WASHINGTON – The U.S. Marines have given up a plan to conduct landing drills for the MV-22 Osprey at two airports in Hawaii in the face of local concerns over noise and the impact on nearby historical sites, sources said Wednesday.
According to a document related to the U.S. military’s environmental assessment report, the two airports are Kalaupapa Airport on Molokai Island and Upolu Airport on Hawaii Island.
The decision is expected to prompt residents in Okinawa to call on the United States for similar treatment when Ospreys are stationed at the Futenma air base.
People in the prefecture have pointed out that the deployment may not only cause noise pollution but also put the lives of residents at risk.
The U.S. Marines, who are scheduled to station 24 Ospreys at the Kaneohe Bay Air Station in Hawaii by 2018, asked local residents to express their views on the deployment.
Many argued that Osprey flights would increase noise and disturb wild animals around the two airports and that the strong turbulence created by the aircraft could damage valuable ruins in the vicinity.
As a result, the marines have opted not to use Kalaupapa Airport and have decided that Upolu Airport should only be used in emergencies, including bad weather.
Meanwhile, the document related to the environmental assessment report stipulates that the facilities at Kaneohe Bay Air Station need to be improved before the Osprey deployment.
Flight drills of the Osprey — which takes off and lands like a helicopter but cruises like a fixed-wing airplane — have also been put off indefinitely in New Mexico due to opposition by local residents.
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