Prutehi Litekyan: DoD email rejecting submissions for PA public comments

Screenshot of the Prutehi Litekyan email rejected by DoD. (PLSR photo)

After encouraging residents to submit comments to two Programmatic Agreement Memo Projects due today, Prutehi Litekyan: Save Ritidian says it has discovered that the email address listed to receive comments from community members is rejecting submissions for public comments.

The email address, which is published on the Navy’s website, worked earlier in the week. However, several PLSR members and supporters have documented the failed emails. “We are deeply disappointed that the email is suddenly failing the day of the deadline for public comments. Numerous community members have taken time to submit comments and their emails are bouncing back,” Maria Hernandez, PLSR member said.

The projects under the comment period are Project(s) J-011 Base Admin Communications Building and J-025 Medical Dental Clinic; J-011 and J-025 PA Memo # 1 (PUBLIC). PLSR drafted comments and created a link for people to use comments for their own submissions. The two projects directly impact ancestral burials and the ancient village of Maguåk (Magua). Sample comments drafted by PLSR and our legal team included direct reference to this:

“I am deeply concerned about the DoD did not properly identify historic properties located in Projects J-011 and J-025. First, the DoD fails to mention that the project is located in the ancient CHamoru Village of Måguak. Next, the DoD did not make a reasonable and good faith effort in identifying historic properties by means of oral history interviews, sample field investigations, field surveys, and background research. For example, the DoD did not reach out or talk to the indigenous people whose families used to live, own, and inhabit the lands subject to be used for the Projects. I am also concerned that the DoD is not documenting the human remains that disturbed, unearthed, removed, and displaced from Måguak Village. Lastly, I am concerned that the DoD awarded nearly a billion dollars to construct the projects before identifying traditional and indigenous historic properties in Måguak Village. Therefore, the PA Memo does not preserve or protect the historic properties of the indigenous people located within the project location.”

PLSR sent an email to DOD Public Affairs staff this morning to request their email be fixed or that the community be provided with an alternate email to ensure their comments are received before the end of the day. PLSR is currently tracking messages from members of the community who are receiving notification of the failed emails and will continue to provide updates if we receive any changes or responses from the Navy. In addition to the dysfunctional email address, we would also like to note that the announcement for the comment included the wrong due date. The memo listed the due date of April 3, however, 45 days from the announcement posted on February 18 is actually April 4.

This week, Prutehi Litekyan: Save Ritidian (PLSR) engaged with local media and community members with news about the historic communication from the United Nations to the United States government on behalf of the CHamoru people citing numerous violations against our human and indigenous rights, including the violation of the right to free, prior and informed consent. This incident further reflects this violation among others.

(Prutehi Litekyan: Save Ritidian)