19 Feb 2016
ASAN, Guam (Press Release) — Following an in-depth review of public comments on the proposed construction of military training areas in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and consultation with CNMI Gov. Ralph Torres, the Department of Defense will issue a Revised Draft Environmental Impact Statement for its proposed actions relative to the CNMI Joint Military Training or CJMT.
Revisions to the new draft will include additional studies on impacts to coral, potable water, local transportation, and socioeconomic effects on surrounding communities. The revised draft will also include more details on the mitigation of risks to the environment, as well as two new alternatives designed to reduce risk to the environment.
During the public comment review period, planners focused on addressing nearly 30,000 comments from private citizens as well as U.S. federal and CNMI agencies concerning proposed expansion of military training activities on Tinian and Pagan. Planners highlighted how the public’s input will significantly contribute to the refinement of the proposed activities.
The revision is expected to be released in March 2017 followed by another opportunity for the public to comment during a review period and public meetings. Decision makers will consider all of the alternatives and their impacts before declaring a preferred alternative. Following the subsequent public comment period, DOD expects to have a signed record of decision in 2018.
“Given the amount of feedback from the community, it became clear early in the planning process that we needed to revise this study,” said U.S. Pacific Command Deputy Commander Lt. Gen. Anthony Crutchfield. “Only through a revised EIS would we be able to address concerns from CNMI leadership and agencies for the best possible alternative.”