Sunday, August 28, 2016

Environmentalists back from extended Pagan tour

SAIPAN – A group of environmentalists who went to Pagan to film a documentary titled “Too Beautiful To Bomb,” and to get first-hand experience of the remote volcanic island, had to extend their stay due to the bad weather.
The trip was organized by the Alternative Zero Coalition, which comprises several local environmental groups opposed to “military plans that will harm the land, sea, and people of the Marianas.”

The 20-member group left for Pagan on Aug. 10, and was originally due back on Aug. 13, but they returned to Saipan on Aug. 19.
According to Cinta Kaipat, Alternative Zero Coalition co-founder, their group is a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit against the U.S. Navy filed by the Tinian Women’s Association, Guardians of Gani (Northern Islands), Pagan Watch and the Center for Biological Diversity.
They are represented by Earthjustice, a non-profit environmental law firm. David Henkin of Earthjustice and local lawyer Kimberlyn King-Hinds are the attorneys for the group.
Their lawsuit opposes the Navy’s decision to station thousands of Marines on Guam, and to conduct live-fire training on Tinian and Pagan.
Associated Press photojournalist Daniel Lin, who was sent here by the AP for the post-Typhoon Soudelor coverage last year, was also part of the group that went to Pagan.
Roy Jacinto and Sylvan Tudela of Chelu photos also joined the trip.
Footage to be used in fundraising efforts
Kaipat said footage taken by the film crew will be used for a fundraising trailer to “show why we must not allow the U.S. military to irreparably destroy our beautiful Pagan, the crown jewel of the Marianas.”
Earthjustice attorney David Henkin and representatives of the Center for Biological Diversity, a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit, wanted to visit Tinian and Pagan to get a first-hand look at the areas that the U.S. military is proposing to use for live-fire bombings and other training exercises.
In a media statement, Henkin said, “it is absolutely necessary and critical to be on the land, walk on the land, and be with the people who have lived there for many, many years.”
He added, “It would be a shame, such a shame to spoil the island, once they drop those bombs – it would never be the same.”
Kaipat, a former resident of Pagan, said the U.S. military “wants to take the entire island and unleash its full-spectrum assaults from air, land and sea!”
'Too Beautiful to Bomb'
Kaipat said she is thankful for the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation for appropriating funding for the “Too Beautiful to Bomb” Project through the Northern Islands mayor’s office that allowed a film crew to go to Pagan.
“For this, we are truly, truly grateful!” Kaipat said as she also expressed gratitude to Northern Islands Mayor Jerome Aldan and his staff for their assistance.
Kaipat is likewise thankful to the owners, captain and crew of MV Luta, “as well as to Keli and Norm Tenorio for ensuring the safe return of our friends and family, and thanks also to our Lt. Gov. Vic Hocog and to the Coast Guard."

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