Guam – Lawyers for the National trust for Historic Preservation and the Guam Preservation Trust have fired off two letters to Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Navy Jackalyne Pfannenstiel.
The lawfirm of Sonnenshein Nath & Rosenthal are concerned about the military’s plans to use Pagat as a firing range. These letters are the first steps in what could result in a lawsuit. Attorney Mathew Adams is the attorney who wrote the letters to the U.S. Assistant Secretary of of the Navy.
Last month Pfannenstiel and Council On Environmental Quality Chairwoman Nancy Sutley were on Guam to provide a briefing on the Guam military buildup.
Adams first letter expresses dissatisfaction with the briefing because it failed to provide a detailed description of the contents of the FEIS and failed to answer questions about the FEIS. Adams himself submitted a three part question about the firing range at Pagat that wasn’t entirely answered. According to the letter only the first question was answered. The second was altered by the moderator who read it and the third one was never even read.
Adams spoke via phone to Travis Coffman on this morning’s breakfast show. “That was very disappointing to me and to other people at the event if there’s gonna be a public briefing at a question and answer session I think people really have a right to expect that their questions are going to be read in an accurate way and answered,” said Adams.
The second letter deals with statements made by the Joint Guam Program office that the 30 day comment period on the FEIS is not a comment period but a wait period. JGPO officials have also stated publicly that they will only accept new comments. Adams in his letter says this is not what federal law says.
Adams argues that residents should be allowed to submit any comment they want whether new or old and he is asking that the Department of Defense allow an additional 30 days for residents to comment on the 20 thousand page FEIS. So what is Adams and the trust looking for? “What we’re really interested in is finding another alternative, different place to put the firing ranges that are being proposed to be really blunt about it Pagat is not an appropiate place for that there has got to be an honest consideration of alternative sites and that is something that has to be done now,” said Adams.
So what is next step for the national trust, the Guam trust and their lawyers?
“I hope that the next step is a real discussion with the navy about how we can fix this but if that doesn’t work out the next step really is litigation,” said Adams.
We asked for comments from JGPO regarding the letters. They sent a response via email stating “We are aware that counsel for the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Guam Preservation Trust sent letters to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. When responses are made publicly available we will share those responses with the media.”