Monday, September 16, 2013

Military Buildup Public Hearing on October 8

Dad fishing on Pagan circa 1979
The US Military published a press release today announcing a 60 day comment period for the environmental impact draft proposing military activities in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.  Included in the announcement is a schedule of public hearings.  The public hearing on Saipan takes place from 5 PM to 8 PM on October 8.  I encourage you to attend.
Environmental Impact draft available for review, comment
The U.S. Navy has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement to evaluate the potential environmental impacts associated with military readiness training and testing activities conducted within the Mariana Islands Training and Testing Study Area.

The Navy requests and welcomes public comments on the Mariana Islands Training and Testing Draft EIS.

The Navy proposes to continue to conduct training and testing activities, which may include the use of active sonar and explosives, primarily in established operating and military warning areas of the MITT Study Area. The proposed action also includes pier-side sonar maintenance and testing alongside Navy piers located at Inner Apra Harbor, and land-based training activities at existing ranges and other training locations on Guam and in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The MITT EIS/OEIS is the reevaluation and reauthorization of training and testing activities reviewed in the Mariana Islands Range Complex EIS/OEIS, which the Navy completed with community input in 2010.

The project website may be accessed online at www.MITT-EIS.com to download the Draft EIS/OEIS and submit comments online.

The Navy is seeking public input on the proposed action and alternatives, and the accuracy and adequacy of the Draft EIS/OEIS analysis. The Draft EIS/OEIS is also available in the government documents room at the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Library at the University of Guam, at the Nieves M. Flores Memorial Library in Hagåtña, at the Joeten-Kiyu Public Library in Saipan, the Tinian Public Library, and the Rota Public Library.

Comments will be accepted throughout the 60-day public comment period, from Sept. 13 to Nov. 12. Written comments may be submitted online, in person at the public meetings below or by mail to: Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific, Attention: MITT EIS/OEIS Project Manager, 258 Makalapa Drive, Suite 100, Pearl Harbor, HI 96860-3134

Four open-house public meetings will be held to inform the public and to obtain comments. The public meetings will include an open-house information session and an opportunity to present oral comments. Military representatives will be available to discuss the proposed action and the Draft EIS/OEIS. The public meetings will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Oct. 7 at the University of Guam School of Business and Public Administration Building, on Oct. 8 at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe on Saipan, on Oct. 9 in the Tinian High School cafeteria, and on Oct. 10 in the Sinapalo Elementary School cafeteria.
My family has a long history on Pagan and none of us want to see it used as a military training ground. Living in Washington, DC it is difficult for me to rally the troops, but my cousin Ana Villagomez and my best friends Cinta and Gus Kaipat are doing what they can.

We borrow these islands from our children and we owe it to them to do a better job taking care of our cultural heritage.  The Chamorro people have lost so much in terms of language, art, traditions, and knowledge.  It would be a shame to permanently lose the land, too.

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