Northern Islands Mayor Jerome Aldan claims that residents of the Northern Islands are 100-percent opposed to the U.S. military’s planned live-fire training exercises on Pagan that is outlined in the CNMI Joint Military Training Plan-Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement.
In an interview with Radio New Zealand, the Northern Islands’ chief executive said the U.S. Department of Defense has not taken indigenous and cultural factors into account in its plans.
Aldan, who wants to reestablish a community on Pagan, said that 100 percent of the Northern Island residents are against the military’s bombing of the island.
“The problem is all the alternatives are kind of like the same…they are all about live-fire [training]. So what other alternatives do we have, right? That’s what’s coming out of the draft CJMT-EIS. So we’re left with ‘no room’ to really discuss alternatives because the alternatives still remain—that the island is being proposed for live firing,” Aldan said.
Dr. Mike Hadfield, a professor at the Department of Biology and Kewalo Marine Lab at University of Hawaii, also went on air to make public his opposition to the military using islands for live-fire training.
In an interview with Russia’s Radio Sputnick, Hadfield said despite the U.S Navy saying there’s nothing environmentally important on Pagan, “it’s in fact a unique island.”
Hadfield also told Moscow-based Radio Sputnick that the U.S Navy likes to take other people’s islands and either never leaves them or leaves them uninhabitable.
The Alternative Zero Coalition’s online petition to save Pagan and Tinian has now reached a total of 100,538 signatures. Its organizers plan to send the petition to President Barack Obama.
Cinta Kaipat, a Northern Island resident who seeks to return to her island, said that they are targeting more than 150,000 signatures by the end of this month.
A total of 49,462 will be needed to reach 150,000 signatures.
“Thank you all for your support. If you haven’t done so already, please help us by signing our online petition,” Kaipat said.
Arley Long is the primary advocate behind the electronic petition on Change.org. For more information, visit: www.tinyurl.com/StopIslandBombing or use the hashtags: #SaveTinian #SavePagan or #OurIslandsAreSacred.