Pagan Island, the “Crown Jewel” of the Marianas, is again slated for certain environmental devastation, this time by a proposal from the U.S. Military to use it for “live-fire training” which includes everything from artillery to bombing.
If this is your first time viewing this blog, please see previous posts for the full story on Pagan Island and the efforts to stop the previous proposal by Japanese investors to use it as a dumping ground for 2011 tsunami debris.
Pagan is a small island in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). It is one of the most biologically and geologically diverse islands in the archipelago, and is home to many threatened and endangered species, some of which are found nowhere else in the world. Aside from its stunning beauty and rich ecological resources, Pagan is also one of the most habitable of the northern most islands in the CNMI. In fact, this island has supported the ancestors of Pagan islanders for over 3,000 years, as evidenced by Chamorro stone ruins found skirting her beautiful beaches.
The U.S. Military plans to occupy ALL of Pagan Island for live- fire training and military exercises, ignoring the indigenous rights of Pagan Islanders, and the devastating environmental impacts that such activity will certainly cause.
Further details are on the website: www.cnmijointmilitarytrainingeis.com.
The clearing required for live-fire training, and the ballistic disturbances resulting from such actions (which could include everything from artillery to bombing) will most certainly jeopardize Pagan and cause, disturbances to its rich agriculturally and ecologically valuable topsoil, an increased risk of fire during dry summers, erosion and consequent destruction of Pagan’s coral reefs, and would risk extinction of Pagan’s unique flora and fauna. These disturbances, combined with the unexploded ordinance and toxins that are sure to be left behind, will render this island uninhabitable for centuries to come. This is unacceptable.
The US military has a long history of destroying Pacific islands. U.S. atomic testing on and around Bikini atoll rendered numerous Pacific islands uninhabitable until today. Kaho`olawe, an island of comparable size and environmental sensitivity in Hawai`i was used for “live-fire training exercises” (predominantly bombing) and was left barren and littered with unexploded ordinance. Essentially all of the unique flora and fauna of Kaho`olawe are gone forever.
The U.S. Military has already destroyed Farallon de Medinilla, another island in the CNMI, which it used for bombing and military exercises. In addition, large portions of Guam and Tinian are currently occupied for Military purposes. This U.S. Military Proposal to use Pagan Island is unethical on all accounts and will cause the destruction of another island and the consequent disenfranchisement of more indigenous people of the Pacific.