A closed-door meeting between members of the Legislature and U.S. military was held Tuesday to discuss issues concerning military exercises in the CNMI, particularly on Tinian.
The plan is under the Commonwealth Joint Military Training plan and the Environmental Impact Statement that the U.S. military intends to release.
In an interview with reporters, Sen. Jude U. Hofschneider (R-Tinian) confirmed that the meeting took place. He declined, however, to give details about the meeting, saying only that the CJMT-EIS plan was discussed.
Hofschneider said he suggested to the Senate that the U.S. military officials be invited again so that more members of the Legislature can “listen” to what the military officials had to say about the CJMT-EIS plan.
The lawmaker made the suggestion at the first session of the Senate 19th Legislature.
There is no schedule yet as to when the next meeting between U.S. military officials and members of the Legislature will take place.
In October 2014, former Tinian mayor Ramon Dela Cruz wrote the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs to ask for technical assistance on military development issues.
Specifically, Dela Cruz wants to hire a retired military officer who will help Tinian deal with the several military plans involving the island.
In early 2013, the U.S. Department of Defense published new proposals to establish a series of live-fire and maneuver ranges and training areas on Tinian and Pagan, two months after the release of a study showing insufficient training facilities in the Western Pacific, particularly those in the CNMI.
The Defense Department also said it intends to prepare an overseas environment impact statement.
It said the expansion of these training areas and construction of new ones will satisfy identified training deficiencies for the U.S. Pacific Command forces that are based in or regularly train in the CNMI. (Joel Pinaroc)