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Governor resubmits his version of House resolution on military training 

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GOVERNOR Ralph DLG Torres on Wednesday resubmitted to the House Committee on Federal and Foreign Relations a proposed substitute version of House Resolution 21-8 pertaining to the CNMI government’s position on U.S. military activities in the Commonwealth.

In July, the committee revised Rep. Sheila Babauta’s H.R. 21-8 and included language recommended by Our Commonwealth 670, a local group advocating for the protection of the natural environment and indigenous culture.

Instead of “requesting” as originally drafted, the House panel approved a version with a title stating that the 21st Legislature is “supporting” the governor “in his continued opposition to any increase in destructive military training and testing in the NMI.”

Chaired by Rep. Luis John Castro, the committee met with the governor to discuss the resolution.

After the meeting, the governor proposed a substitute version with the following title: “To acknowledge and support the Honorable Governor Ralph Deleon Guerrero Torres in his continued efforts to ensuring adequate protection for the natural resources, economy, culture, environment, and health and quality of life in the Northern Mariana Islands related to expanded military activities in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.”

In his letter on Wednesday, the governor said that he is aware that legislators are busy with this year’s elections but, “it has been three weeks since our meeting and it is my understanding that you have not convened a meeting with your committee members to adopt the substitute version that I submitted.”

The governor sent the committee  a copy of his proposed version of H.R. 21-8 on Sept. 21, 2020 “in the spirit of cooperation.”

He told Castro on Wednesday: “I am again providing your office a copy of the same substitute version, for your convenience.”

The governor reiterated that the intent of his proposed substitute version “is to capture the totality of all military activities…, how they each progressed, and of the efforts by our government over the years to ensure adequate protection of our lands, resources and environment.”

The substitute version, he added, will also address each of the concerns that are expressed in the committee version of H.R. 21-8.

“The evolving views of our people and differing actions taken by our government in the past decade make it absolutely necessary to have an official record that [will] provide members of our community and our future generation a resource document to refer to in order to have a full understanding of the totality of military initiatives here at home,” the governor said.

He said the author of the resolution has expressed her full support for the substitute version “as it provides for a comprehensive historical information that would serve as an educational resource for our people.”

Torres added, “We concluded our meeting with the clear understanding that you will include my proposed substitute version onto the agenda to be acted on at your next committee meeting.”

In an interview on Thursday, Castro said his committee will meet next week to address the governor’s proposed version of H.R. 21-8.

He said the governor submitted his proposed version when the Legislature was busy with the fiscal year 2021 budget deliberations.

Castro said the proposed version is also “too lengthy and completely different” from the original and the final versions. It will take time for the members to carefully review the governor’s submission, Castro added.


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