SHPO discussing construction sites with military

Acting State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) Patrick Lujan does not agree with the suggested methodology within the draft work plan and will require a more thorough archaeological investigation.

With concerns being raised by members of the community about the preservation of the recently discovered sites in military construction areas as well as the recent denial from Joint Region Marianas to pause the construction of the Live Fire Training Range Complex around the area of the last mature fire tree, Patrick Lujan, the recently instituted State Historic Preservation Officer, says that his office has been in discussion with the military.

“We’re actually doing some ongoing dialogue with them. I’m actually going to visit the sites so I’ll have more information. But based on what our instructions were to them, they’re complying with what we have ordered them to do,” Lujan said.

As for a potential pause, Lujan says that commenting on the issue would not be safe to do so as the definition of a pause would have to be determined.

“People have different definitions of what pausing means, but we’re just staying in our lanes as far as administering the rules and regulations of the laws protecting cultural resources,” Lujan said.

As of now, the State Historic Preservation Office is currently working on creating a renewed Programmatic Agreement in light of the expiration of the 2011 agreement in December that would be beneficial to the preservation of the island’s cultural resources.