Guam- An attorney representing the Preservation Trusts believes that the Department of the Navy (DON) may be violating the law in how it conducts the scoping process for the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for a live firing range complex on Guam.
Attorney Nick Yost, who represents the Guam Preservation Trust, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and We Are Guahan, has fired off a letter to Kyle Fujimoto of the Joint Guam Program Office (JGPO) on his concerns with the scoping process. He states, “While we have earlier commended– and continue to commend– the Navy for its decision to examine alternatives to the Pagat sites as the appropriate locales for the firing ranges, the Navy has failed to follow the law’s requirements in doing so.”
He goes on to further state, “the Navy has attempted– wrongfully– to limit scoping to preselected alternatives rather than using scoping to devise the alternatives which then appear in the draft SEIS.”
Yost was the lead drafter of the regulations that govern the National Environmental Policy Act, otherwise known as NEPA.
We Are Guahan Spokesman Leevin Camacho says that is significant because if anyone knows this scoping process, it’s Yost.
Camacho also says that all alternatives are supposed to be on the table, but at this point, the Department of Defense (DOD) is only considering Pagat and Naval Magazine. They are questioning why DOD eliminated every single site except those two sites internally.
“They’re not to supposed to have a preferred alternative at this point” said Camacho. “And if you look at their technical report, the only site that doesn’t have any concerns identified as of right now is Pagat. And we all know that is not true. So, we’re hoping that they’re moving in good faith, but at this stage, it already looks as though they already decided on a site. And they are just going through the motions and hoping that it’ll be enough this time to not lose in court.”
Camacho says no legal action will be taken for now because they are waiting for the EIS to be released. He is hoping all alternatives will be explored and the Navy stops this pattern of non transparency and withholding information.