Guthertz Supports Tinian or Saipan in Comments to USAF on Divert Field Draft EIS

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Guam – The Guam Legislature’s Military Buildup Chair Senator Judi Guthertz  has submitted her comments to the Air Force in support of  either Tinian or Saipan as the location for a divert airfield.

In her comments on the Draft Environmental Study, the Senator writes “I support any program by our military to enhance its presence in the Mariana Islands.”

She also writes that she “concurs with the proposed actions of either Saipan International Airport in Saipan or Tinian International Airport in Tinian … If a typhoon im[pacts on Andersen AFB, it will also impact on the A.B. Won Pat International Airport, only twelve miles south.”                                                                                                                                                                                 

The divert airfield designation calls for the construction of  new facilities and infrastructure  to support Air Force cargo, fighter, and tanker aircraft and their support personnel which would bring a much needed boost to the ailing CNMI economy.                                                                                 
READ Senator Guthertz’s release in FULL below:
July 23, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SENATOR GUTHERTZ BACKS DEIS RECOMMENDING CNMI AIR FIELDSFOR ANDERSEN AFB DIVERT LOCATION

In the event of a major typhoon or enemy attack, planes heading for Andersen Air Force Base need a safe place to land and a new study is proposing either the Saipan or Tinian International Airports as that alternative.

Commenting on the draft study aimed at identifying military options, Guam Military Buildup and Homeland Security Committee Chairperson Judi Guthertz said, “If a typhoon impacts on Andersen AFB, it will also impact on the A.B.Won Pat International Airport, only about twelve miles south of Andersen AFB.”

This would make a Guam location unworkable.

Senator Guthertz commented in a letter to Capt. Rebecca Heyse of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Honolulu, who is coordinating the study for the Air Force.

The USAF would build facilities and infrastructure at the chosen field, “to support a combination of cargo, fighter, and tanker aircraft and associated
support personnel for divert landings, periodic exercises, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief,” according to the DEIS.

“I support any program by our military to enhance its presence in the Mariana Islands,” Senator Guthertz said. “The people in Guam and the CNMI are very supportive of our military and very patriotic. In addition, any economic investment in the islands is critically needed at this time. The economy of the CNMI is very weak and any boost will be of major positive economic impact for this community of American citizens.”

The Department of Defense has a longstanding military lease on Tinian, Senator Guthertz said. “If all of the technical studies indicate that both Saipan and Tinian are feasible locations, I would then choose Tinian. Additional land would not need to be acquired, and the people there have been waiting patiently for the promised military development of their island.”

The Saipan or Tinian locations are also supported by Commonwealth Governor Benigno R. Fitial.