Pagat lawsuit to be heard in Hawaii - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Pagat lawsuit to be heard in Hawaii

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - Discussions involving the military buildup are center stage in a federal court in Hawaii. Attorney Nicholas Yost on behalf of his clients. The Guam Preservation Trust, the National Historic Preservation Trust and We Are Guahan are challenging the Navy's approval of the Record of Decision for the military buildup on Guam after proposing to develop firing ranges near 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. A scheduling conference was held in Hawaii today. According to Yost, both sides agreed to hold the hearing in September.

He said, "The schedule is premised on something, which is right now there is no money in the current fiscal year's budget, which ends on the last day of September there's no money for the government to do anything with Pagat or Route 15 area so nothing is going to happen there. Until the beginning of the next fiscal year."

By March 15 the feds must provide the plaintiffs with an index of the administrative record.  One month later, April 15 the actual administrative record will then be submitted to the court. On this same day the feds will also have to answer to the actual complaint. By June 15t, Attorney Yost says they will file their briefs for summary judgment. The government likewise will have until July 15 to file its motion for summary judgment with the government having until August 15 to respond.

Yost will then have until August 29 to reply to the feds. Oral arguments will be presented before the judge on September 19. Meanwhile in court today the military did make note of the possibility it may file a motion to dismiss, arguing the case isn't ripe just yet because of ongoing dialogue between Adelup and the Navy regarding the Programmatic Agreement, which is required by Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

"Well the Record of Decision came out last year and obviously that was not completed by that time. So no matter what the Navy does now it still violated the law. It's didn't do it before the Record of Decision its instead trying to and hasn't done it after," he said.

Yost adds the Programmatic Agreement and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act is just one of the arguments in their complaint there's 12 other issues they want to see resolved, 11 were filed under the National Environmental Policy Act and another under the Coastal Zone Management Act. All of which they hope to see resolution come the fall.

On an added note, the lawsuit will be the focus of panel discussion at the University of Hawaii tomorrow. The forum is being hosted by the Environmental Law Program.

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