Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Forum gives answers to military buildup

Forum gives answers to military buildup

Saipan Tribune
Friday, January 29, 2010

The MIMC public forum held Wednesday at the Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe and broadcast live to Tinian and Rota through sponsors NMC and IT&E provided many answers about the pending military buildup in the Marianas region.

The event drew a larger than anticipated crowd and provided an opportunity for community members to get answers about the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and its effects on the islands.

The advisory consulting team from Guam, Celeste Werner and Mike Hrapla, vice presidents of Matrix Design, were on hand to give a presentation of the realities that the CNMI faces in the U.S. Marines' relocation to Guam and Tinian. It covered details of the live fire range, restricted access areas, training frequency, possible future expansion plans, and economic and environmental impacts. They also provided specific details on how to best submit comments to the Joint Guam Program Office so that local concerns can be heard prior to the Feb. 17, 2010, submission deadline.

Each of the islands had three rounds of question and answer periods in which many questions were asked. The most common concern seemed to be restricted access to the north end of Tinian and the numerous cultural and historic landmarks. While the draft EIS only provides potential impacts, the ACT team was able to shed a better perspective on what to expect.

MIMC coordinator Tom Linden was on hand on Tinian and was highly encouraged by the number of students who took the time to attend and ask questions. “The fact that so many students are concerned and interested in how it will influence the future of our islands and culture was very inspiring,” said Linden.

Gov. Benigno R. Fitial was very pleased with the turnout of the forum and the active participation of the community. “As stakeholders, we must ensure that the concerns of the community are heard,” said Fitial.

Anyone who wants more information on the Draft EIS or the information that was presented at the MIMC Forum can download the information from the Department of Commerce website at or contact Tom Linden at (PR)

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