Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pagat Lawsuit News

Courtesy of Famoksaiyan Friends:
From We Are Guåhan:

DoD Refuses Public Involvement in Additional Firing Range Complex Studies

June 15, 2011

Eight (8) months after making its Record of Decision (“ROD”), DoD has asked the District Court of Hawaii for a “voluntary remand” to do additional studies on the firing ranges that DoD has planned on building at Pågat Village and the surrounding area. DoD has refused to allow for any public input or participation in these new studies.

DoD’s request to add more information to its previous studies comes weeks after an e-mail from JGPO about DoD’s plans for Pågat Village was publicly released. In the e-mail, which was sent seven days after DoD issued its ROD, Major General Bice of JGPO wrote to several high ranking DoD officials that DoD “can get all of the land eventually, including an SDZ [Surface Danger Zone] over Pagat; we have to be patient and build trust with the community first.”

The e-mail from JGPO also said that DoD could get Pågat Village and the surrounding area for its firing ranges if it eliminated “all impacts to Pågat historic village in the near term . . . .” This is consistent with DoD’s request to use a different way of figuring out where the 10,000,000 bullets it plans on firing per year at the firing range complex will land in order to shrink the Surface Danger Zones. The different method, which has been around since 2003, was not considered by DoD until after We Are Guåhan, the Guam Preservation Trust and the National Trust for Historic Preservation filed its lawsuit challenging DoD’s selection of Pågat Village.

“For over a year and a half, the community has insisted that DoD look at other alternatives and leave Pågat Village alone,” says We Are Guåhan member Cara Flores-Mays, “this time around, DoD must actually address our concerns instead of just going through the motions and manipulating numbers.”

We Are Guåhan, the Guam Preservation Trust and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, have asked that DoD allow for public involvement in any new studies about the firing range complex. DoD has denied this request.

“This process will continue to be flawed,” continued Flores-Mays, “as long as DoD makes decisions without transparency or input from the people who will be affected.”

Resources:

Download DoD’s request to do new studies here.

Download the response filed by We Are Guahan, the Guam Preservation Trust and the National Trust for Historic Preservation here.

http://weareguahan.com/2011/06/15/dod-refuses-public-involvement-in-additional-firing-range-complex-studies/

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Marianas Variety
When the Moon Waxes

Beyond Pågat

Michael Lujan Bevacqua
Wednesday, 15 June 2011
OVER the past year, I have lost track of how many times I have visited the Pågat area in northeastern Guam. I have taken my students on several trips there. I took reporters from NHK in Japan, the Washington Post in the U.S., and even a crew from Guam’s own PNC News there. Earlier this year, I took a group of newly elected and re-elected senators down there. I’ve lead groups there twice through the Heritage Hikes I’ve organized for We Are Guåhan and will be leading people once again later this month.

Even though I can count visiting Pågat at least 15 times in the past year and a half, I have not gotten tired of traveling there. Even as I walk on limestone trails, which I swear I could hike with my eyes closed, I still know that there is more to see and more for me to discover.
One reason for this is because while most people think of Pågat as the trail which leads from the Back Road to a cave and then to some stunning cliffs, Pågat in my mind extends further north and further south from that point. That trail itself is a great way to spend an afternoon, since you get to tour through different ecosystems and see artifacts along the trails. For those who are afraid of heights, there is a dark freshwater cave to swim in; and for those afraid of the dark, there is a well-lit cliff to jump off of to swim in the ocean below. But Pågat is still so much more than this.

Earlier this year, there was a debate in the media and in the minds of the military and Guam’s people as to what exactly constitutes Pågat.

Many felt it was just the sliver of land that I mentioned above and nothing more. If this was the case, then the proposed firing ranges the military plans to put on the bluff above Pågat could be more palatable, since the cave and cliff area so many know would fall on the edge, rather than the center of the surface danger zones, or the areas where there is a chance a stray bullet may land.

In response to this assertion, I and members of the group Halomtåno’ explored the area north of the assumed location of Pågat to see what we could find. Further north we found more latte and more lusong, and other artifacts such as pottery. As we moved further up the coast, we found pieces of shell tools such as higam or adze heads and even an acho achuman, a very ingenious device that ancient Chamorros used to train fish, making them easier to be caught later.

At the furthest northern point of Pågat is an area aptly called Pågat Point, which is, in my mind, the most beautiful section of all in Pågat. In the jungle cliffs we found small caves with pottery shards. And when you reach the ocean cliffs at Pågat Point, you find a lamasa, a natural table-like walkway at the water’s edge. The lamasa extends for what seems like a mile, and is for the most part safe and flat, although it can be dangerous, as its low level can make it easy for a rogue wave to appear and sweep you down into the deep blue sea.

This is something we learned firsthand; so if you ever visit this area, please be careful when the lamasa narrows. Despite the danger, the view there is breathtaking. From the jagged limestone cliffs you can face north and the cliffs of Yigo will look particularly majestic.

If you would like to learn more about Pågat and the artifacts or cultural significance I’m describing, by all means, join us on our Heritage Hike on June 25. We’ll be meeting at the Pågat trailhead on the Back Road to Anderson at 9 a.m.

For more information, head to http://www.weareguahan.com/
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http://mvguam.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=18553:-beyond-pagat&catid=50:when-the-moon-waxes-by-michael-bevacqua&Itemid=97


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Pacific News Center
Navy Seeks 90 Day Stay in Pågat Firing Range Lawsuit: Preservation Trust Opposed
Kevin Kerrigan

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Guam - The Navy has asked the Hawaii District Court for a "voluntary remand," and stay, in the lawsuit over the Pågat firing range so they can complete an ongoing "review and analysis." But the Preservation Trust and "We Are Guahan" are opposing the request unless public input is allowed.

The Navy wants the Court to stay all deadlines and proceedings for 90 days or to issue an administrative closure, "which would have the effect of closing the case during the remand, but permit the plaintiffs to reopen the case for cause thereafter."

During that period, the Navy says it will conduct "an assessment to determine whether application of a technical solution ... could minimize the physical footprint of the training range complex" at Pågat. The Navy would then prepare a Supplemental Information Report (SIR) and from that decide whether to prepare a supplemental NEPA report on the firing range complex "before making a final decision regarding the specific site for the live-fire training range complex."

The Navy argues, that until they reach a decision on where the firing range complex will be located, there is nothing for the court to decide.

"Contrary to the plaintiffs’ allegations ... the defendants have not taken a final agency action with respect to the selection of a site ... Absent final agency action on site selection ... there is no basis for judicial review of the claims alleged in the Complaint, all of which pertain exclusively to the location of the training range site."

The Navy also points out that the result of their review could be "the issuance of a decision to which the plaintiffs would not object."

READ the Navy's request for a voluntary remand

But the plaintiffs, the Preservation Trust, "We Are Guahan", and others, state in their response that they "oppose this attempt to reopen and bolster the deficient administrative record unless certain safeguards -- particularly public involvement -- are built into the remand process.
First, "there must be public comment" and second that they, the Plaintiff's, be given an ample amount of time to respond to any final decision on the firing range complex before ground is broken.

The response also argues that the relationship between the Plaintiffs and the Navy is now "characterized by shattered trust" and they cite an email, previously reported on by PNC News, from former JGPO Director David Bice in which Bice wrote about the need to provide "sweeteners" to win legislative support for placing the firing range complex in the Pågat area and the need to "give the Legislature a deal they can't refuse."

The Plaintiffs do not characterize the Bice email. Rather they let Guam Legislative Speaker Judi Won Pat do that for them by quoting her reaction. It "shows how disingenuous they are," said Won Pat "here is proof that they are conniving behind our backs."

The Plaintiffs say that Won Pat's reaction shapes their "view of Defendants' proposal for a voluntary remand and stay."

A release from "We Are Guahan" over the Navy's request for a stay states that they "have asked that DoD allow for public involvement in any new studies about the firing range complex. DoD has denied this request"
The release also quotes "We Are Guahan" member Cara Flores-Mays as saying , “this time around, DoD must actually address our concerns instead of just going through the motions and manipulating numbers.”

READ the Preservation Trust's response

READ We Are Guhan's release on the Navy's request for a remand in FULL below:

We Are Guåhan: DoD refuses public involvement in additional firing range complex studies

RE: DoD refuses public involvement in additional firing range complex studies.

Eight (8) months after making its Record of Decision (“ROD”), DoD is now asking the District Court of Hawaii for a “voluntary remand,” or permission to do additional studies on the 5 firing ranges that DoD has planned on building at Pågat Village and the surrounding area. DoD has refused to allow for any public input or participation in these new studies.

DoD’s request to add more information to its previous studies comes weeks after an e-mail from JGPO surfaced about DoD’s plans for Pågat Village. In the e-mail, which was sent seven days after DoD issued its ROD in September 2010, Major General Bice of JGPO wrote to several high ranking DoD officials that DoD “can get all of the land eventually, including an SDZ [Surface Danger Zone] over Pågat; we have to be patient and build trust with the community first.”

The e-mail from JGPO also said that DoD could get Pågat Village and the surrounding area for its firing ranges if it eliminated “all impacts to Pågat historic village in the near term . . . .” This is consistent with DoD’s request to use a different way of figuring out where the 10,000,000 bullets it plans on firing per year at the firing range complex will land in order to shrink the Surface Danger Zones. The different method, which has been around since 2003, was not considered by DoD until after We Are Guåhan, the Guam Preservation Trust and the National Trust for Historic Preservation filed a lawsuit challenging DoD’s selection of Pågat Village.

“For over a year and a half, the community has insisted that DoD look at other alternatives and leave Pågat Village alone,” says We Are Guåhan member Cara Flores-Mays, “this time around, DoD must actually address our concerns instead of just going through the motions and manipulating numbers.”

We Are Guåhan, the Guam Preservation Trust and the National Trust for Historic Preservation have asked that DoD allow for public involvement in any new studies about the firing range complex. DoD has denied this request.

“This process will continue to be flawed,” continued Flores-Mays, “as long as DoD makes decisions without transparency or input from the people who will be affected.”

http://www.pacificnewscenter.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14862:navy-asks-court-for-more-time-to-assess-pagat-firing-range-plans-without-public-comment&catid=45:guam-news&Itemid=156

1 comment:

bim said...

Hi

I read this post 2 times. It is very useful.

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Best regards
Jonathan.

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