Vice Speaker: Legislature Excluded From the Civil-Military Coordination Council

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Guam – In a letter sent today to Assistant Secretary of the Navy Jackalyne Pfannenstiel, Vice Speaker Benjamin J.F. Cruz expressed his concern that
neither the Legislature nor the Mayors’ Council are represented on the Civil-Military Coordination Council, which will focus on avoiding significant impacts to the environment, infrastructure, and social services while executing the construction activities related to the buildup.

The Vice Speaker reminded in his letter that the Legislature often acts as such a body, in that it oversees the agencies involved and is responsible locally for the very duties outlined in the Council’s Initial Charter. “To exclude the Legislature from this Council,” Cruz wrote, “is to bypass a major control and, doubtless, policies and standards will be jeopardized.”

The Charter grants the Governor the authority to appoint one member from his office, two representing Guam regulatory agencies, and one representing utilities and infrastructure. Federal representation outnumbers local by five members, which the Vice Speaker called “a stark imbalance,” and, in his letter, offered an alternative, requesting four additional slots for local representation.

Cruz wrote, “The Council will be most effective if it rectified the local-federal imbalance with the addition of a representative for education and one to represent the Hospital, Mental Health and Substance Abuse, and Public Health and Social Services collectively; and the amendment of the current list so that Department of the Interior represents the concerns of the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife, USDA, and NOAA.”