APIL focuses on environment

Marshall Islands Speaker Kenneth Kedi, left, talks with legislators from various islands in the Association of Pacific Island Legislatures region. Photo: Kelly Lorennij.

The Association of Pacific Island Legislatures met last week in Majuro, adopting a series of resolutions many of them focused on environment and renewable energy-related actions APIL wants to encourage.

APIL’s membership is made up of US-affiliated islands in the north Pacific, including Hawaii, and Nauru and Kiribati.

APIL expressed its support and encouragement for:

• Regional cooperation for commitment to and development of renewable energy options.

• Regional cooperation for recycling.

• Ending use of PFAS chemicals (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in foam used to fight fires, particularly at airports, because of the health hazard of these chemicals.

• Micronesia Challenge goals for effectively conserving at least 30 percent of near-shore marine resources and 20 percent of land resources across Micronesia by 2020.

• Use of “reef-friendly” sun screens and ban use of non-reef safe chemicals.

• Collaboration to ban single-use plastic bags across the region in five years.

• Hybrid renewable energy systems, including developing a framework for support implementation of increased use of renewable energy, with an emphasis on regional partnerships.

In addition, APIL legislators from the different islands supported a resolution requesting United Airlines to increase service to Kosrae and Yap states in the FSM, supported the people in Hawaii engaged in peaceful protests against the Thirty-Meter Telescope on the Big Island, and recognized women in leadership noting that Guam has elected its first female governor and a female majority in the legislature, while Chuuk state recently elected the first two women ever to be elected to the state legislature.

Two US nuclear test legacy resolutions were endorsed by APIL.

One supported proposed amendments to the US Radiation Exposure Compensation Act now pending in the US Congress, and specifically the inclusion of Guam for “downwinder” compensation coverage in the legislation.

The other resolution focused on recently released radiological studies of northern islands in the Marshall Islands by Columbia University. These studies pointed out “serious under-estimates of radiation” levels on certain islands in RMI. The resolution encouraged APIL members to advocate for solutions for Marshallese and Micronesians who are living with the effects of the US nuclear weapons testing legacy.

Read more about this in the August 2, 2019 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.