Bordallo links new Land Return Act to Compact needs, buildup

Former Guam representative to Congress Madeleine Bordallo has criticized current Guam congressman Michael San Nicolas’ announcement of a planned Guam Liberation commemoration event to be celebrated in Congress.

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo says her Guam Land Return Act of 2018 complements Compact aid efforts and holds DOD to its Guam land return commitments.

Bordallo says the new legislation targets 17 parcels, covering 476 acres, for transfer to GovGuam. The Department of Defense has returned some 686 acres since the start of 2011.

The Guam Land Return Act of 2018 also authorizes transfer of surplus federal buildings, vehicles and heavy equipment at no cost to taxpayers.

But as Guam struggles to meet revenue shortfalls from a sweeping federal tax overhaul, Bordallo says her new bill provides another financial relief valve.

“Yet another way to increase federal reimbursement to GovGuam for Compact Impact expenses,” said Bordallo.

Bordallo introduced the Compact Impact Relief Act earlier this year and has pushed to boost to $180 million annual mandatory Compact aid—a level recommended by Congress’s investigative arm, the GAO.

The Congresswoman says DOD’s 2011 commitment to reduce the military’s footprint on Guam coincides with the military buildup and is backed by the current administration.

“US military and Defense Department leadership, under the Trump Administration, have reaffirmed this net negative commitment to our people—and to me, personally,” noted Bordallo.

Bordallo says her bill holds DOD accountable for meeting its “net negative” commitment, in full requiring the secretary to keep a public inventory of all land it expects to ultimately transfer to GovGuam.

Guam’s governor could also petition DOD to consider transferring more parcels, while other provisions prevent environmental or safety liabilities for Guam and another lifts an old restriction on acres GovGuam’s owned on Cabras Island since 1981.