Repopulation of Pagan sought despite military’s eye on area

Despite of the U.S. military’s interest in Pagan for training purposes, Northern Islands mayor-elect Jerome Aldan wants to have residents visiting the island more frequently than is the case now.

To usher in his new administration, Aldan confirmed that a priority of his would be to focus on developing agricultural homesteads there.

This would enable residents to return to their islands and cultivate land for subsistence living, according to Aldan, adding that this would be his “top priority.”

Another priority is to activate the Pagan fishing community in conjunction with the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Another, pursuant to CNMI Public Law 16-18, is to identify areas for free trade zones in the Northern Islands.

That law allows 30 hectares of any island in the Northern Islands to be established as free trade zones to “stimulate and facilitate economic growth and development.”

The U.S. military has been looking at the Mariana Islands—namely Guam, Tinian, and Pagan—for training purposes as it looks to rebalance its forces across the Pacific.

The CNMI Joint Military Training draft environment impact statement for Tinian and Pagan is to be published in February, a month after Aldan is sworn in.

Larger scale combined live fire, and combined arms amphibious assault have been described as the proposed training for Pagan, according to the Marine Corp Forces Pacific.

This training will be covered under the EIS. Public meetings on the DEIS is scheduled for March, with public comment period closing in April.

The final EIS is scheduled for February 2016. A record of decision is expected in April 2016.

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Dennis B. Chan | Reporter
Dennis Chan covers education, environment, utilities, and air and seaport issues in the CNMI. He graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Guam. Contact him at dennis_chan@saipantribune.com.

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