Guam- While the Navy has released a new version of the Programmatic Agreement, “We are Guahan” says it still contains many of the same things they had problems with in the previous agreement.
“We Are Guahan’s” Leevin Camacho says that the revised version of the Programmatic Agreement still contains the ancient Chamorro village of Pagat.
DOD wants to use this as a firing range complex which is why the Guam State Historic Preservation office and groups like We Are Guahan have refused to sign off on the programmatic agreement. “They’ve removed the word Pagat from the programmatic agreement and instead they refer to it as the site selected in the navy’s record of decision so yes basically it implies that Pagat is still the site and they’re gonna work within that area to figure out where the ranges are gonna go specifically,” explained Camacho.
As you may recall the programmatic agreement outlines how DOD is to deal with cultural and historical artifacts and remains that it impacts as a result of the buildup. DOD was supposed to have one signed before the record of decision was signed but they didn’t. The programmatic agreement is required before DOD can move forward with construction. Without it they must get approval from the state historic preservation office on a case by case basis. But they won’t sign off on the programmatic agreement until Pagat is removed from it. “DOD is really trying to confuse the issues and from the beginning it’s been about DOD having enough land they don’t need to take anymore land and they especially don’t need to take Pagat to establish a firing range complex there,” said Camacho.
He adds that DOD has been trying to make concessions by saying that they will re-organize the ranges in order to minimize impact and grant residents more access to the ancient village in Pagat. However, this isn’t what groups like We Are Guahan, Fuetsan Famalao’an and the Chamorro Tribe have been asking for. “That’s never what we were asking for it’s always been about DOD owning 1/3 of Guam and them not needing any more land for their firing range complex and especially again putting it at Pagat,” said Camacho.
This isn’t the only problem they have with the plans for the Pagat firing range another concern is that the military is not even taking into account all of the artifacts that can be found throughout the Pagat area.”DOD when they talk about Pagat they limit it to just the site that’s been registered they’re not talking about the entire coastal area so they will be firing over the coast and there are latte down there and so that’s their other way of being technical to get around the fact that they are gonna be firing over a village an ancient village,” said Camacho.
DOD’s handling of the programmatic agreement was one of the three pillars of the lawsuit filed against the U.S. military by the Guam Historic Preservation Trust, We Are Guahan and the national trust for historic preservation.