Guam Historic Preservation Office Feels Federal Pressure to Sign Agreement

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Guam – Many people on Guam now know about the National Environmental Protection Act or NEPA, but not many people know about the National Historic Preservation Act.

It’s another federal law that is requiring DOD to develop an agreement with Guam’s Historic Preservation Office. The Guam Historic Preservation Office is now under some federal pressure to sign off on the agreement.

It’s called a programmatic agreement. It’s an agreement between the Department of Defense and the Guam Historic Preservation office that will essentially outline how DOD and the Guam Historic Preservation office will deal with cultural sites or historical artifacts that are encountered during their construction for the military buildup. Guam Historic Preservation Officer Lynda Aguon explained saying “We’re having the federal government to commit to procedures and policies and protocols based on the programmatic agreement.”

Right now the Guam Historic Preservation office isn’t satisfied with this agreement. There is no law that sets a deadline for the signing of this agreement but officials within the Department of Defense are urging them to sign it before the Record of Decision or ROD is released. “Mr. Manley from the headquarters says we prefer not to issue the ROD without programmatic agreement because they will loose funding,” said Aguon adding, “The headquarters would like the programmatic agreement signed by all the parties by September 8th.

We asked Aguon if she felt pressured into signing the agreement. She responded saying, “Well when they say they have to sign it by September 8th, yeah we’re all pressed too look at this and they’re saying it needs to be signed or we loose the funding now that’s not my concern my concern is to develop a workable and an agreed upon document that’s looked at by not just us but the public.”

Right now Guam Historic Preservation doesn’t agree with the terms of the agreement. They are asking for more time for the public to comment on it, with a total of four full time employees to review all projects they need more money and more manpower, and they want to delete appendix D because it contains statements that they haven’t had time to review and verify.