CNMI Governor, Northern Island Mayor To Visit Pagan Island With U.S. Officials

Military, Insular Affairs head to see homesteading program; assess island for bombing exercises

By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa 

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Sept. 28, 2016) – Governor Ralph Torres and Northern Island Mayor Jerome Aldan will accompany military officials and Assistant Interior Secretary for Insular Areas Esther Kia’aina to Pagan on Friday.

The military is proposing to conduct bombing exercises on the remote volcanic island.

“We will show them the homestead program on Pagan and what is being proposed there,” Torres said. “The military will also do an assessment of the island.”

He said the tour is part of the third round of the ongoing 902 talks with the federal government.

The talks are scheduled for Sept. 30-Oct. 1 and will be held on Saipan. The first two rounds were held in Washington, D.C. and Hawaii.

Aside from the governor and the mayor, Senate Vice President Arnold Palacios, Rep. Angel Demapan, the governor’s legal counsel Wesley Bogdan and Matt Adams of the Dentons LLC law firm will also be going to Pagan.

With Kia’aina is Peter J. Potochney, the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for basing who is also performing the duties of the assistant secretary of Defense for energy, installations and environment.

Section 902 of the CNMI’s Covenant with the U.S. allows the two governments to hold talks regarding issues that affect their relationship.

In the ongoing discussions, major issues include the islands’ workforce needs and the military’s buildup proposal in the Marianas.

Marianas Variety
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