Guam- Thursday, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Jackylyne Pfannenstiel pitched the idea of 24 hour access to the ancient Pagat village and cave and a possible land swap for the Pagat area to the mayors council of Guam. Friday, “We Are Guahan” reacts to Pfannenstiel’s pitch and it appears that these new options are bit too little too late.
“DOD doesn’t get it we said no to Pagat in the DEIS no to building a firing range complex there we said no to Pagat for them building a firing range complex there in the Final EIS the Record of Decision has come out and now she’s on a listening tour to figure out what the concerns are and again I think the message has been very clear from the beginning no to any firing range complex at Pagat and no to any more land taking,” said We Are Guahan’s Leevin Camacho. He is referring to Assistant Secretary of the Navy Jackylyne Pfannenstiel and some of the ideas she pitched to the Mayors Council of Guam yesterday. During that meeting Pfannenstiel asked mayors if allowing un-impeded access to the Pagat village and swapping military land for Pagat would be enough to lift opposition to the Pagat firing range complex. But, We Are Guahan members like Camacho says that it’s about more than just access to Pagat. “There shouldn’t be any firing in that area at all as one of the mayors said last night I think mayor Chargulaf that that’s a sacred area there are Chamorro’s that are buried down there it’s an ancient Chamorro village,” explained Camacho.
Camacho says that the Record of Decision came out months ago and he believes it’s a bit strange that they are only now trying to pitch other alternatives. “Well, you know the lawsuit that was filed two weeks ago and I don’t wanna speculate but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that now DOD is sending representatives out here to try and figure out what would be acceptable to the community,” explained Camacho.
Camacho says this is what the environmental impact statement and national historic preservation act processes were for, to gauge the environmental, social, cultural and historical impacts of the buildup. So if DOD is serious about these new alternatives Camacho says the new alternatives should go through the EIS process as well. “They need to subject that to public review they need to give those plans to the public to look and comment on just the way they did with the Draft EIS so they need to redo an impact statement,” said Camacho.
If a new EIS is done it will cost DOD more time and more money but Camacho says it’s their fault that it came to this point. “If they had simply followed the law and engaged the public from day one instead of making their decisions in D.C. and in Hawaii we wouldn’t be at this predicament,” he explained. The lawsuit filed against the use of Pagat as a firing range complex will have a scheduling hearing on February the 14th of 2011.