US military says it's listening to CNMI concerns

8:00 pm on 22 April 2015

The US military says it will take into account cultural and indigenous concerns when implementing plans to expand activity in the Northern Marianas.

Pagan Island

Pagan Island Photo: Supplied

The plans include the lease of Pagan Island for exercises including light bomb drops and live-fire training on Tinian.

The Speaker of the House has come out against the plans and the local mayor says the military is ignoring the concerns of the indigenous people who want to return to the currently uninhabited Pagan.

But the Executive Director of the Marine Corps Forces for the Pacific, Craig Whelden, says the military is doing more consultations than they are legally required to do.

"We have some consultations with the Historical Preservation Office ahead of us. We have consultations with Fish and Wildlife Service ahead of us and we have the input of the local people which we are soliciting during this comments period, particularly next week during our public hearings meetings."

Mr Whelden says the process is around two years through the three year lead-up to implementation of the plans.