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    Thursday, February 22, 2018-6:01:07P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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US court orders DoD to complete administrative record in Marine relocation

THE U.S. Department of the Navy and the U.S. Department of Defense have been ordered by the federal court to complete, within 30 days, the administrative record in reaching the final decision to relocate Marines from Okinawa to Guam.

On Monday, District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona granted a request from the Tinian Women’s Association, Guardians of Gani, Pagan Watch and the Center for Biological Diversity to take judicial notice and order the agencies to complete the administrative record.

Representing the plaintiffs, David Henkin of Earth Justice earlier filed the lawsuit challenging the large-scale effort by the Navy and Department of Defense to relocate several thousand U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam and for the Marine Corps to conduct live-fire training in the CNMI.

The lawsuit states that the DoD violated the National Environmental Policy Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.

According to the plaintiffs, moreover, the administrative record is incomplete because four documents were not included:

1) The final training-needs assessment which includes an assessment of current training ranges and supporting facilities in the U.S. Pacific Command Area of Responsibility (dated April 2012 and revised March 2013);

2) The final CNMI joint-military -training requirements and siting study (dated January 2013 and revised March 2013);

3) The March 14, 2013 Federal Register notice announcing the Navy’s intent to prepare the CNMI joint military training Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement, 78 Fed. Reg. 16,257; and

4) The draft CNMI joint-military-training EIS/OEIS (dated April 2015)

The plaintiffs have submitted the four disputed documents and requested the court to take judicial notice of them.

DoD, for its part, has asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that the court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, adding that the lawsuit presents a political question because the executive branch decided to relocate the Marines as part of a treaty negotiated with Japan.