Guam – The Department of Defense is asking the federal courts to hold off on hearing the Pagat lawsuit filed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation so they can re-examine their plan to use Pagat as a firing range complex.
The Trust, “We Are Guahan” and others have filed a motion opposing the request because DoD doesn’t want any public participation in the review process.
Meanwhile, Hawaii District Court Judge Leslie Kobayashi says she is inclined to issue the 90 day stay the Navy wants, if the Navy agrees to the Preservation Trust’s demand for public input. Judge Kobayashi’s issued an order Tuesday calling on both sides to submit briefs and asking the Preservation Trust whether they would drop their opposition to DoD’s request, if the Navy agrees to the Trust’s demand for public input.
” We Are Guahan” member Leevin Camacho says they are wary of DoD’s request. “There’s this idea that they are going to do the math again do the numbers again just so they don’t hit the village that they’ve defined and then 30 years down the road when everyone’s gone from JGPO and all the faces have changed and DOD has a presence there then they’re gonna make the move to take the entire area,” said Camacho.
This isn’t the only reason why We Are Guahan joined in opposition to the motion. Camacho explains that they are concerned about the lack of public input.
“What we’ve asked for even from the beginning is more public involvement in the decision making process and we’ve made that request to DOD and they haven’t granted it they’ve refused to allow for any of the public to see what their plans are to be involved in the discussions involving new alternatives that they may be able to put the ranges on,” said Camacho.
DOD has said in their motion that by recalculating the size of the surface danger zone, which is the zone where bullets may land, they may be able to fit the firing range complex elsewhere. Camacho and We Are Guahan aren’t necessarily opposed to this idea but they want the public to be involved in the process.
“We’ve filed our opposition asking for two things that one that the public be involved in this process and two that if they decide to pick Pagat still after using this new mathematical way of calculating where the ten million bullets that they plan on firing at Pagat a year will land that we be allowed a reasonable time to file a response,” explained Camacho.
Camacho says that if they are granted these two requests then there will be no reason to have a hearing on the motion however if DOD disagrees then arguments on the motion will be heard this Saturday Guam time which will be Friday in Hawaii where the lawsuit is taking place.