Pacific Outpost: A Special Report By Honolulu Civil Beat

Pacific Outpost: A Special Report By Honolulu Civil Beat

The U.S. military wants to significantly beef up its presence in the Western Pacific as it pivots to the Asia-Pacific and with an eye on aggressive actions by China and North Korea. Plans include moving about 5,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guan and building up training capacity on two small islands -- Tinian and Pagan -- near Saipan.

But the people of the Northern Mariana Islands are worried that any military build up on their small islands will hurt the environment, including coral reefs and fishing grounds, that are still littered with military debris from World War II. Perhaps most troubling is the proposal to turn Pagan island into a new bombing range at a time when residents who were forced to abandon the island after a volcanic eruption are finally trying to move back.

Civil Beat sent reporter Anita Hofschneider -- who grew up on Saipan -- and photographer Cory Lum to the Marianas and Guam to more closely examine what the military wants to do and how that would impact this small island territory that, even though it's a part of the United States, has little or no voice beyond public comment on the complicated environmental studies that have been done.

Civil Beat is eager to share this project with you. Stories will be published throughout the week.  

From Honolulu Civil Beat. Used with permission.
Copyright © 2016 Honolulu Civil Beat. All Rights Reserved

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