Tinian Mayor Joey P. San Nicolas has written to the executive director of Marianas Forces Pacific, Craig Whelden, to propose a cooperative plan for training U.S. Marines on Tinian, rather than wait for the Marines to propose another plan that might be contentious again.
“I have consistently said ‘no’ to the heavy artillery range with its high impact area,” according to San Nicolas, “and I am saying ‘no’ to the dredging the coral reef at Chulu Beach.”
In his letter to Whelden, the mayor stated, “Considering that the Navy has decided to create a supplement to the draft [CNMI Joint Military Training Draft Environmental Impact Statement], and taking into consideration the comments offered by our people, now may be the time to head off future litigation. I am suggesting that as part of the revisions to the draft EIS the military analyze in their supplemental draft an alternative that is more compatible with the community. The basis for this alternative includes no use of artillery on Tinian, no destruction of coral reefs at Chulu by development of the AAV ramp, and protection of the National Historic Landmark at North Field.”
In addition, the mayor is asking MarForPac to support a request from Tinian to the Department of the Interior incorporating Tinian into the new Manhattan Project National Historic Park system, along with the Los Alamos Laboratories, Oak Ridge Tennessee and Hanford Washington sites that have already been approved by Congress. To make this happen, San Nicolas is requesting that training at North Field be restricted to the area south of Runway Baker, except for air field operations on Baker and Able runways and parking aprons.
The mayor believes getting Tinian into the Manhattan Project National Historic Park system would be a tremendous boost to the island’s tourism marketing and can be balanced with military training in the military leased area.
Finally, the mayor suggests in his letter to Whelden that it “would also be advantageous to the resolution of issues if the [Department of defense] agreed to provide the Tinian people with the opportunity to compete for future base operations jobs by assisting our Public School System and Northern Marianas College to develop a curriculum that will build the skills needed for our people to obtain jobs on whatever military facilities are developed.”
This is San Nicolas’ second initiative relative to military training on Tinian, two-thirds of which is leased to DoD. Previously, the mayor wrote to Gov. Eloy S. Inos requesting the establishment of a Civilian-Military Advisory Council for Tinian, as provided for in the Technical Agreement attached to the Covenant. (Office of the Mayor of Tinian and Aguiguan)a