Marianas Variety

Last updateFri, 24 May 2019 12am







    Wednesday, May 22, 2019-7:51:19A.M.






Font Size


Live-fire ranges fact of the day: venomous snakes

(PaganWatch) — This fact concerns the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Mariana Islands Training and Testing Range.

The MITT is one of the Navy’s five projects that create a massive live-fire training range in and around the Mariana Islands. The others are the Mariana Islands Range Complex, Divert Activities and Exercises, Marines Relocation to Guam, and the CNMI Joint Military Training.

The MITT is a critical and fundamental component of the Navy’s plans for joint military training exercises with Asian military forces on the land and sea. The training area and the movement of these foreign troops and equipment is certain to result in the introduction of numerous new invasive species to the CNMI. Ranking high in risk of introduction are two species of venomous snakes that can be deadly to humans.

Left out of the Supplemental EIS for the MITT is the full disclosure of the cumulative impacts associated with the massive live-fire range in and around the Marianas, of which the MITT is just one component. The Navy simply mentions the existence of non-native sea turtle nest predators and goes on to suggest that invasive seagrass and algae are actually beneficial since sea turtles will eat some of them. They then reference the Navy’s 2015 “Regional Biosecurity Plan for Micronesia and Hawai’i” that ignores the realities of the massive joint training in the Marianas’ potential to bring devastating new biological species to our islands and waters.

However, according to a 2010 published research paper “Emerging Challenges of Managing Island Invasive Species: Potential Invasive Species Unintentionally Spread from Military Restructuring,” pathways for invasive species opened by the massive live-fire range and the Marines Relocation to Guam activities are highly likely to bring numerous invasive species to the region and beyond, to Hawai’i and the U.S. mainland. These include five species of snakes including the Taiwan Pit Viper (from Taiwan and Okinawa) and the Banded Krait (from India and Southeast Asia), both of which are venomous and can be deadly to humans.

To comment or raise your concerns about the impacts of the Navy’s expansion of the MITT and the related live-fire projects and proposals, visit (through April 2).

Upcoming open public hearings on the Navy’s proposals:


Monday, March 18, 5-8 p.m.

Kanoa Resort Saipan, Seaside Hall


Tuesday, March 19, 5-8 p.m.

University of Guam, Jesus & Eugenia Leon Guerrero School of Business and Public Administration Building, Anthony Leon Guerrero Multi-Purpose Room 129 and Henry Sy Atrium

Live-fire Ranges Fact of the Day is provided by PaganWatch, an Alternative Zero Coalition member. For more information visit