A delegation of New Yorkers headed by George Pataki, the city's governor, recently visited the Puerto Rican island of Vieques to witness the harmful effects of the us navy's combat training programme being conducted on the island. The delegation met local residents and community leaders on Vieques, who are striving to raise public awareness regarding the degradation caused to the area's ecosystem by the navy's activities, which are also threatening the people's health.

In February 2001, Pataki and Puerto Rico's governor Sila Maria Calderon had met federal officials and urged them to end the military practices. As a result, Donald Rumsfeld, the us defence secretary, had ordered the navy to temporarily cease military training planned for the month of March 2001 (see Down To Earth , Vol 9, No 21, p13, March 31). "Calderon and I will continue our discussions with us president George W Bush and the defence department,' Pataki said.