The U.S. Navy presented yesterday to the CNMI government as well as other key government stakeholders a plan to include a supplementary Environmental Impact Statement to the 2015 version.
The supplemental EIS, expected to be completed by the end of the year, began its scoping period last July 28, 2017; it will end on Sept. 15, 2017.
Led by Commander Pacific Fleet environmental program manager John Van Name, the presentation was made to the Legislature yesterday at the House chamber on Capital Hill.
According to Joint Region Marianas spokesman Brad Ruszala, the presentation was merely to inform the CNMI government of the U.S. Navy’s “intent to submit” a supplemental EIS.
“This is really a courtesy to go to all of the different offices and the stakeholders in the area and give them a basic briefing without all of the facts yet,” he said.
“By the end of this year, we should submit something that [has] a little bit more information on what the proposal would entail,” said Ruszala. The proposal would be open to public comments as well.
According to documents provided by the Navy, the EIS supplement would update the 2015 EIS analysis with “revised acoustic effects criteria and updated species densities” as well as “new scientific research.”
The 2015 EIS would also be updated with new information provided by the EIS supplement.
The new information is not expected to change the conclusions reached in the 2015 final EIS, Record of Decision, Endangered Species Act consultation, or Marine Mammal Protection Act authorization.
The EIS supplement is necessary to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act and former president Jimmy Carter’s executive order 12114, by reassessing the environmental impacts evaluated in the 2015 EIS.
“The EIS supplement addresses training and testing activities associated with new weapons and systems expected to reach initial operating capability between 2020 and 2025” as well as “adjustments to training and testing activities associated with changes in mission requirements,” the documents specified.
The U.S. military has been using Farallon de Medinilla as a live-fire training facility since the early 2000s.