encouraged the government and the Friends of Marpi to come together over the 90-day injunction period and discuss ways to resolve the controversy that would be satisfactory to both parties.

Here are links to the stories on the hearings, from the Marianas Variety here:

and the Saipan Tribune here:

Also included in this email are documents submitted to the court during the hearing on May 2:

  • Letter from Dr. David Louter, Cultural Resources Program Chief for the National Parks Service, in response to to Friends of Marpi's inquiry regarding the compliance of the Marpi power pole project with requirements under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (document attached). Dr. Louter describes the significance of the National Historic Landmark area of Marpi, and the role of the National Park Service in monitoring historic sites across the nation. He notes that NPS is concerned about the cumulative effects, or incremental loss, that the Marpi cemetery and other projects may have on the integrity of the Marpi area and its historic and cultural values. Louter further indicates that NPS had not been formally invited to Section 106 consultation for the Marpi project, and that NPS had supported the CNMI Historic Preservation Office's recommendation to the local government to consider either solar power or underground lines instead of power poles.
  • A document produced by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, titled "Environmental Impacts of Transmission Lines" and found here: The paper provides an overview of the environmental issues and concerns raised by the construction of power lines, and discusses ways to measure, identify, and minimize or mitigate negative impacts, including impacts to places of historic, cultural, or scenic value. The paper also notes that underground transmission lines are considered a reasonable alternative in places where aesthetic impacts of power lines would be significant, and that low-voltage underground lines are more cost-effective and more common than high-voltage underground lines.
Many thanks to Jim Davies, a resident of the CNMI for more than 20 years, who offered testimony at the hearing about the impacts that the Marpi power poles will have on his ecotourism business, and CNMI ecotourism generally, and also on the Japanese film and photography industry, with which he has worked over the course of his years here, and of course to David Banes and Wes Bogdan for their strong work in preparing the case and securing the injunction.

Since the issuance of the injunction, the CNMI House of Representatives, Standing Committee on Natural Resources has called for public hearings on the Marpi power pole project. Please do take the time to make your voice heard and participate in these hearings. Our thanks to House Natural Resources Chair, Representative Joe Palacios, for convening these hearings and offering the opportunity for all of us in the community to express our views.

The hearings are scheduled for:
  • Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 6pm - CNMI House of Representatives Chamber at the Legislature on Capitol Hill
  • Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 6pm - Multipurpose Center in Susupe
Want to help? Here are eight simple ways to do your part:

1. Go to: and click on Letter to Elected Officials to sign the form letter which will be forwarded to our elected officials. This will only take you a minute!

2. Write a personal testimony and submit it to the House Natural Resources Committee. Submit written testimonies by dropping them off or faxing to the Office of Representative Joseph M. Palacios (664-8831) or mailing to P.O. Box 500586 Saipan, MP 96950. Written testimonies can also be emailed to

3. Share your personal testimony with local media and the Friends of Marpi. Email the Marianas Variety at and the Saipan Tribune at to submit letters to the editor. Please also share your testimonies with the Friends of Marpi - email Glen Hunter at so we can post it on the website.

4. Attend the hearings on May 12 (6pm, CNMI House of Representatives Chamber) and May 18 (6pm, Multipurpose Center), and personally submit your testimony at the hearing.

5. Write to David at if you would like your name to be included with his written testimony on behalf of Friends of Marpi. David sent out his draft in an earlier email, and I am attaching it here as well.

6. Sign the petition:

7. Donate to Friends of Marpi (make checks payable to Marianas Resource Conservation & Development Council, write "Friends of Marpi" in the memo line, and submit to either Laurie Peterka or Tina Sablan, both members of the council)

8. SPREAD THE WORD. Please circulate this information to your mailing lists, on your Facebook page, and by word of mouth. Encourage your friends and family to join the Friends of Marpi and help keep Marpi beautiful.


Many thanks!
Best wishes,
Tina Sablan

2 attachments
NPS response to Friends of Marpi 27April2011.pdf 
David Banes.Draft Marpi Testimony.05.11.11.doc