12 Jun 2013

US military says it's taking concerns about CNMI activity seriously

3:29 pm on 12 June 2013

The US Marine Corps says it's taking seriously concerns about the possible impact of proposed live firing ranges in the Northern Marianas.

The military wants to use the islands of Tinian and Pagan for explosives training because areas on Guam and Hawaii are already being used at capacity.

But opposition groups say the proposals will cause significant environmental damage and restrict access to areas of cultural significance, particularly on Pagan.

The Public Affairs Officer for the Marines on Guam, Major Neal Fisher, says the military has undertaken a lot of research and public consultation and will be doing everything it can to minimise the impact.

"I think the public perception that there will be this grand, unobstructed, bomb dropping set of exercises all over the island misses the mark when it comes to the type of training that we do."

Major Fisher says an environmental impact statement will be prepared over the next year and if it shows live-fire activity will have a severe negative effect, they will go back to the drawing board.