U.S. MILITARY GETS GREEN LIGHT ON KWAJALEIN LEASE

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Landowners withdraw opposition to Army operations

HONOLULU, Hawaii (Pacific Islands Report, Oct. 25, 2010) – Marshall Island landowners have reportedly agreed to sign a new Land Use Agreement (LUA) to extend long-term U.S. occupation of Kwajalein for military use.

According to the Marshall Island’s Journal, the agreement came after a seven year deadlock between the Marshall Island’s government and the landowners.

Seven years ago, landowners presented an eight-point proclamation that opposed the extension of U.S. military presence, the Journal reported. They have recently withdrawn their initial declaration.

The Journal stated that this past month, meetings in New York, Majuro, and Ebeye produced a US$570 million proposal for infrastructure in Ebeye and the Kwajalein Islands. The Journal reported separately that if a bridge between Ebeye and Kwajalein was built, the military could save money from the expenses of barging workers back and forth.

The proposal also includes an Ocean Thermal Energy that would provide electricity to other islands and a "U.S. Federal Aviation Administration-approved airport" on Kwajalein.

The two groups of landowners and the government are negotiating the final stages of an agreement acceptable to both sides.

U.S. officials declined to comment but mentioned in the report that signing the document is premature.

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