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10 December 2009

U.S. environmentalists urge Obama to halt construction of Marine Base in Okinawa Japan

Not all of Americans are bad. There are Americans who oppose planned construction of U.S. Marine base in Henoko bay, Okinawa, Japan.


They also oppose Japan's whaling and dolphin hunting. I oppose whaling but not dolphin hunting.

Please read the following news from Mr. Mark J. Palmer, Earth Island.

Kind of good news if it works.



                 Copyright 2009 Inside Washington Publishers
                             All Rights Reserved
                          Defense Environment Alert
                               December 8, 2009
SECTION: Vol. 17 No. 25
LENGTH: 523  words
HEADLINE: Environmental Coalition Pressures Obama to Revoke Okinawa Airstrip Plan
   A major coalition of environmental groups is pressuring the Obama administration to revoke a plan to build a U.S. military airstrip over an ecologically sensitive area in Okinawa that is home to several endangered species, sensing recent political developments may open the door to changes in a U.S.-Japanese agreement to build the facility.
   Led by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), a multitude of environmental groups representing over 10 million Americans, sent a letter to President Obama Dec. 3 calling on him to retract plans to expand a Marine Corps base in northeast Okinawa because it threatens to destroy habitat for coral reef ecosystems and critically endangered species like the Okinawa dugong, a sacred Japanese icon similar to a manatee. A 2006 bilateral agreement between the United States and Japan would relocate a contentious air station from an urban center in Okinawa to Camp Schwab, located in the northern part of the island.
The new facility is known as the Futenma Replacement Facility (FRF).
   But high-level talks between the United States and Japan that begun last month signaled the two governments are revisiting the FRF plan, with the new Japanese government, installed in September, having run an election campaign that in part opposed the FRF's siting on Okinawa. Environmentalists saw the changes as a possible opportunity to get the military project moved or scuttled (Defense Environment Alert, Nov. 24).
   The new Japanese government, led by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, "is a very promising development on this issue" and environmentalists hope "that between the two governments, that they will realize that the current plan would cause unacceptable environmental impacts and change course," says one environmentalist central to the coalition's effort.
   "The base plan would devastate dugong habitat in Henoko bay and nearby Oura Bay, and would be extremely harmful to turtles, fish, coral, and other marine life," the coalition of environmental groups say in their letter to Obama.
   "The recently elected Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and the Democratic Party of Japan have expressed the desire to renegotiate the 2006 agreement and cancel plans to relocate the base. You have the ability and duty to alter the course of this devastating plan, but time is of the essence.
   "We urge you to direct the U.S. secretaries of defense and state to cancel this project immediately." The letter is available on InsideEPA.com.
   In addition to CBD, other groups signing the letter include Natural Resources Defense Council, Earthjustice, Greenpeace and the Endangered Species Coalition, which represents more than 400 organizations.
   Environmentalists have long litigated against the Marine Corps' plan to create the FRF on Okinawa, citing concerns the facility would harm the habitat of the dugong. The proposed FRF would extend a 1.5-mile long airstrip over the sea, onto offshore seagrass beds that form the dugong's habitat. The FRF plan is part of a larger U.S. restructuring agreement with Japan that includes moving thousands of Marines and their dependents from Okinawa to be based on Guam (see related story).

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