Tinian Mayor Ramon Dela Cruz has written to 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 a letter dated yesterday, Dela Cruz asked Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Areas Esther P. Kia’aina for help in finding a qualified candidate.
“As I explained to your predecessor, we need a highly qualified individual, preferably a retired military officer experienced in Pacific affairs and environmental impact studies,” Dela Cruz told Kia’aina.
Most importantly, the technical assistant will help Tinian with the Commonwealth Joint Military Training plan or CJMT.
The U.S military is spending upwards of $30 million on the CJMT EIS.
At the same time, the U.S Air Force will soon issue an extensive “Draft Environmental Impact Statement” detailing how they want to maximize the use of Tinian leased lands.
The U.S. Congress has authorized millions of dollars for the military to prepare their plans for the island, but nothing for Tinian to prepare its responses: “How will the military development impact our tourism and cattle industries? How we can make them work together?” Dela Cruz asked Kia’aina.
“Then, the final EIS on the CJMT will be issued, followed by a Record of Decision from the U.S Marine Corps and probably congressional hearings. It isn’t fair that we don’t have top quality technical assistants on our staff, as does the military,” Dela Cruz said.
Back in September 2012, Dela Cruz wrote then-Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Areas Anthony Babauta to ask for a technical assistant to advise the Tinian leadership.
Dela Cruz also reached out to Gov. Eloy S. Inos in April this year, asking for help in providing a technical assistant to Tinian. Dela Cruz had also asked former governor Ben Fitial for the same thing.
In her recent visit to Tinian, Kia’aina assured Dela Cruz that when she reaches Washington D.C, she plans “to be Tinian’s advocate,” but Tinian has yet to receive further notice or information.
“We need the same high quality people on our side of the table. Without that support, I fear there will be negative repercussions after the Record of Decision is issued and our people feel they have not received a fair deal,” Dela Cruz said.