Guam – The National Trust for Historic Preservation the Guam Preservation Trust and We Are Guahan have released a joint statement on the latest draft of the programmatic agreement. This agreement has been at the center of controversy mostly because it includes in it DOD’s plans to use the Rt. 15 Pagat areas as a firing range complex.
“The latest programmatic agreement we felt that the marine firing range still impacts Pagat, Pagat is a cultural and sacred place to the Chamorro people and it’s really the wrong place for a firing range,” said Joe Quinata of the Guam Preservation Trust. Quinata, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and We Are Guahan believe that DOD’s offer to maintain access to Pagat comes at the expense of public safety. “It is also alarming that the Department of Defense would allow such access if they are allowing us to access at the risk of being hit by stray bullets,” said Quinata.
Guam Preservation Trust Director Joe Quinata says that DOD is essentially passing on to the public any risk of danger or damage when an estimated 90 rounds of ammunition per month fall outside the target training areas. We Are Guahan member and attorney Leevin Camacho says the latest programmatic agreement simply does not address the fundamental concern that their groups and Guam’s community have expressed from the outset, that alternative locations for the firing ranges have not been adequately explored. “DOD didn’t look at, reasonably look at, all of the cites they could’ve put it on within their own footprint. So, as a start, why are they even willing to put it on GovGuam land when they don’t even want to look at what properties they have available to them.?” explained Camacho. He says it is also still unclear what constitutes Pagat village. as you may recall pnc hiked with members of we are guahan to the pagat caves and the latte site that is along the pagat cave trail. however the newsteam also hiked further north along the coast where two more latte sites were sitting virtually undisturbed. It is not yet clear whether these latte sites are considered part of Pagat village. “If this programmatic agreement is signed as is, DOD’s gonna be at the drivers seat they’re going to be the ones saying what’s gonna count as Pagat and what isn’t.”
Governor Eddie Calvo says that from the administration’s perspective he feels confident they are moving in the right direction in ensuring 24/7 access to the Pagat caves and village and ensuring funding for a repository for artifacts found during military construction. “But in particular to the issues brought up by the historic preservation they have some concerns and we look forward to working with them and seeing hopefully that we can resolve these issues that they have these concerns on,” said Governor Calvo adding “I think it’s important that as this process moves along that there is involvement from all parties that is why of course I’ve invited members of the legislature to meet with Department of Defense officials and Obama administration officials in Washington D.C.”
Governor Calvo leaves tomorrow ( 2/22/11) to the nation’;s capitol where he will meet with various DOD and executive branch officials regarding the Guam military buildup.