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    Thursday, July 18, 2019-9:50:51A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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US Fish and Wildlife Service seeks public comment on draft environmental assessment

HONOLULU, Hawaii (USFWS) — RTI Solutions Inc. has requested a right-of-way permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to install a submarine fiber optic telecommunications cable connecting Japan, Guam, and Australia that would pass through the Trench Unit of Marianas Trench Marine National Monument.

The cable, proposed to be laid directly on the seabed through the Monument, would provide telecommunications interconnectivity between Guam and Australia.

The Service is seeking public review and comment on the draft Environmental Assessment that evaluates the effects of the Service issuing a Right-of-Way permit for the proposed cable through the Monument. The EA will be available for public comment from June 12 to July 12.

The Marianas Trench Marine National Monument is approximately 95,216 square miles (roughly the size of Oregon) and consists of submerged lands and some of the waters of the Mariana Archipelago within three designated units. The Trench Unit and the Volcanic Unit are managed as units of the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands maintains all authority for managing the three islands within the Islands Unit. Presidential Proclamation 8335 established the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument in January 2009 and assigned management responsibility to the Secretary of the Interior in coordination with the Secretary of Commerce. The Interior Secretary placed the Trench and Volcanic Units within the National Wildlife Refuge System as the Mariana Trench and Mariana Arc of Fire National Wildlife Refuges and further delegated the management responsibility to the Service.

The Service is evaluating the proposed telecommunications cable through the Monument in consultation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Department of Defense to ensure resource protection obligations under the Proclamation and the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act are met.

All comments and information received by July 12 will be considered. The draft EA is available for review here: https://www.fws.gov/refuge/mariana_trench_marine_national_monument/).

Public comments on the draft EA can be submitted:

  • • Via email: mike_marxen@fws.gov; or
  • • Via mail to: Attn: Mike Marxen, Pacific Islands Refuges and Monuments Office, 300 Ala Moana Blvd., Room 5-231, Honolulu, HI, 96850.

All comments and materials we receive become part of the public record associated with this action. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personally identifiable information in your comments, you should be aware that your entire comment — including your personally identifiable information — may be made publicly available at any time.

More information about the Monument may be found at: https://www.fws.gov/refuge/mariana_trench_marine_national_monument/.