While it is understood that people are preoccupied with recovering from the typhoon, it is very important to know that the military is marching forward in its plans to bomb Pagan and conduct live-firing on Tinian. If you want to preserve the beauty of where you live, you need to make your voice heard before the deadline, which is Oct. 1. The military’s plan, which they have admitted to, includes destroying more than 180 historic and cultural sites on the island of Tinian alone (including numerous latte sites), destroying a wildlife conservation area set aside for the Tinian monarch, a rare bird species found nowhere else in the world. They plan to bomb the island of Pagan for “practice.” Many scientific studies were done to see what insects, plants, birds, mammals, lizards, etc. exist on these islands because they are required to show what would be affected by their blowing up the land for their training exercises. This information is online and you can read it at: http://www.cnmijointmilitarytrainingeis.com/documents.
Some of the plants and animals are listed or proposed for listing as threatened or endangered either by the federal government or the CNMI government. Others are culturally important and unique to the Mariana islands, and still others are of particular concern. Some of these include the hawksbill turtle, green turtle, Mariana common moorhen, Mariana Islands tree snail, Micronesian gecko, Mariana skink, Micronesian megapode, Tinian monarch, Mariana fruit bat, two different corals: Acropora globiceps and Pavona diffluens, fish include the humphead and Napolean wrasse, mammals include the bottlenosed dolphin, spinner dolphin, sperm whale, sei whales, humpback whales, Minke whale, melon-headed whales, pantropical spotted dolphin, Blainvilles beaked whale, Cuviers beaked whale, scalloped hammerhead shark and the grey reef shark.
While doing these studies to see what would be affected by the bombing and live-fire, the scientists found creatures, insects and other living things they did not even know existed on these islands. For instance, no millipedes had previously been recorded on Pagan. Two species previously unknown were found for the first time. It is not known for sure all that actually exist on Tinian and Pagan as well as in the waters surrounding. This live-fire and bombing will cause irreversible damage to these islands and to all life that lives there. The bombing and live-fire will also damage and destroy known archaeological sites that encompass the breadth of Tinian history, historic landmarks, and culturally important areas, including “traditional cultural properties.” Pagan Island is the largest and most complex biologically and geographically among the northern islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. This is a disaster for a tourist-based economy and for the people who call these islands home. Don’t let the military take this beauty away from you, your children and your children’s children. Speak up and protect your future, your environment and all creatures that can’t speak up for themselves.