MILITARY TRAINING ON TINIAN WILL INTRODUCE HAZARDOUS WASTE

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Environmental impact statement stresses proper disposal

By Jude Lizama HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety, Jan. 6, 2010) – In the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the proposed live firing and other training ranges slated for implementation and use on Tinian would result in the transport and transfer of more hazardous materials, according to the draft environmental impact statement.

[PIR editor’s note: Tinian is one of the three principal islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. It is perhaps best known for being the base from which the United States launched their atomic bomb attacks on Japan during World War II. It has a land area of 39 sq.mi. and a population of over 4,000 people.]

"It is expected that the largest increases of hazardous materials would occur from the use of petroleum, oil and lubricants, including gasoline, diesel, oil, grease, kerosene and other related products," the draft report said, noting that approximately 32,000 lbs. of hazardous materials resulting from Marine activities on Okinawa are annually disposed of by Defense Reuse and Marketing Office.

The draft study said training missions on Tinian are estimated to result in 20 percent of that total, or about 6,400 lbs. per year.

The study also predicts an increase in the off-island transport and inter-island transfer of hazardous waste as a result of training range development and use.

"Increases in the transport/transfer and use of pesticides, herbicides, solvents, adhesives, lubricants, corrosive liquids, aerosols and other hazardous wastes are expected," the study adds.

On Okinawa, 644,000 lbs. of hazardous waste are produced annually from Marine activities. As such, the study estimates that 20 percent of that total, or 128,800 lbs., of hazardous waste would need to be disposed of on an annual basis as a result of proposed training range activities on Tinian.

"The potential impacts [which] hazardous materials and waste have on human health and environment is largely dependent upon their types, quantities, toxicities and management practices," the impact study states. "There is cause for concern if the use of these substances in some fashion violates applicable federal, local or Department of Defense (DoD) laws and/or regulations."

Toxic substances that "may be present relative to DoD operations on Tinian "include, but are not limited to," asbestos-containing materials, lead-based paint, polychlorinated biphenyls and radon.

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