This is an update on the Save Pagan Island Campaign. If this is your first time viewing this blog, please see previous posts for the full story on Pagan Island and the proposal by Japanese investors to use it as a dumping ground for 2011 tsunami debris.
Initial Successes Reveal an Increasing Necessity to Intensify Pressure
The petition to officials in the CNMI government now has more than 2500 signatories, and each signature has generated an e-mail to officials in the CNMI administration. Many of the signatories are from the CNMI and other Pacific Islands, as well as Japan, and signatories have, in turn, publicized the campaign on Facebook and on their blogsites. As a result, the proposal to turn Pagan Island into a dumping ground for tsunami debris has become highly controversial within the CNMI government itself, as well as in Japan.
A reporter from Honolulu’s Civil Beat News (http://www.civilbeat.com/articles/2012/05/30/15955-pacific-island-could-be-spared-from-becoming-tsunami-dump-site/) who investigated the Campaign’s allegations reported that the Spokesperson for the Governor of the CNMI told her: “Japanese investors are no longer interested in shipping and storing tsunami debris [to Pagan Island],” and a Spokesperson for CNMI’s representative to the U.S. Congress said the proposal, “is not something that sits well [with the Congressman]”. At the same time, CNMI’s former governor, currently a representative to the CNMI Legislature, Froilan Tenorio, countered saying he, “has has just been informed that Kanzai Oil is still interested in leasing land on Pagan and shipping tsunami debris to the island” (http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/46934-2-japan-groups-differ-on-pagan-plan.php), maintaining that the plan is still on the table. This is confirmed by a blogger in Japan, who reported “Tenorio assured local news reporters in Japan that the Japanese emissaries are, ‘…interested only in Pagan and they want to buy pozzolan, which will be loaded onto ships that will be empty after bringing debris to the island’” (http://notesfromhadano.wordpress.com/tag/pagan-island/). Indeed, a Japanese blogsite providing ongoing news on the Fukushima nuclear disaster reports that it was Tenorio himself who made the initial offer to lease Pagan Island as a dump for the debris and actually solicited Japanese investors (http://ex-skf.blogspot.jp/2012/05/northern-mariana-islands-offer-to.html).
All of the current controversy confirms that the Campaign to Save Pagan Island is having a positive effect, but it is not won. Thousands more signatures are needed to intensify the pressure! If you already signed, send the link to your friends and post it to facebook. Urge environmental organizations to take up the campaign and link their websites to the petition. Unless pressure continues and escalates, deals are going to continue to be made that sacrifice the environment and culture of Pagan Island to international investors.