09 Jul 2014
- By Junhan B. Todiño - firstname.lastname@example.org - Variety News Staff
The number of people who had signed the Save Pagan Island online petition as of July 7 reached 6,318, according to Northern Islands mayor’s office chief of staff Jerome Aldan, who opposes the proposed U.S. military exercises on the volcanic island.
He expects the number of signatories to increase.
According to Aldan, Sierra Club’s national newsletter, “The Planet,” also created a petition and carried an article on the Save Pagan Island Campaign.
Over 10,000 people have signed that petition, he said.
Another “independent, progressive public interest group” Roots Action urged its contacts to send letters to President Obama, U.S. senators and representatives — 27,880 people responded, and 113,800 messages were sent, Aldan said.
Roots Action has also linked its appeal to the Save Pagan website.
The pro-environment social network website Care2, he added, also created a petition, which gathered 72,914 signatories.
On Guam and the CNMI, Aldan said they continued to get support from the We Are Guahan, Sacred Marianas theMariana Islands Nature Alliance, Department of Land and Natural Resource Secretary Arnold I. Palacios, the Division of Environmental Quality, Coastal Resource Management, HB Cabrera & Associates, the Northern Islands mayor’s office, the CNMI House of Representatives and Gani or Northern Island residents.
Aldan also expressed his appreciation to Michael Hadfield, professor of biology at the University of Hawaii who is also instrumental in their advocacy.
Aldan said Hadfield had a chance to visit Pagan on a research expedition.
In a statement, the professor said the U.S. military’s effort to “take” Pagan and use it for “live fire training” is part of its effort to shift military assets to the Pacific island region.
He said the military wants to establish new bases, military training areas, bombing sites, missile bases and port facilities.
“This build-up is wreaking havoc on the environment of fragile Pacific Islands, reefs, and ocean life, as well as the people who live on these islands and depend on the land and ocean to sustain them,” Hadfield said.
Aldan said the support they’re getting from all over the nation is encouraging the local people in the Northern Islands “to fight the military’s plans.”
To sign the petition go to http://savepaganisland.org.