9 Nov 2011

CNMI politicians compete over back up airfield site for US base on Guam

2:40 pm on 9 November 2011

Two Northern Marianas lawmakers are promoting Rota or Tinian as alternative sites for Guam's Andersen Air Force Base.

They see this as a chance to support the local communities.

The calls from the senate president, Paul Manglona and senate vice president, Jude Hofschneider, come as the U.S. Air Force seeks comments on an environmental impact statement on its plans for an alternative, or divert, location to Guam.

The planned airfield would be used as an alternative landing site that will support military training and exercises and humanitarian relief operations.

Mr Manglona says Rota is the southernmost island in the CNMI chain and its airport is the closest to Guam.

But Mr Hofschneider says he's recommending Tinian as an alternative, citing the U.S. Defense Department's 99-year lease of two-thirds of the land on the island.