President Obama's Support For Marianas Trench Sanctuary 'Unlikely'

CNMI delegation that pushed for reclassification from monument to sanctuary disappointed

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 18, 2017) – A delegation of residents from the Northern Marianas says it's unlikely President Obama will support the Marianas Trench being designated a marine sanctuary before he leaves office.

The delegation travelled to Washington in November to apply for the reclassification of the trench from a monument to a sanctuary, which it says would protect the sea floor from mineral extraction.

It said sanctuary status would also fund the construction of a visitor centre that would showcase the unique fauna and volcanic geography of the trench, which is connected to the deepest point of the world's oceans.

Part of the delegation was the associate professor of science at Guam University, Joni Kerr.

Dr Kerr said with President Obama about to leave office, his support for sanctuary status may not be forthcoming.

"It is down to the wire and I've heard that it might not be likely that he will sign. There's the hope that we can still push it through. It may not be with the President that we had intended it for but we're hoping to work with people under Trump's administration to move this on through."

Radio New Zealand International
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