30 Sep 2016
- By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa - firstname.lastname@example.org - Variety News Staff
ARMY Lt. Gen. Anthony Crutchfield, the deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, said the Record of Decision for the Environmental Impact Statement regarding divert activities and exercises initiative in NMI is expected to be out soon, and from there the military can move forward with its proposed activities for the islands.
Crutchfield and Rear Adm. Babette Bolivar, commander of Joint Region Marianas, and officials of the Department of Defense met with CNMI officials headed by Gov. Ralph Torres on Thursday afternoon to discuss the Commonwealth Ports Authority requirements with regards to the proposed divert airfield on Tinian.
The meeting lasted for over two hours and was held in the conference room of the CPA office at the seaport.
After the meeting, Crutchfield and Torres answered questions from the media.
Crutchfield said the Record of Decision for the EIS is already complete and was signed on Sept. 23.
“It will be out by the end of October,” he added.
“We are just waiting for it so we can move forward with the Tinian action.”
On Friday, today, Crutchfield said the military will provide transportation for the U.S. and CNMI officials who will be visiting Pagan as part of the 902 talks.
He said the trip to Pagan is not a military activity.
“We are just providing transportation for the 902 team as the island is a difficult place to get to. It’s a 902 visit but we would like to see it also and to show the 902 delegations what we are thinking about Pagan and to show them the type of requirements that we would be asking for some time in the future.”
The governor said Crutchfield and Bolivar were here to update the CNMI regarding any developments as far as the military’s proposal for the islands is concerned.
“It was a good discussion and we will continue to have this dialogue and, at the end of the day, we are hoping that our concerns will be addressed by the military,” Torres said.
The 902 talks between the U.S. and CNMI governments will resume on Saturday. Assistant Interior Secretary for Insular Affairs Esther Kia’aina is the head of the federal delegation and will be joining the governor and other officials in today’s trip to Pagan.
“This trip is a 902 trip, and we will be showing them the proposed homestead program on Pagan and what we are trying to build there,” Torres said. “This will be the third round of our 902 discussions about pressing issues such as immigration and the military buildup.”
902 refers to Section 902 of the islands’ Covenant with the U.S. It allows the two governments to hold consultations regarding issues that affect the relationship between them.