Remarks of Rep. Bordallo at Natural Resources Mark-up of H.R. 4475 and H.R. 200
Ms. Bordallo: In the interest of a speedy markup tomorrow morning, Mr. Chairman, I am making the full statements on my amendments here this evening. Tomorrow, I will be offering amendments to:
- H.R.4475, the National Volcano Early Warning and Monitoring System Act
- And, H.R.200, the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act.
Both bills were introduced by my friend and our chairman emeritus, Congressman Young.
BORDALLO AMENDMENT TO H.R.4475
My amendment to H.R.4475 directs the U.S. Geological Survey to study whether establishing volcano observatories on Guam and the other Pacific territories is indeed feasible. Guam, the Northern Marianas, and American Samoa straddle the most volcanically active region in the world: the “Ring of Fire.” My bipartisan amendment—cosponsored by Congresswoman Radewagen—would simply authorize the U.S. Department of the Interior to establish additional volcano observatories as part of the National Volcano Early Warning and Monitoring System. These additional volcano observatories would be in partnership with the territorial governments and monitor volcanic threats in the Asia-Pacific region, including underwater volcanic activity.
The Marianas have active volcanoes aboveground, including at Anatahan and Farallon de Pajaros to the north. We also have very significant volcanic activity underwater along the Marianas Trench. These volcanoes cannot be monitored adequately by the nearest volcano observatory in Hawaii, thousands of miles and half an ocean away. Our amendment would fix this by extending the National Volcano Early Warning and Monitoring System to the western Pacific, if proven feasible. The amendment language has been cleared by both Committee Majority and Congressman Young’s staffs. Mr. Chairman, I hope that our Committee can take up and pass my amendment cosponsored by Congresswoman Radewagen, as part of the unanimous consent package tomorrow.
BORDALLO AMENDMENTS TO H.R.200
I will be offering four amendments that propose changes to the bill our Committee is considering to reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Two of my amendments seek to recognize the cultural importance of traditional fishing practices on Guam and other Pacific islands. Fishing is part of our Chamorro culture and way of life on Guam. My amendments would enshrine those values in our nation’s fishery management law: The Magnuson-Stevens Act.
My next amendment—cosponsored by Congresswoman Hanabusa—addresses concerns raised by the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council. The Council administers federal fisheries off the coasts of Hawaii and Guam, and across much of western Pacific. Our amendment simply clarifies that federal fishery managers will continue to determine what constitutes the “best scientific information available” under H.R.200.
My final amendment requires that all actions taken under H.R.200 to rebuild overfished or depleted fish stocks are:
- Supported by sound science as determined by expert federal fishery scientists
- And, certified to not jeopardize the health of any fish stock or the marine ecosystems that support those fish stocks.
Guam’s fishermen rely on well-managed, healthy fisheries for their livelihoods, as do fishermen in the other Pacific territories and Hawaii. We owe it to our fishermen and island communities to ensure that federal fishery managers remain guided by the best science under the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Mr. Chairman, I hope that all members of our Committee will support these amendments, and I thank my amendment cosponsors.