31 Aug 2016
- By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa - firstname.lastname@example.org - Variety News Staff
GOVERNOR Ralph D.L.G. Torres remains opposed to the proposed bombing exercises on Pagan, saying he has already instructed the Department of Public Lands to go ahead with the homestead program for the remote, volcanic island.
In a press conference Tuesday, he said he recently witnessed a live- training exercise in Hawaii, but, he added, there’s a big difference between Hawaii and Tinian and Pagan.
He said he is not against the military and its activities, but he is against live-fire training activity on Tinian and Pagan.
“KBay [Kaneohe Bay] is a Marine base in Hawaii and within are beaches utilized for training Monday through Friday, but they are open on weekends. They have a live-fire range there and it seems to work for them, but Tinian is different. It’s flat and the beach there is different. We have a short reef while the KBay beach has a longer reef. But the biggest difference is that the people there were born into it,” Torres said, referring to the military presence.
“The locals there, they are saying it works for them. I don’t doubt that it works for them because they were born into it. But what we will do here is we are going to implement it into our people’s lifestyle. At this point, I disagree with the plan in the original proposal. I would like to see an amended version.”
Torres said there will be no bombing activity on Pagan, but he is happy to welcome the Marines who will conduct training exercises on Tinian on Sept. 10-30.
“We support the military, and that’s why we signed the programmatic agreement for a divert airfield on Tinian because we support the military and their training exercises. We support the men and women of our armed forces. But what is being proposed is something that we disagree with. That’s why we have this continuing dialogue on the importance of our culture, of what we have here. The proposed firing range on Tinian will only be about three miles [away from]. . .Saipan, and we have not talked about that. Those are the things that we realized might affect us, so we need to discuss that further. Our goal is to look at the proposed facilities and make sure they know our concerns. Those concerns need to be met and heard, so I would like to see an amended proposal.”