Guam – JGPO Executive Director Joseph Ludovici met with lawmakers Thursday afternoon just hours after a lawsuit was filed against DOD for it’s plans to use Pagat as a firing range complex. Pagat inevitably became one of the central topics of discussion.
During the meeting with JGPO’s Executive Director Joe Ludovici Senator Ben Pangelinan brought up information he received about a funding request to acquire property on Guam. Ludovici explained that this request was something that showed up on document as a possible funding needed for future years but not an actual funding request for 2010 or 2011.
“When I go to brief our budget particularly the senate their expecting to see land acquisition because they’re worried about moving forward with military construction without training ranges and so part of their withholding for their money for 2011 is you don’t have the money for the land so I’m not gonna give you the money for construction,” explained Ludovici adding that “I’m having that fight with congress because they say unless you can show me how your gonna do the training on base then I’m not gonna give you any money for the construction.”
Ludovici explained that the properties they would need to acquire are the FAA property and Rt. 15 which is where Pagat is located. “On the FAA property couldn’t you just build your housing on existing military land but build vertically instead of horizontally that’s an option then you wouldn’t have to have additional land for housing. Number two we’ve researched the issue of the firing ranges,” said Guthertz adding, “We’ve made alternative recommendations and basically it’s to use your own facilities you might have to spread out the firing ranges in more locations to do that but you wouldn’t have to take more land.”
Ludovici replied saying, “We did some preliminary analysis and it would require non-dod land because of the machine gun range anywhere we go.” However the Final EIS states that they could in fact fit the firing ranges on Andersen Air Force Base at Tarague beach and at the northwest field. “We are gonna continue to try to get our preferred alternative Rt. 15 you pointed out some areas on housing that might be an alternative if you think you can point us to an alternative to that then I’m all ears,” said Ludovici.
Senator Guthertz then pointed out that the legislature has already suggested alternatives to Rt. 15 and the Pagat area that are on DOD land. “I propose this I propose come the new legislature we will start in earnest the discussions my starting position I think will continue to be our preferred alternative you stated a position just now and I respect that,” said Ludovici adding, “I can’t move off my starting position right now because that’s what my preferred alternative is to meet my requirements and your gonna say fine that doesn’t meet our requirements and we go from there if that’s fair.”
Another issue that was brought up was the lack of communication with lawmakers on the buildup process. Ludovici explained that historically the military deals directly with the executive branch of a state, he understands however that Guam is not a state and in a unique position and he promised to improve communications with Guam’s legislature.