Seven House Chairmen visit the Northern Marianas

Aug 22, 2014

One of the most high-powered groups ever to visit our islands arrived by military jet on Sunday. Seven House Chairmen, under the leadership of Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings of Washington, left DC on August 9 for the Western Pacific. I traveled with the delegation and at my invitation Chairman Hastings included the Northern Marianas as the third stop on the itinerary. In New Zealand and Australia we met with those countries’ leaders concerning the status of negotiations on the free-trade Trans-Pacific Partnership. We also looked at energy resources – the Maori-owned geothermal power station and the Atiamuri hydroelectric plant on New Zealand’s North Island, and in Australia, Conoco Philips’ LNG terminal outside of Darwin and BHP’s largely-automated coal port in Newcastle. At all our stops we discussed security issues, not only the realignment of U.S. forces to Australia and the Marianas, but also how to ensure supplies of food, energy, and strategically important minerals for the U.S. and our regional allies.

In addition to Chairman Hastings, the delegation included:

Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK), House Agriculture Committee;
Chairman Jack Kingston (R-GA), Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies;
Chairman John Fleming (R-LA), Natural Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs;
Chairman Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources;
Chairman Richard Hudson (R-NC), Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security; and
Chairman Rob Woodall (R-GA), Rules Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process. Mr. Woodall was also recently selected as Chairman of the highly influential Republican Study Committee.

I was and remain very grateful that these gentlemen accepted my invitation and took the time to include the Northern Marianas in CODEL Hastings.