Bice Defends Navy’s Draft “Programmatic Agreement” On Preservation of Guam’s Historic Heritage

317

Guam – The Executive Director of the Joint Guam Program Office [JGPO], David Bice, is defending the Navy’s draft “Programmatic Agreement” that is in dispute by the Guam Historic Preservation Office and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

 

In a statement to K-57 Radio today [Wednesday], Bice said that the “draft agreement includes measures for access plans, data recovery, curation of artifacts, public outreach, and education projects. DOD also commits in the draft agreement to seek Congressional approval to provide additional funds towards the development of the Guam museum, which would go a long way to help bring this important project to reality.”

And Bice adds that “such agreements between DOD and Guam are not new. In fact, there is an existing agreement, signed in 2008, which was created at that time to establish similar  procedures and protections for historical and archaeological resources in relation to future Navy related construction on Guam.”

The Guam Historic Preservation Trust has raised objections to the draft agreement saying it is not sufficient to ensure Guam’s historic heritage and they have accused the Navy of pressuring them to sign off on the agreement before the record of decision is released on September 12th because the Navy fears losing some funding. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has also raised objections expressing concern that there was not sufficient input from the community in the drafting of the plan. The Governor’s Office and members of the Guam Legislature have also raised objections to the perceived pressure by the Navy.

Bice in his statement explained that “signing on to this agreement does not mean that GovGuam is endorsing any specific plan for Route 15 Ranges. Because we understand that there are still great public concerns and issues to work out regarding perceived impacts to Pagat village, the draft agreement notes that we will separately consult with the appropriate parties about the Pagat site.”

Bice concludes that: “We hope to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement so that we can continue to work together to protect, preserve and promote Guam’s culture and history.”

Read the statement from Bice in its entirety below:

The Navy and the Guam Historic Preservation Office have been working together to develop an agreement for how historical and archaeological
resources on Guam would be managed relative to the construction and operations associated with the proposed military buildup. The benefit
of this agreement is that it will enhance efforts to preserve, protect, and promote the cultural resources of Guam.

The draft agreement includes measures for access plans, data recovery, curation of artifacts, public outreach, and education projects. DOD also commits in the draft agreement to seek Congressional approval to provide additional funds towards the development of the Guam museum, which would go a long way to help bring this important project to reality. The draft agreement includes such measures as a result of the feedback received over the last three years through consultations with local agencies as well as public comments collected in multiple hearings.

Signing on to this agreement does not mean that GovGuam is endorsing any specific plan for Route 15 Ranges. Because we understand that
there are still great public concerns and issues to work out regarding perceived impacts to Pagat village, the draft agreement notes that we
will separately consult with the appropriate parties about the Pagat site.

Such agreements between DOD and Guam are not new. In fact, there is an existing agreement, signed in 2008, which was created at that time to
establish similar  procedures and protections for historical and archaeological resources in relation to future Navy related construction on Guam. The Navy and SHPO have been developing this new agreement to supplement the 2008 document to reinforce the Navy’s commitment to protect resources by introducing new and additional information as well as introducing a measures for mitigation to offset cumulative effects of the anticipated growth to Guam’s population and the resultant potential impact to Guam’s resources.

We hope to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement so that we can continue to work together to protect, preserve and promote Guam’s
culture and history.

David Bice
MajGen USMC (Ret)
Executive Director
Joint Guam Program Office