30 Sep 2016
- By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa - firstname.lastname@example.org - Variety News Staff
THE Commonwealth Ports Authority will not submit any airport layout or feasibility study to the Department of Defense unless it can show the CPA board the draft of the military’s airport layout plan and feasibility study that specifically deals with the divert airfield for Tinian.
CPA board member Barrie Toves, in an interview on Thursday, said they relayed their position to Federal Aviation Administration representatives and DoD officials during a meeting to discuss the divert airfield on Tinian and the proposed military exercises on Tinian and Pagan.
Rear Adm. Babette Bolivar, Lt. Gen Anthony Crutchfield and other officials of the Department of Defense met with the CPA board, Gov. Ralph Torres, and Tinian’s Sen. Jude Hofschneider and Rep. Edwin Aldan.
Crutchfield, in an interview, said their main goal was to discuss the requirements that DoD and the Pacific Command are asking for the Tinian divert airfield.
He said these include parking space for their aircraft, a refill station and maintenance hangers.
A layout plan from the CPA will give the military a clear understanding of some of the issues involved, he added.
But Toves, in a separate interview, said it is not CPA’s responsibility to submit a layout plan and a feasibility study “because we are not the ones asking for it, they [military] are the ones who need our properties.”
He said they were supposed to go ahead with the layout plan and the feasibility study, but after reviewing the military draft they decided that they would not submit any plans.
“There are concerns …. The FAA cannot move forward unless the board of directors of CPA adopt an airport plan and feasibility study, but [the military] has not yet addressed those concerns.
“We are not saying that we will not entertain [the military proposals] — it’s still on the table for discussion. We are not pulling it off the table, but we suggested that they separate those two issues, and that’s our concern. Because when the idea of a divert airfield was first brought up, we are in support of it. CPA passed a resolution in 2012 in support of a divert airfield, but the DoD came back to us and presented [a military training proposal], and we have a great concern about that because the Tinian community is against it, and the number one issue is the impact on the environment. It is our duty to protect the interests of the commonwealth,” Toves said.
He reiterated that the military proposal is not off the table yet, “but for now we are not ready to entertain it. If they want to proceed with the divert airfield then we will have this continued dialogue with them. We are just waiting for the military to show us something that indicates they are addressing our concerns.”