Military reveals MIRC Record of Decision - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Military reveals MIRC Record of Decision

by Nick Delgado

Guam - The Record of Decision for the Mariana Islands Range Complex is now available to the public. And the man in charge of approving the document says there will be no obvious major impacts towards the community.

The range complex for our area begins south near Yap and heads north past Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. Joint Region Marianas Commander Rear Admiral Paul Bushong put pen to paper in mid-July, approving the document finalizing such a strategy.  "The environmental impact statement on which the record of decision was based, it was written, studied, rewritten over a course of five years to assess the environmental impact of the training that is conducted in the Marianas Range Complex," he explained.

The MIRC-ROD states that the military has weighed the operational and environmental consequences of its proposed actions to conduct current, emerging, and future military training and research, development, test and evaluation activities in the area.  Said Bushong, "Most citizens of Guam will really see no change in the operations or the involvement with the military in Guam, what it will mean is that we will continue the present state of training, we will also be able to use some additional training as a result of upgrades."

Those upgrades include a portable underwater tracking range that will allow the military to put sensors and transmitters temporarily underwater during exercises to get precision tracking on submarine surface ships and torpedoes. However, Bushong says most of the concerns including noise impacts will be minimal.  "There will be some increase in aviation training, particularly out of Andersen Air Force Base with the air wing, and there will also be some increase capability for joint training and for multinational training," he described.

"We have a couple areas for aviation training both in the bombing range up north at FDM, when we are using that and dropping ordinance there will be a 10-mile safety zone around the island, which will be impact the fishermen."

He says they are working on a solution with the fishermen. The Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, and the Guam National Guard use the range complex. Bushong says the incremental increases in the current activities are relatively small, but are critical to maintain military readiness.

Admiral Bushong also says that while the community is welcomed to provide comment to the MIRC-ROD, but that it would not make a difference, as he says this is the final plan.

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