CPA reiterates ‘no’ to Saipan divert airfield


The Commonwealth Ports Authority has reiterated its opposition to the hybrid divert airfield that is being proposed on Saipan.

In a board meeting last Wednesday, CPA board members restated their “no” to a divert airfield on the island.

“It was reiterated during last week’s board meeting on Rota that CPA’s position still remains, based on the resolution that was passed last year, that there will be no divert hybrid on Saipan,” CPA executive director MaryAnn Lizama said.

“We are reiterating, we remain steadfast on that decision,” she added.

Last year, CPA adopted board resolution 14-02 on the U.S Air Force’s divert activities and exercise initiative and proposed construction project in the CNMI.

The resolution informs the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Department of Defense that CPA will “only endorse and enter agreement for location of the divert [airfield] on the island of Tinian [and] will not support nor submit an airport layout plan for the Saipan International Airport for divert activities.”

Last October, the U.S. Air Force released a revised draft environmental impact statement for a divert airfield project in the CNMI inclusive of three options for an airfield on either Saipan, Tinian, or on both islands.

The “hybrid” option, which military officials say spreads reduced operations on both islands, was the main selling point of the new draft that came three years after the first draft was released in 2012.

The CNMI government and the general public have until Dec. 14, to submit formal comments.

Lizama said they will be submitting comments that will also reflect their position.

“The comments that we’re going to be submitting will also reflect that and has been reflective of our position with regards to Saipan divert,” she said.

Frauleine S. Villanueva-Dizon | Reporter
Frauleine Michelle S. Villanueva was a broadcast news producer in the Philippines before moving to the CNMI to pursue becoming a print journalist. She is interested in weather and environmental reporting but is an all-around writer. She graduated cum laude from the University of Santo Tomas with a degree in Journalism and was a sportswriter in the student publication.

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