Guthertz to Calvo: Lease of Pagat Land Complicated by Encumbrances

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Guam – The Chair of the Legislature’s Buildup Committee, Senator Judi Guthertz issued a release in which she says she wants to “remind” Governor Eddie Calvo that negotiating a lease with the military for GovGuam land in the Pagat area is complicated by a number of factors.

 

“It’s not that simple,” states the Senator.

Guthertz also called initial estimates of an annual $9 million lease fee for the property “insufficient and grossly undervalues the land” DoD wants to use for its firing range complex.

Among the points the Senator appears to be raising in her release are:

* P.L. 30-21 provides that any lease or sale of  public land to the military must be approved by the Legislature.

* “We Are Guahan”, the Guam and National Historic Trusts are still pursuing a lawsuit to stop the project.

*  Other laws have barred trasnfer of  GovGuam property for use as a firing range

* The Chamorro Land Trust Commission has jurisdiction over three lots totaling 256 acres in the Route 15 desired area

* Much of the land in question has already been promised to the former Tiyan landowners.

 

Read Senator Guthertz’ Release Below:

SENATOR GUTHERTZ TO GOVERNOR CALVO: FIRING RANGE AND OTHER MILITARY LAND ISSUES ARE JUST BEGINNING

Guam Military Buildup Committee Chairperson Judi Guthertz has reminded Governor Calvo that there’s a lot more to locating a firing range where the
military wants it along Route 15 in the Pagat area than signing off on the Programmatic Agreement.

Just signed this past week, the Programmatic Agreement, which controls how historic remains and artifacts that turn up during the buildup will be handled, has been presented as clearing the way for the buildup, including the controversial range complex, to proceed.

A front page newspaper story Friday had Governor Calvo urging the land for the range complex be leased to the Department of Defense for millions a year. It was also been suggested that other GovGuam land could be leased for buildup purposes as well.

Unfortunately, said Senator Guthertz, it’s not that simple. Much of the land in question has already been promised to separate groups on Guam who lost land to the military in the past, so money from a lease to DoD would not benefit ‘all the people of Guam’ as Governor Calvo has suggested or even many of them.

And lawsuits and various legal restrictions on Guam land uses will make such leases difficult or impossible to negotiate.

Senator Guthertz reminded Governor Calvo that as a legislator, he had joined unanimous votes on resolutions demanding that the military stay within its
current 27 percent of Guam land ‘footprint,’ rather than acquiring further property for the buildup.

However, above all of this, we are mindful of P.L. 30-21 which you voted for, despite the veto of Governor Camacho, which provides that any lease or sale of  public land to the military must be approved by the Legislature,‛ Senator Guthertz wrote.

As far as additional property that the military would seek for the firing range complex, ‚The Chamorro Land Trust Commission has jurisdiction over three lots totaling 256 acres in the Route 15 desired area, so any lease arrangement with the military would benefit the beneficiaries of that trust.

‛While the prospect of lease revenues may sound appealing, it’s not likely such money would reach more than a handful of Guam residents, Senator Guthertz suggested, using the example of 450 acres on the west coast recently returned to GovGuam. This is land formerly held by the Spanish crown:

That means that it is automatically now in the jurisdiction of the Ancestral Lands Commission. The governing law states that such land is to be developed for the benefit of those people who lost land to the military, but who will never have it returned. These are the Sumay, Fena, Agana Heights, NCTS, and Andersen former land owners.

“I understand there is even a former land owner from Hagatna with a claim for the benefits of this land bank.”

Senator Guthertz ridiculed the newspaper article’s suggestion that buildup leases could bring in nearly $9 million in annual lease revenues, saying the figure ‚is insufficient and grossly undervalues the land they wish to use. It is critical that we think big.‛I look forward to continuing this dialogue on the buildup in order to promote the interests of all the people who now and in the future will call Guam home, including the military. Remember that our mutual goal should be ONE ISLAND, ONE PEOPLE, AND ONE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR EVERYONE.‛