CNMI: No Defense Funding For NMI Projects

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

No curation of recovered archaeological collections

By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, March 24, 2016) – The U.S. Department of Defense did not request funding to support curation facilities for archaeological collections recovered from sites on Tinian and on Saipan, according to the office of U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan.

Tina Sablan, Kilili’s outreach coordinator/deputy communications director, said they made inquiries regarding the status of DoD’s commitment to seek $1.7 million for curation facilities in the Northern Marianas as stated in the 2011 Programmatic Agreement.

Tina Sablan said DoD has not requested funding for this purpose but did say the U.S. Department of the Navy remains committed to funding mitigation measures in connection with cultural resources on Tinian in response to the military buildup plans in the Marianas.

DoD’s information paper dated Feb. 25, 2016 stated that the funding for the implementation of certain mitigation measures on Tinian as identified in the 2011 Programmatic Agreement is on hold until completion of the CNMI Joint Military Training-Environmental Impact Statement/ Overseas Environmental Impact Statement.

The Navy said although it is unable to provide funding to Tinian for the implementation of certain mitigation measures as identified in the 2011 Programmatic Agreement, other measures continue to be carried out in support of the Tinian Historic Preservation Office.

But the Navy confirmed that the $1.7 million for the curation efforts is not included in President Obama’s 2017 budget proposal.

In an earlier interview, Gov. Ralph Torres said he reminded the military about their agreement that was supposed to finance several projects on Saipan and Tinian in 2011 amounting to $1.7 million that have not been implemented.

Torres said he wants to make sure that before the CNMI signs another agreement with the military, their prior agreement moves forward first.

The "Programmatic Agreement for the Military Relocation to Guam and the CNMI" proposes to construct and operate additional facilities and infrastructure on Guam and Tinian in order to meet national defense mission requirements associated with the relocation as described in the July 2010 Final Environmental Impact Statement.

The projects associated with the undertaking include but are not limited to constructing new training areas, base housing, office areas, maintaining, rehabilitating, repairing, constructing and demolishing buildings, structures and roads and installing, repairing and updating utilities and infrastructure on Guam and Tinian.

The 2011 Programmatic Agreement between the CNMI and DoD stipulated, among other things, that the military would seek to include as part of "the upcoming president’s budget submission a request for congressional authorization and appropriation to transfer a total of $1.7 million in DoD funds to another federal agency with authority to support new construction or renovation of existing buildings."

This would cover $1.2 million for a curation facility on Saipan, and $500,000 for a cultural and interpretive center on Tinian.


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