Guam – Buildup Committee Chair Senator Judi Guthertz is concerned about what she says are the obscure plans for dealing with invasive species in the Record of Decision.
In a release, she cites two programs being developed to deal with the potential problem of invasive species which she says “remain under wraps and outside of discussion by island residents.”
Guam residents are regularly reminded of the dangers of invasive species by the brown tree snake—believed to have arrived on the island in the late 1940s with shipments of military scrap and supplies—which has over the years destroyed native bird species and damaged utility equipment among its many downsides.
Guthertz says the ROD reveals that a regional Micronesia Biosecurity Plan is being developed by a Navy contractor. The MBP “will include risk assessments for invasive species throughout Micronesia and procedures to avoid, minimize, and mitigate these risks.”
In a letter to Assistant Secretary of the Navy Jackalyne Pfannenstiel, Senator Guthertz said that to her knowledge, the biosecurity plan is not yet final and is being developed with Navy funding by a U.S. mainland firm. She also said that her understanding was that the plan “will not include the physical resources (personnel, equipment, facilities, etc.) required to handle and mitigate bio-security/invasive species issues that will occur during the military buildup.” There’s apparently also no federal funding for carrying out the plan at this point.
In a separate letter to Governor Camacho, Senator Guthertz said there apparently is also a biosecurity plan specific to Guam in the works: “I understand that this plan is with your office and the next step is for your office to transmit it to the Guam Legislature for its review and
approval. I hereby officially urge you to complete your review of this plan and transmit it to the Legislature without delay. We need to be ready for the military buildup and this plan is critical for our people’s security.”