Before I forget to mention it, yesterday I was reading through the Marianas Variety and a letter to the editor mentioned a great website at Chamorro.com on the controversy surrounding a proposed pozzolan mine on Pagan, Paganwatch. Pozzolan is a volcanic ash used as a strengthener to concrete and it is a primary ingredient in hydraulic cement, which hardens underwater. The deposits on Pagan are of high quality, far superior to commonly used fly ash, a waste product of coal burning.
Almost every story about Pagan in the local newspapers is referenced there, along with impact studies, proposals, letters, emails, and photos of the island. A treasure trove of material on the environmental damage the strip mine would cause and the meager financial returns for the CNMI. Paganwatch is against the strip mine for a number of reasons, and I must agree. The whole thing seems fishy. There is a long history of scams and shady deals perpetrated on Guam and the CNMI, crazy schemes that promise pennies from heaven and end up despoiling the land and squandering resources. This mining proposal looks like another one.