美國擴建馬紹爾機場 毀壞太平洋珊瑚礁 | 台灣環境資訊協會-環境資訊中心

美國擴建馬紹爾機場 毀壞太平洋珊瑚礁

2011年06月28日
摘譯自2011年6月22日ENS馬紹爾群島,馬朱羅報導;段譽豪編譯;蔡麗伶審校

工程採砂預定地旁的珊瑚礁。圖片來自:馬紹爾學院 / Dean Jacobson。由美國聯邦航空管理局(FAA)所提案並出資的馬紹爾群島環礁首都機場擴建案,將對該地蓬勃生長的珊瑚礁造成嚴重的破壞。

這個位於馬朱羅環礁的Imata Kabua國際機場擴建案,也將破壞居住在這座擁擠環礁上超過25000位居民所剩不多的休閒區。

Dean Jacobson 博士。圖片來自:馬紹爾學院。珊瑚生態學家Dean Jacobson博士說,「擴建是對承包商有利而非活珊瑚,太平洋國際公司(Pacific International Inc.)計畫蓋一條聯絡道,以便以疏濬之名在鄰近的珊瑚礁上攫取填海造陸所需的大量填料。」

Jacobson博士自2001年起任教於馬紹爾群到學院,執行馬朱羅地區珊瑚疾病的監測計畫,並且是珊瑚保護運動的領導人。

他指出,「這處珊瑚礁與多數潟湖礁的不同處在於有異常多的魚類聚集,每個月有成千上萬隻刺尾鯛魚類在此聚集產卵。」

擴建計劃將填平鄰近機場跑道西端的一個區域,那裡現在是個潟湖的一部分。

這樣可以在跑道末端建立開放的安全緩衝區,改變與跑道平行道路的位置,並改善機場週邊的安全圍籬。而之後將進行跑道的擴建計劃。

Jacobson 博士說,「改善飛機緊急情況下降落安全措施的擴建計劃,可以透過駁船疏浚的方式,在遠離珊瑚礁區的地點進行填料開採。」

但這個替代方案並沒有獲得Jacobson 所謂「有缺陷」的環境影響評估所接受,也未被列入FAA的考量中。

工程破土典禮5月20日在跑道末端舉行了。

這項馬紹爾群島有史以來金額最高的工程案,預算高達1600百萬美金,預計18個月完工。

馬紹爾群島港口管理局局長Jack Chong Gum說,FAA資助了95%的工程款,加上5%的配合款,使得FAA的機場改善計畫基金在這個機場花費總計達到5500百萬美金

根據1986年通過,並在2004年修訂的自由結合協定(CFA),馬紹爾群島共和國是一個主權獨立國家,與美國間有「自由結合」的狀態。

根據該協定,美國有完整的權利與義務保護馬紹爾群島的安全,而馬紹爾政府有責任避免採取任何干預該協定執行的行動。

總部設在檀香山的FAA機場民政事務處經理Ron Simpson出席了動土典禮,他表示「我們支持這項計畫,因為它提升了往來太平洋旅客的安全。」

報導引述Ron Simpson的談話說,「FAA是注重環境議題的。」

太平洋國際公司執行長Jerry Kramer在典禮中說,這項計畫將雇用超過150人,並且對馬紹爾國庫抑注多達270萬美金的稅收。

來自諾魯,幾艘駁船上的護岸石已透過建立在礁灘(譯按:靠近岸邊的珊瑚礁)的聯絡道卸載並就緒。

不久之後若得到FAA的批准,一架200噸吊車也將移動到礁灘處。

開採珊瑚礁的作業將在幾週內啟動,這將是自2008年以來,開採珊瑚的二部曲,當時太平洋國際公司利用吸泥船對消防站附近的珊瑚礁進行開採-那是FAA資助的另一項計畫。在當時,採礁作業並未進行環評或舉辦任何公聽會。

Jacobson博士在造訪該區並拍攝水下相片之後,反對該項計畫。太平洋國際公司竟試圖讓他被馬紹爾學院開除,Jacobson博士是該學院四名科學教師之一。

機場環礁的裸狐鰹。圖片來自:馬紹爾學院 / Dean Jacobson 。這個對太平洋中間的珊瑚礁威脅,來自一個國際海洋專家小組在21日公佈的一份報告,他們警告說,海洋-特別是珊瑚礁,所受到的破壞比先前所知的更加嚴重。

世界各機構的海洋科學家聚集在牛津大學,參加由IUCN以及全球海洋狀況研究會(ISPO)舉行的會議。來自6國18個組織的27名與會者,對當前的威脅提出了嚴厲的批判。專家小組說,在來自四面八方攻擊之下,海洋是無法恢復的。

U.S. Taxpayers Funding Destruction of a Pacific Coral Reef
MAJURO, Marshall Islands, June 22, 2011 (ENS)

The construction of an airport extension on the capital atoll of the Marshall Islands, required and funded by U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, is about to result in the destruction of a thriving coral reef.

The project, at the Imata Kabua International Airport on Majuro atoll, home to over 25,000 people, is also destroying one of the last picnic and recreation areas on the crowded atoll.

"The footprint of the extension does not include living coral, but the contractor, Pacific International Inc., plans to build a long access ramp in order to drag line dredge the adjacent coral reef to obtain the enormous amount of fill needed for the land reclamation," says Dr. Dean Jacobson.

Dr. Jacobson, a coral ecologist who has taught at the College of the Marshall Islands since 2001 and is monitoring coral disease on Majuro, is leading the campaign to protect the reef.

"This coral reef has an unusual abundance of fish compared to most other lagoon reefs, including a spawning site where thousands of surgeonfish gather each month," he says.

The project will fill in an area next to the western tip of the airport runway that is now part of the lagoon.

It will create open space at the end of the runway as a safety buffer, change the location of the road that parallels the runway, and improve security fencing around the airport. A runway extension is planned for a later date.

The project, designed to increase the margin of safely during emergency aircraft landings, could be completed by obtaining fill away from coral reefs, Jacobson says, by dredging from a barge.

But this alternative was not considered by an Environmental Impact Assessment of the project that Jacobson calls "flawed," nor is consideration required by the FAA.

Ground was broken for the project on May 20 with a ceremony at the end of the airport runway.

The highest-cost construction project in the history of the Marshall Islands, the project is budgeted at nearly $16 million and is expected to take about 18 months to complete.

The Federal Aviation Administration is funding the project with a 95 percent to five percent matching grant, bringing to nearly $55 million the amount of funding the FAA's Airport Improvement Program has spent on the airport, said Marshall Islands Ports Authority Director Jack Chong Gum.

The Republic of the Marshall Islands is a sovereign nation in "free association" with the United States, according to the Compact of Free Association adopted in 1986 and amended in 2004.

Under the Compact, the United States has full authority and responsibility for security and defense of the Marshall Islands, and the Government of the Marshall Islands is obligated to refrain from taking actions that would be incompatible with these security and defense responsibilities.

"We support these projects in the Pacific area because they make it safer for the traveling public," said Ron Simpson, FAA Airports District Office Manager, based in Honolulu, who attended the groundbreaking ceremony.

Simpson was quoted as saying "The FAA is environmentally sensitive."

Pacific International Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jerry Kramer said at the ceremony that the project is expected to employ up to 150 workers and inject as much as $2.7 million in taxes into the Marshall Island treasury.

Several barge loads of revetment rock imported from Nauru are already on site, off-loaded via a ramp built across the reef flat.

The relocation of a 200-ton crane onto the reef flat is expected soon, upon approval by the FAA.

Dredging of the coral reef may begin within weeks. This would be the second episode of coral mining since 2008, when Pacific International Inc. used a suction dredger to mine the coral reef adjacent to the Fire Station site, another FAA-funded project. In that case, the reef mining proceeded without EIA or public comment.

Dr. Jacobson objects that when he visited the site to take underwater photographs, Pacific International Inc. attempted to have him fired from the College of the Marshall Islands, where he is one of four members of the science faculty.

The threat to this mid-Pacific coral reef comes as an international panel of marine experts released a report Tuesday warning that the oceans - and particularly coral reefs - are much more severely damaged than previously realized.

Marine scientists from institutions around the world gathered at Oxford University under the auspices of International Programme on the State of the Ocean and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The 27 participants from 18 organizations in six countries produced a grave assessment of current threats. Oceans are unable to recover, as they are being constantly bombarded with multiple attacks, the panel said.

全文及圖片詳見:ENS報導