NORTHERN MARIANAS TO APPEAL COURT RULING HALTING MILITARY TRAINING ON

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FARALLON DE MEDINILLA

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (March 21, 2002 – Radio Australia)---Northern Mariana Islands Governor Juan Babauta says the commonwealth will appeal a U.S. federal court ruling halting U.S. military training exercises on Farallon de Medinilla -- including bombing -- because they endanger migratory birds.

Mr. Babauta met yesterday on Guam with the commander of the 13th Air Force, Major General Theodore Lay, to discuss the ruling, which he says will have a major impact on the CNMI’s economy.

Officials are concerned about a loss of revenue because Navy ships visit Saipan en route to Farallon de Medinilla.

Mr. Babauta says the local government was neither consulted nor asked by the court for any input regarding the issue.

In December 2000, the Center for Biological Diversity asked the court to stop the Navy from using Farallon de Medinilla for its live fire training exercises.

In its ruling on March 13th, the court said the exercises violate a 1918 treaty which protects migratory birds.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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