Guam – Legislative Buildup Chair Senator Judi Guthertz says that if the news reports coming out of Japan are accurate it could be good for Guam as a de-linking of the Futenma move would mean that the Guam military buildup would happen sooner.
“The reason the buildup is taking this long to begin with is because of the lack of progress on Futenma so taking that off the table and perhaps renegotiating parts of the contract between Japan or the agreement between Japan and the United States is a very positive thing for us here and for the whole Asia Pacific region,” said Guthertz.
The senator is quick to point out that nothing is official however if the reports are true and less marines do come to Guam the senator is pleased that it is at least a start. “Even if the number is smaller for the marine deployment to Guam it may start small but it may get bigger so I’m very optimistic,” said Guthertz.
“We are Guahan” member Leevin Camacho says that if they do change their plans on the buildup “We Are Guahan” will still want to ensure that the new plans don’t negatively impact the island. “Our organization, We Are Guahan has always been concerned with issues that are affecting our island community so we’ve always been concerned about affordable housing, our hospital our public schools and what the impact of the buildup is gonna be on our most vulnerable,” said Camacho.
The impacts of a smaller buildup are unclear. In fact, a different buildup could require a brand new Environmental Impact Statement or EIS. “If the lay down is different then they probably will have to do another EIS,” said Camacho.
As for what the administration thinks, Governor Eddie Calvo’s director of the military buildup Mark Calvo says they are still operating under the 2006 agreement which calls for 8 thousand marines and their families to be moved to Guam. “We’ll talk about the facts that are in writing the facts are the 2006 U.S. / Japan agreement lays out numbers which is around 8 thousand marines here on Guam and 9 thousand dependents so those are what everyone is operating on now,” said Calvo adding, “as of today the numbers that we’ve been told are still the original numbers in fact the buildup is going to be extended there’s no word that it’s canceled that’s for sure.”
Calvo says there may be some truth to the reports out of Japan but he will simply have to wait for official word which is something he has yet to receive. He does note that President Obama’s budget is due to congress on the 13th of February the same day that Kyodo news is reporting that the official buildup changes will be announced.