CNMI LAND BOARD NOW MULLNG MILITARY USE OF PAGAN

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CNMI, Saipan (Marianas Variety, May 6) - Besides Anatahan, the
U.S. military has also asked the Marianas Public Lands Authority to allow the
nation’s armed forces to conduct exercises on Pagan, according to MPLA
Commissioner Henry Hofschneider.

Hofschneider met last week with Navy Cmdr. Edward Lynch to
discuss the matter.

"Their original request was for one on Anatahan and one on
Pagan. The board approved the one-year temporary use of a particular site in the
crater away from the village on Anatahan. On Pagan, the military hasn’t
identified which area they want to use for their training," Hofschneider said.

He said the temporary permit for Anatahan is revocable and the
same policy will be applied to Pagan once the board decides on the military’s
request.

"It’s a temporary revocable permit and it’s good for a year
only," he said.

He said the training would not pose any danger to the
environment and vegetation on Anatahan.

"A helicopter is going to fly over Anatahan, touch the ground
where there are no trees, no moving objects, no nothing. They won’t bring any
equipment, not even a tent," he said.

"The helicopter will just land and unload personnel. This is
what the commander explained to me. Then the helicopter takes off. As soon as
that is done then the helicopter picks them up," he added.

There are airport and seaport facilities on Pagan but they were
damaged when the volcano erupted on the island in 1981.

Pagan is one of the few volcanic islands in the world with rich
deposits of pozzolanic ash — an adhesive ingredient in cement. An Arizona
company earlier this year submitted a proposal to the Marianas Public Lands
Authority to mine the island for ash.

May 6, 2003

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