Military eyes change in jurisdiction control of land, submerged land in CNMI

The draft CNMI Joint Military Training Plan Environmental Impact Statement is out, a document of more than 1,000 pages that evaluates the potential impacts of proposals to increase joint military training capabilities by developing live-fire ranges and training areas on Tinian and Pagan.

Of these proposed actions, Tinian has three alternatives and Pagan has two. The U.S. military says the alternatives would possibly change federal jurisdictional control of land and submerged land in the CNMI.

On the CJMT’s Chapter 4, a section of the chapter talks about the analysis and potential impacts on land and submerged land use. The U.S. military proposes that the analysis of land use compatibility considers existing land uses that “would be limited or precluded by the proposed action.” What the CNMI has now with land usage on both Tinian and Pagan prevents or could make it impossible for the proposed actions to continue.

This would only be for operation measures and not for construction.

Tinian alternatives
For Tinian alternative 1, the U.S. currently leases two-thirds of lands on Tinian. During the planning process for the development of the alternatives on Tinian, “efforts were made” to minimize the acreage of land required for acquisition. However, this alternative requires acquisition or re-acquisition of lands within and outside of the military lease area.

The document states that, “As discussed in Section 2.4, Tinian Alternatives, Tinian Alternative 1 would require improvements to existing roadways within the Military Lease Area. The federal government transferred jurisdictional control of the public roadways within the Lease Back Area back to the CNMI. Improvements to the public roadways within the Military Lease Area would require a review of the 1999 amendment to the 1984 Tinian lease agreement which addresses roadway ownership and maintenance.”

It adds, “A transfer of the public rights-of-way back to the federal government would constitute a change in jurisdictional control. Since the areas associated with the International Broadcasting Bureau and the public rights-of-way that would be returned for use by the federal government are within the Military Lease Area, the change in jurisdictional control would not result in a significant impact. Therefore, Tinian Alternative 1 would result in a less than significant impact to land use with regard to changes in jurisdictional control.”

Lands outside of the proposed alternative 1 to Tinian will be through long-term real estate agreements.

It states “Both the Tinian International Airport (formerly known as West Field) and the Port of Tinian are public lands currently under the jurisdiction and control of the CNMI Port Authority. The federal government would reacquire management control over an estimated 460 acres (186 hectares) at the Tinian International Airport and 7 acres (3 hectares) of land (parcels) at the Port of Tinian. In total, 467 acres (189 hectares) of land would transfer to federal jurisdictional control, which is 3 percent of total land on Tinian. Because of the large amount of land already under federal jurisdictional control, the re-acquisition of a percent of the total land on Tinian would not represent a significant impact. Therefore, Tinian Alternative 1 would result in a less than significant impact to land use with regard to changes in jurisdictional control.”

However, no submerge land use would be required for a federal jurisdiction control. For alternative 2, the International Broadcasting Bureau facility would cease operations within the Military Lease Area. As necessary, the facility would be relocated outside of the Military Lease Area. Alternative 3 is similar to alternative 2.

Broadcasting Bureau facility would cease operations within the Military Lease Area. As necessary, the facility would be relocated outside of the Military Lease Area

Pagan alternatives
For alternative 1, submerged land here is eyed for federal jurisdiction control but would have less significant impact while land use is significant. Both alternative 1 and 2 are similar.

The proposed use of submerged land by the U.S. military for amphibious training exercises would constitute a change in submerged land use from the present use, conservation. Given the military use would be for 16 weeks per year, other (non-U.S. military) uses could occur during the remainder of the year, the document states.

“Although proposed training would not be consistent with the existing conservation submerged land use, it would still be partially compatible given the limited time that training activities would occur. Therefore, operations associated with Pagan Alternative 1 would result in less than significant impacts to existing submerged land conservation uses.”

ShareTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on Tumblr0Email this to someonePrint this page
Jayson Camacho | Reporter
Jayson Camacho covers community events, tourism, and general news coverages. Contact him at jayson_camacho@saipantribune.com.

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.