Activists want follow-up meeting with governor on military buildup

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Since 2017, Independent Guåhan has organized an annual Na'lå'la': Songs of Freedom concert at the field in front of Adelup. More than 25 community organizations and stakeholders delivered a letter to Gov. Leon Guerrero on Monday, Aug. 12, requesting a follow-up meeting to continue discussions on concerns about the impacts of the military buildup and associated construction projects. (Independent Guåhan photo)

More than 25 community organizations and stakeholders delivered a letter to Gov. Leon Guerrero on Monday, Aug. 12, requesting a follow-up meeting to continue discussions on concerns about the tremendous impacts of the military buildup and associated construction projects.

“We would like to hear back from you about the efforts you have taken since our meeting on June 25, 2019, to learn more about and address the serious concerns that were raised,” the groups wrote. “In light of Rear Admiral Shoshanna Chatfield’s denial of your request for a construction pause before she left her post on the island and the recent discovery of two additional sacred ancestral sites that have brought the total number of sites discovered at Northwest Field up to over a dozen since buildup construction began, it is imperative that we continue to meet with you about this urgent issue.”

The groups continue to stress that the proposed firing range complex is being built in a historically, environmentally and culturally significant location that even the Navy’s environmental impact statement acknowledged.

“We urge you to heed the call of the community to place a complete halt on buildup construction at all sites identified for the firing range complex, and not just the area surrounding the Håyun Lågu tree, due to the project’s harmful impacts and irreversible damage to our people, our culture, our historical past, and our environment, including the potential for contamination to our island’s main source of drinking water,” the groups stated.

As of 12 p.m. on Aug. 12, 2019, 14,818 concerned citizens have already signed a petition opposing the construction of the firing range complex because of its harmful impacts on the community. This is 1,618 more than when the groups first met with the governor in late June.

The following advocacy groups and stakeholders are calling on the governor to place a pause on military construction: Independent Guåhan, Litekyan Landowners, Prutehi Litekyan, Fuetsan Famalao’an, Guam Fishermen’s Cooperative Association, Organization of People for Indigenous Rights (OPI-R), Nasion CHamoru, Håya Foundation, Young Men’s League of Guam (YMLG), Guåhan Coalition for Peace and Justice, Our Islands Are Sacred, Mañe’lon Marianas, Manhoben Para Guåhan, Chief Hurao, Inc., Ulitao, Inc., Duk Duk Goose, Inc. (Nihi!), GCC EcoWarriors, Micronesia Climate Change Alliance, ChamGlam Botanika, Health Shack, Z’s Green Canteen, Maisa, Alternative Zero Coalition, Guardians of Gani’, Tinian Women’s Association, PåganWatch, The Peace for Okinawa Coalition, and David Lotz.

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