Anderson Jibas, mayor of the Kili-Bikini-Ejit Local Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, has shared what is planned for 283 acres of recently purchased Big Island land.

The Marshall Islands Journal reported June 28 that Jibas said the goal is to initially develop a portion of the property into 1-acre lots to help the government recover the $4.8 million it spent to buy the land.

A portion of the land, located near Hilo, may later be developed for use by Bikinians.

The land, says the MIJ, is zoned for agricultural use that includes wetlands, streams “and flooding issues.” State and county permits will be required for development.

A screen shot, July 8. 

Previous development efforts prior to the Bikini purchase were not successful, according to the MIJ. There have also been concerns from occupants of nearby homes.

Jibas expressed confidence the new owners would succeed with their plans.

“Proper compliance with all regulations and permitting have been accounted for in our due diligence of the project,” Jibas said about the plan to subdivide the property. “Based on the plan that is in place we don’t see any issues that would delay the development of the project.”

The MIJ reports that the property has a market value of $1.8 million.

The Kili-Bikini-Ejit Local Government has its origins dating to U.S. nuclear weapons testing in the Marshals in the 1940s and 1950s.

Bikini was the site of 23 nuclear weapons tests, “including the 15 megaton Castle Bravo, which vaporized three islands,” according to the government’s website.

In 1946, 167 Bikinians were relocated. The atoll remains largely uninhabitable.

Today, the Bikinian people number “approximately 5,400, reside on Kili and Ejit Islands, across the Marshall Islands, and in communities across the United States, particularly in Arkansas and Oklahoma.”

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