Petition vs military plans passes 68,000 signatures

The Change.org electronic petition initiated by Arley and Phillip Long and promoted by many women in the Tinian community and endorsed by the CNMI and Guam community coalitions has now garnered over 68,000 signatures that oppose the military’s plans to bomb the islands of Tinian and Pagan. The hugely successful petition has garnered vast support from several organizations across the U.S. such as Earth Justice, the Center for Biological Diversity, Save the Beach, and many others around the globe.

The online petition seeks to stop the U.S. military’s proposed live fire training on Tinian and Pagan. Actions, at the military’s own admission, must require the forced relocation of both Tinian and Pagan residents from the proposed bombing areas. The military’s proposed actions are detailed in the CNMI Joint Military Training EIS/OEIS document: http://www.cnmijointmilitarytrainingeis.com/documents.

Krissy Cepeda shows off one of the T-shirts that call for the preservation of Pagan and Tinian. (Contributed Photo)

Krissy Cepeda shows off one of the T-shirts that call for the preservation of Pagan and Tinian. (Contributed Photo)

On Tinian the military’s plan calls for high hazard impact areas, convoy courses, convoy course engagement areas, tracked vehicle driver’s courses, landing zones, observation posts, surface radar sites, tactical amphibious landing beaches, maneuver areas, field artillery, indirect fire ranges, base camp, and hazardous munitions (weapons) storage areas.

On Pagan, the military proposes high-hazard impact areas, expeditionary base camp/bivouac areas, tactical amphibious landing beaches, expeditionary airfield, military training trail networks, south range complex, north range complex, which includes landing zones, firing positions and target areas as well as hazardous munitions (weapons) storage areas and supply routes.

The U.S. military also says in its proposed action that permanent and unrepairable impacts (significant) damage will be done to the CNMI. The military’s EIS admits the closure and proposed future control over the CNMI airspace and the destruction of CNMI cultural resources. They acknowledge the poisoning of the geology and soil on Tinian and Pagan, the creation of noise at all hours of the day and night, the limitation of access to CNMI lands and submerged land use, the loss of access to Tinian and Pagan recreation, hunting, and cultural areas. Moreover, the military admits that there will be huge losses of wildlife on Tinian and Pagan, and significant losses of marine wildlife off the waters of Tinian and Pagan.

The military also acknowledges that there will be significant losses, such as the impact to tourism growth on Tinian and Pagan. Lastly, they admit to the stunning negative visual impacts in bombing the northern part of Tinian and the effects it will have on the southern residents and tourists of Saipan.

The online petition, www.tinyurl.com/StopIslandBombing, is pushing for a broad grassroots effort throughout the United States in order to garner 100,000 signatures for a formal petition to the White House. The U.S. White House has a standing policy that the U.S. President will address directly any petition of 100,000 or more that is sent to the White House.

“The online petition is now just 32,000 signatures away from that goal and it needs your help to stop the massive proposed destruction by the U.S. military,” the petition’s organizers said.

Supporters of the petition have clarified their position as “staunch patriots and strong advocates for U.S. veterans and the United States.” They want to make it clear that their position against the military’s proposed action is simply that. They are against the implementation of a hazardous high impact bombing range on Tinian and Pagan. The supporters are against the military’s proposed action of the forced relocation of island residents, the destruction of the environment, the killing of wildlife and sea life, and the termination of a tourism-based economy on the two islands.

Arley Long, the primary advocate behind the electronic petition on Change.org, said: “I am overwhelmed with excitement and feel we do stand together in protecting these beautiful Islands. I would like to thank numerous groups globally, and residents living on and off island that have been great supporters by sharing this petition and writing to the press in their regions as well.”

“A special thank you to my husband Phil Long, Sylvia Frain, Andrew, and Jason Barnaby from change.org, Jude Hudson, attorney Lisa Brownee, Juanita Mendiola, Cinta Kaipat, Robert Rabin, and Rosalgia Alvarez from Puerto Rico. With all this help we’re still not done. Please keep sharing this petition, and writing to the president,” she added.

For more information, visit: www.tinyurl.com/StopIslandBombing or use the hashtags: #SaveTinian #SavePagan or #OurIslandsAreSacred.

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