22 Sep 2013
- By Junhan B. Todeno - firstname.lastname@example.org - Variety News Staff
WHILE the Legislature has given the U.S. military an opportunity to discuss its proposed exercises on Pagan, it has yet to listen to stakeholders directly impacted by the plan, said Jerome Aldan, one of the advocates of the “Save Pagan Island” movement.
Aldan said the Northern Island Mayor’s Office, where he works as program manager, has already asked Rep. Christopher Deleon Guerrero to allow them to present to the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation their position on the proposed live-fire training on Pagan.
“Why are they not giving an opportunity to residents of Northern Islands and are only affording that opportunity to the U.S. military,” he asked.
Aldan said he will again request an audience with the lawmakers.
It is not enough for the Legislature to read what has been directly transmitted to them at http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-the-military-plans-save-pagan-island, he added.
The information on the website, including a petition, comments, observations and news articles were directly sent to all lawmakers, Gov. Eloy S. Inos and U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, Aldan said.
He said it might be premature for lawmakers to come up with a position on the proposed training activity of the military in the Northern Islands, but “I think this may be an opportunity for them to express their thoughts regarding” the issue.
Aldan is also hoping that lawmakers have been provided with the reports and positions of the various regulatory agencies in the CNMI, including the Department of Land and Natural Resources, the Department of Public Lands, the Division on Environmental Quality, the Division of Fish and Wildlife and Coastal Resources Management concerning the impact of the proposed military training on Pagan.
As of yesterday, the online petition had 2,597 supporters and still needed 403 to reach the advocates’ target figure of 3,000.
Aldan said this can now be achieved because the “Save Pagan Island” petition has been linked to the website of the Sierra Club, an “environmental powerhouse in the U.S. and around the world with over 10,000 active members.”