(hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames with production assistance of Marlon
Molinos) was recorded 4/28/14 at the Guam Legislature and airs 5/9/14.
episode features excerpts of several statements presented at a April 28
roundtable convened by Senator Frank B. Aguon, Chair of the Guam US
Military Relocation, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs and Judiciary
Committee. [These statements were edited to fit the format of this
program.] This roundtable was convened to afford an opportunity for
representatives of non-governmental organizations and other concerned
individuals to provide preliminary comment on the Draft Supplemental
Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) on the Guam and Commonwealth of
the Northern Mariana Islands Relocation released April 18. The 60 day
public comment period on this Draft SEIS ends June 17.
opening comments by Senator Aguon and Mark Calvo, director of the Guam
Military Buildup Office and special assistant to Governor Calvo, 18
representatives and individuals presented statements. Several urged
elected leaders to seek an extension on the public comment period.
Requests were also made for Government of Guam agencies to provide the
community their preliminary review and comment before the series of US
Navy open house/public hearings begin May 17.
focal controversy since the release of the 2009 Draft Environment
Impact Study (DEIS) is the Department of Navy (DON) preferred location
for the live-fire training range complex (LFTRC). Officials, including
Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo, assert that the Guam buildup cannot
happen without a LFTRC for the marines.
here are the statements of several speakers at this roundtable who
specifically addressed this issue. We begin with the statement of Leevin
Camacho, representing We Are Guahan, who was invited to present a brief
overview of the key changes and similarities from the 2009 DEIS.
Attorney Camacho is a member of the legal team which filed the lawsuit
on behalf of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Guam
Preservation Trust, and We Are Guahan, arguing that the DON did not
comply with the requirements of the National Environmental Protection
Act (NEPA) by not considering all potential sites for the LFTRC. There
is no mention of this lawsuit in the Draft SEIS.
key change outlined by Camacho is the shift in the preferred location
for the LFTRC from an area along Route 15 in the northeastern part of
Guam (which includes the site of an ancient village in Pågat) that is
outside the existing military footprint to Northwest Field which is
located on Anderson Air Force Base. Although this new preferred
alternative is within the fence, it is not without controversy.
Baza, who spoke on behalf of the Guahan Coalition for Peace and
Justice, focused on the environmental concerns and proposed mitigation
measures related to locating the LFTRC in Northwest Field as well as the
plan for a hand grenade range in Anderson (‘Andy’) South.
were also presented by four individuals with ties to ancestral land in
Ritidian and Urunao in northern Guam: Catherine Flores McCollum, Chris
Flores Bejado, Pascual Artero and Larry Kasperbauer.
and Bejado are heirs to land in Ritidian which was taken by eminent
domain by the U.S. federal government in 1963. The Navy used this area
as a high security communications station throughout the Cold War then
donated the 1,203 acres to Fish and Wildlife Service in 1993. Guam
Delegate at the time, Dr. Robert Underwood, objected to this transfer as
a violation of indigenous Chamorro land rights, but to no avail. This
land is now part of the 24,000 acre Guam National Wildlife Refuge.
Both McCollum and Bejado talked about the April 5
meeting they and other Ritidian land owners had with Guam Delegate
Bordallo and their feelings when they later learned that she had
introduced H.R. 4402. “The Guam Military Training and Readiness Act of
2014” the day before this meeting. This legislation would authorize the
Navy secretary to establish a Surface Danger Zone over the Guam
National Wildlife Refuge when the LFTRC is in use.
the statements by McCollum and Bejado, Senator Vicente ‘Ben’ Pangelinan
expressed concern that Guam lawmakers were not informed of HR 4402 that
would circumvent the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and
restrict public access to Ritidian. He is seeking an extension of the
comment period on H.R 4402. The Congressional hearing on HR 4402 was
April 29 and the comment period ends May 13.
Artero, a US veteran, is a representative of the Artero family who owns
land in Urunao which they have been trying to get back from the
military since World War II. Part of this land has been landlocked by
AAFB for over 60 years. Urunao includes several large cliffs and was
used during World War II to dispose of debris from construction of
Northwest Field and North Field. Artero shared his concerns about
environmental and other impacts of the proposed LFTRC, citing what
happened in the islands of Kaho’olawe in Hawaii and in Vieques, Puerto
Rico, which were used for similar purposes until local resistance
efforts brought these practices to a halt.
Phillip Old, Director, Joint Guam Program Office (JGPO), responded
briefly to concerns raised regarding Route 3A access to the Guam
National Wildlife Refuge and private properties in nearby Urunao.
Larry Kasperbauer is married to Carmen Artero Kasperbauer, a former
Guam senator whose family owns land in the Urunao area near Ritidian.
Dr. Kasperbauer, a University of Guam professor emeritus and former
vice-speaker of the Guam Legislature, talks about the impacts of
increased military and related activity, especially air and ground
traffic, on the quality of life for those who live along Route 3 -- from
Marine Drive to Potts Junction --- as well as concerns regarding Route
3A access to Urunao properties. He supported the earlier suggestion
offered by Bejado that the golf course on AAFB be evaluated as an
alternative for the LFTRC and reiterated the recommendation he made at a
2010 DEIS public meeting that Tarague Beach, a major recreation area on
AAFB, also be considered as a potential site.
The LFTRC controversy heated up as an online petition campaign was launched this week opposing H.R. 4402. [see http://www.change.org/petitions/representative-madeleine-z-bordallo...]
Also, Speaker Judith Won Pat formally asked Delegate Bordallo to
withdraw HR 4402 claiming it undermines the National Environmental
Policy Act (NEPA) process and the power of the public comment period in
which the community is currently engaged. Today, it was reported in the
media that Bordallo has cancelled her plan to offer H.R. 4402 as an
amendment to the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act.
The US Navy will hold a series of open house/public hearings on Guam on the Draft SEIS. These meetings are scheduled for May 17 at Okkodo High School in Dededo, May 19 at the Father Duenas Phoenix Center in Mangilao, and May 20 at the old McCool School in Santa Rita. For more information, go to http://guambuildupeis.us .
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