Guam – “We are Guahan” has issued a release reacting to Thursday’s visit from Navy Undersecretary Robert Work, saying “DOD officials confirmed that Pagat village and the surrounding area remain it’s preferred alternative for the site of it’s five firing ranges.”
The DOD delegation was led by Navy Undersecretary Robert Work. They met with the Governor for an hour and a half before announcing that Pagat village and Pagat caves would not be used as part of their firing range complex. “We are Guahan” reacted to this announcement Friday by saying that’s not entirely accurate. Leevin Camacho explains. “I think DOD was very clear that Pagat and the surrounding area is still their preferred alternative for the firing ranges that they’re gonna build so on this idea that we’re in the clear now and this idea that Pagat is safe is not true what they’ve said is they’re gonna build and fire around and over Pagat and somehow that’s supposed to make us feel better,” said Camacho.
Undersecretary Work also announced that DOD would end the buildup owning less land than they currently own which means they would have to give back thousands of acres to GovGuam. “If DOD has thousands of acres that are sitting unused why does it take them being sued to consider giving it back one and two if they have all these thousands of acres sitting around why don’t they use those for the firing ranges?” asked Camacho.
Camacho has a copy of a map that shows DOD’s plans for the Rt. 15 or the backroad to Andersen and the Pagat areas. “What they’re planning to do is move Rt. 15 to cut through Andersen south so they can push back the ranges to have more area to fire over. Everything’s gonna be redirected and their gonna build a fence that’s going to go from here all around basically the perimeter of the safety danger zone area.” said Camacho.
That area includes the Guam Yigo Raceway Track, private property owned by families like the Nelson’s, and Pagat. One of the reasons for the defense departments visit was to work on resolving the unsigned programmatic agreement as it is holding up billions of dollars of construction including construction on the firing range complex. “There was this idea during the campaign that he was gonna protect Pagat and I think this is really his opportunity to take us in a new direction if he’s really gonna stand up to the Department of Defense and demand that they stay within their footprint and that they leave Pagat alone he needs to say no to signing off on the programmatic agreement as it’s been drafted,” said Camacho.
The governor’s chief policy adviser Arthur Clark says the governor isn’t going to sign the agreement. “In it’s current form we don’t feel it’s ready for execution it’s a matter of negotiating terms as you do with any contract it’s a contract so it’s negotiating the terms and getting the terms to where the governor feels it’s in the interest of the people and it’s ready to sign,” explained Clark.
Camacho also says that the Pagat area and the shoreline along Rt. 15 has not been properly surveyed for archaeological sites which is why he believes it is highly likely that there are many more yet undiscovered Archaelogical sites throughout the area of the proposed firing range complex.