Senator Gutertz Asks for Clarification on Utility Loan from Japan

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Guam – As 2011, a key year for the Guam military buildup approaches, confusion reigns supreme over how essential water, power and other utility improvements are to be funded and carried out, according to Committee on the Guam Military Buildup Chair Senator Judith P. Guthertz.

Senator Guthertz is asking Consolidated Commission on Utilities chair Simon Sanchez to clarify the status of arrangements to pay for the $700 million plus loan cost of the utility reconstruction and improvement. Sanchez has repeatedly stated that individual Guam utility ratepayers will not be on the hook for any costs associated with the borrowing of this money by Japan from its Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

Once again however, a report in Japan’s prestigious Yomiuri Shimbun appears to poke holes in the claim that this is a done deal. According to the newspaper, “[T]he two nations [Japan and the U.S.] recently agreed in principle that the U.S. side would use money made from charging infrastructure users, including the marines and Guam citizens, to pay back the loans.”

Senator Guthertz has maintained a strong position that Guam citizens in the civilian community should not be required to pay for any of the infrastructure needed to accommodate the military buildup.

The bank loans would “provide ultra‐long‐term, low‐interest loans to entities in Guam that will build electric power generation, water supply and sewage facilities where the marines will be relocated.”

Senator Guthertz said that this reveals, once again, the continuing confusion over important elements of the buildup and its Guam location.
“Either the reporter or Japanese government officials don’t appear to understand that in our small island, it makes no difference where the new military personnel are located.

The same resources will be drawn upon and the demand on utilities will expand for everyone.”

Senator Guthertz urged that the Joint Guam Program Office take a more pro‐active role in explaining what is occurring in these negotiations in which GovGuam has no representation.