Acting State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) Patrick Lujan says his office will maintain its mission of protecting the island’s cultural and historic properties, regardless of the party requesting for land developments.
After a legislative oversight hearing that seemingly set the record straight regarding the ultimate mission of Guam’s State Preservation Office, Acting SHPO Patrick Lujan reiterated his agency’s purpose on NewsTalk K57 with Andrea Pellacani.
“So our number one mission is to avoid disturbances but if that’s not possible then we explained to the senators during the oversight hearing that we will minimize and mitigate any type of disturbances. It’s not as subjective as you think. There are processes, there are guidelines and that’s exactly what we’re gonna do from here. It doesn’t matter who the customer is, whether it’s federal or local private developer. We’re here to make sure that the cultural resources left on our beautiful island are taken care of,” Lujan said.
He added that the oversight his office holds over development projects remains non-discriminatory. The SHPO said finding inadvertent discoveries is usually unanticipated, however, monitoring is always conducted followed by a 48-hour notification timeline that every organization must comply with. This, he says, is most apparent, especially with a project as large as the Live Fire Training Range Complex that operates under a Programmatic Agreement — one that the acting SHPO finds the Navy to be in full compliance with.
“They are operating within the programmatic agreement, you know, when they do construction. So right now, for the inadvertent discoveries that have been happening in recent times, we’re still working closely with them to make sure that they oblige with what our requirements are and will be,” Lujan said.
However, with regard to the Hayun Lagu and the area immediately surrounding it, Lujan says that it is beyond his purview as SHPO.
“Specifically about the indigenous tree, that is not a historic property so that’s more of an agricultural issue that really is not on our radar. We’re focusing on the historical resources and cultural resources out there,” Lujan said.