by Mindy Aguon
Guam - The Department of Defense wants a lawsuit that was filed against it by the Guam Preservation Trust, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and We Are Guahan stayed for 60 days or they intend to file a motion to dismiss. They were supposed to answer to the lawsuit by tomorrow, the same time a scheduling conference is to be held in the Hawaii District Court.
The trusts challenged the Navy's approval of a Record of Decision for the military buildup on Guam after proposing to develop firing ranges at the historic village of Pagat. The plaintiffs contend the Navy violated the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, and the Coastal Zone Management Act.
Both parties believe this is an administrative record review case that can be resolved without a jury trial. According to a scheduling conference statement filed last week with the Hawaii District Court, the case could be resolved toward the end of this fiscal year. The DoD and the Department of the Navy however contend that for budgetary reasons they cannot foreclose any alternatives to the Pagat firing ranges until September 31 of this year when they expect the case to be resolved.
While the feds have proposed that there should be a 60-day break in the case, the plaintiffs believe a stay will not contribute to an efficient resolution of the case.