Senators now call for pause, not halt, of military construction

During a press conference early Monday morning, some senators clarified that they are calling for a “pause” and not a stop to military construction.

Senators of the 35th Guam Legislature have released a resolution now calling for a “pause” to military construction on Guam.

Earlier, a news release from Vice Speaker Telena Nelson said two resolutions would be released calling for “a stop” to the military construction, specifically the clearing, pre-construction, data recovery and construction activities related to the U.S. Department of the Navy’s proposed Live-Fire Training Range Complex.

But during a press conference this morning, some senators clarified that they are calling for a “pause” and not a stop to military construction.

Vice Speaker also acknowledged that initially, she wanted to call for a “halt” to military construction activities but she agreed to change the wording to “a pause” in order to preserve the unity of senators on the resolution.

“I took a step back because I understood that our strongest efforts matter when we stand united. And so we are calling for a pause,” Nelson said.

Senator Therese Terlaje also said the military continues to engage in clearing activities although inadvertent discoveries of artifacts have already been made.

“So that is the concern, that clearing continues. They are clearing the data, clearing the artifacts, clearing the lusong, and the latte. They are clearing areas and not preserving in-site. The intent of the Programmatic Agreement was that these sites would be avoided,” Terlaje said.

The governor last week agreed to a limited pause of military construction around certain areas where rare trees and artifacts have been found.

But activists are calling for a complete stop to all military construction related to the buildup, not just a pause.

Activist groups are also campaigning against the signing of the Programmatic Agreement because they oppose all buildup construction.

As of June 19, a petition opposing any establishment of a military firing range complex on island and the degradation and militarization of native lands has already garnered 12,013 signatures.

Independent Guåhan, along with Prutehi Litekyan: Save Ritidian, Micronesia Climate Alliance, and Manhoben Para Guåhan (Youth for Guam) have also requested the governor to reconsider the dismissal of Guam State Historic Preservation Officer Lynda Aguon.