MITT, MIRC, and the Programmatic Agreement

On July 28, 2017, the Navy announced that a supplement to the 2015 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is being prepared to support ongoing and additional military activities conducted at sea within the Marianas Islands Testing and Training area.  

Public Comment Period:
Public comment period for the MITT SEIS is open from August 1, 2017 until Sept. 15, 2017.
The public is encouraged to submit substantive comments on the scope of analysis, including potential environmental issues and viable alternatives. However, the Navy has announced no public meetings.

Given the huge scale of activity already allowed by the MITT and the Navy’s plans to expand, it’s important to compile and share government and resident information regarding the impacts of the MITT on Guam’s resources, environment, and health.

Comments may be submitted at this website: https://mitt-eis.com.

Below are several facts about the Marianas Islands Range Complex, the Mariana Islands Training and Testing Area, and the EIS.  A slide show is also provided here:

MITT Presentation -2

FACTS ABOUT MIRC,MITT, and the SUPPLEMENTAL EIS:

Mariana Islands Range Complex (MIRC)
– In 2010, the Navy established the Mariana Islands Range Complex (MIRC)
– MIRC is a half-billion-square nautical mile live-fire training range that surrounds Guam, Rota, Tinian, Saipan and all but the islands furthest to the north
– The MIRC authorized live-fire on and in the land, air, and sea throughout the training range
– At the time the MIRC was established, it was described by a Department of Defense official as the largest DoD live-fire training range in the world

Mariana Islands Training and Testing (MITT)
– In 2015, the Navy signed a Record of Decision (ROD) for the Final Mariana Islands Training and Testing (MITT) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
– The ROD almost doubled the sea-based ranges and land-based areas that allow the Navy to conduct sonar and live-fire training and testing activities that include the use of active sonar and explosives
– This “study area” encompasses the entire ocean under the MIRC and further expands the range of the DoD training area to 984,469 square nautical miles—larger than the states of Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Montana and New Mexico.

MITT Study Area
The expanded study area includes:
– The existing Mariana Islands Range Complex
– Areas on the high seas to the north and west of the Mariana Islands Range Complex
– A transit corridor between the Mariana Islands Range Complex and the Hawaii Range Complex, starting at the International Date Line
– Apra Harbor and select Navy pier-side and harbor locations
– Permits obtained from National Marine Fisheries Service authorize 12,580 detonations of various magnitudes per year for 5 years
– The MITT allows 81,962 takings of 26 different marine mammal species (including whales and dolphins) per year for 5 years due to detonation, sonar, and other training and testing activity within the MITT
– The MITT also allows damage or kill of over 6 square miles of endangered coral reefs plus additional 20 square miles of coral reef around FDM through the use of highly explosive bombs

Supplemental EIS
– On July 28, 2017, the Navy announced that a supplement to the 2015 MITT EIS is being prepared to support ongoing and additional military activities conducted at sea and on FDM within the MITT area beyond 2020
– The SEIS will include an analysis of military activity using new available information, including an updated acoustic effects model, updated marine mammal density data, and emergent science
– In the supplement, the Navy will only analyze training and testing activities conducted at sea and on FDM within the MITT area
– The Navy will seek the issuance of federal regulatory permits and authorizations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act to support ongoing military readiness activities within the MITT area beyond 2020.

Ritidian Live Fire Training Range
This SEIS process is in addition to the Live Fire Training Range near Ritidian and hand grenade range created pursuant to the Guam-CNMI Military Buildup Record of Decision on September 2015, and separate from the pending CNMI Joint Military Training Proposal, which would allow the military to use two-thirds of Tinian for the second highest level of live-fire training and to take the entire island of Pagan and use it for the highest level of live-fire training.

Review the July 2017 Biological Opinion here:
2017 USMC Relocation BO final

Review the 2011 Programmatic Agreement here:
PA

Review the Record of Decision Here:
ROD