A top US military official says a final environmental impact statement around live-fire training plans for the Northern Marianas is now likely in 2017.
Last week the military announced a second draft EIS after the deadline passed for feedback on the first, which included strong opposition.
The US Marine Corps Forces Pacific executive director Craig Whelden says the potential impact on groundwater and coral from training needs further analysis.
Mr Whelden says he wouldn't call the move a victory for opponents but simply going through a through process.
"The process is running its course the way it is supposed to run and that's one of the beauties of living in a democratic society. We have laws that we are required to follow, this one happens to be the National Environmental Law and I believe and we believe that we are following it exactly how it requires us to."