CNMI mayor claims strong opposition to military plans for Pagan

6:44 am on 13 April 2015

A Northern Marianas mayor says most of the people in his region opposes the United States military's plans for a live fire range on Pagan island.

The military wants to lease the uninhabited island in its entirety so the Navy, Air Force, Army and Marines can practice live fire training as part of plans for a greater presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

But the mayor of the CNMI's northern Islands, which include Pagan, Jerome Aldan, says the island's original inhabitants were hoping to re-settle, but those plans will be scuttled if it is turned into a firing range.

"What do you think about live-fire and live-bombing? For me, it's destruction, contamination and basically after they're done the island is going to turn into a wasteland. I can say about 100 percent are against this, more particularly the folks from the northern islands who are waiting to make good use of the island, go back home."

Jerome Aldan says there are also plans to site a fishing community on Pagan in coming months, but this could now be halted.

Pagan Island

Pagan, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Photo: Supplied