ACTION ALERT: A Plea from Pagan and Tinian: ‘Don’t Drop Bombs in My Backyard!’

July 28th, 2015 - by admin

Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa / Variety News Staff & Arley Long Tinian, MP – 2015-07-28 02:30:33

Petitioning President of the United States

Letter to:
President of the United States
United States Department of Defense
US House of Representatives and the US Senate

DO NOT use the inhabited US islands of Tinian and Pagan as a HIGH IMPACT bombing range.

Don’t Drop Bombs in My Backyard!
Arley Long Tinian, MP

The small Pacific islands of Pagan and Tinian are home to pristine beaches, majestic mountains and colorful sea life. They are also home to 2,800 American citizens, as they are part of the Marianas, a US territory.

The US Navy has plans to bomb these islands as part of a training exercise, obliterating their rare coral ecosystems, wildlife, and important historic artifacts. The islands’ residents would be relocated, kicked off their ancestral land for the sake of bomb testing. We cannot let this happen.

Residents of Pagan and Tinian have always had the fighting spirit. In World War II, the islands were taken over as a base of operations by both sides, but the islanders held onto their land. In 1981, a volcano forced a total evacuation of Pagan. But the residents did what they had to do to get back, because these islands are our home, the only home we’ve ever known.

Now, the US military wants our islands to play war games with our home. We need the Secretary of Navy to cancel plans for Combined Joint Military Training exercises on Tinian and Pagan Islands.

The bombings would restrict the use of two-thirds of my island of Tinian, leaving only 10 square miles for its people, and rare and endangered wildlife. On the island of Pagan, the Navy wants to relocate the entire indigenous population so that they may bomb 100% of the island. Our pristine beaches would become theaters for elaborate live-ammunition military exercises, and our people’s traditions and culture would be all but extinguished.

The residents of Tinian and Pagan are citizens of the United States, just like you. But since we are so far from the mainland and have no representation in Congress, our voices are often not heard.

Now, we are crying out to make sure our homes are not demolished, and our 4,000 years of history are not lost forever.

We only have one home. We can’t let it be destroyed. Please join us in asking the Secretary of Navy to cancel his plans to bomb Tinian and Pagan.

Military Grants NMI Request for Another Extension
Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa / Variety News Staff

(July 28,, 2015) — The US Marine Corps Forces Pacific has granted the CNMI’s request for a second extension of 14 days to the public comment period due to the network outage that the islands recently experienced.

Craig B. Whelden, executive director of the US Marine Corps Forces Pacific ,in his letter to acting Gov. Ralph Torres said the new date for the end of the public comment period is Aug. 17.

Torres wrote to Whelden on July 15 to request a 14-day additional extension for commenting on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

The CNMI was in a “state of significant emergency” during the network outage that began on the morning of July 8, and the public was unable to access the DEIS website and could not provide comments.

“I’m aware that Typhoon Nangka had an adverse impact on the CNMI and the resulting challenges the community is facing, particularly your communications infrastructure,” Whelden told Torres. “My thoughts and prayers are with the people of the CNMI.”

Torres in an statement said: “I am glad the Department of Defense and Marine Forces Pacific recognized the difficult circumstances the CNMI has experienced in recent weeks. A key component of the [National Environmental Policy Act] process is public involvement which relies heavily on internet access.

Without online access to documents and resources regarding the CJMT project, productive comments from the residents of our islands have been hampered, and our ability to accurately voice the many concerns about the proposed activities was affected.”

Torres added, “The NEPA process is unique in that it gives every person in the CNMI an opportunity to effect change to federal government policies and plans. Every resident has a strong voice and I sincerely hope every resident uses it.

If anyone would like to learn about the . . . proposed actions or would like to submit a comment to the Navy about your concerns, support or opposition, I strongly encourage you to visit the CNMI government website on the project”

Gov. Eloy S. Inos earlier requested a 90-day extension, but the military granted only 60 days.

Whelden, in his recent letter to Torres, said they will place a notice of extension in the Federal Register and on the project website.

He asked the CNMI government to publish information on the extension in local newspapers and announce it on local TV.