Oversight hearing held on buildup - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Oversight hearing held on buildup

by Lannie Walker

Guam - It was a no holds barred joint oversight hearing at the Guam Legislature today. Senators demanded answers from the Executive Branch on details surrounding the impending military buildup. A lengthy oversight hearing on the military buildup began this morning and lasted well into the afternoon.

Guam Buildup Office Director Eddy Reyes and Governor Eddie Calvo's chief policy advisor Arthur Clark did most of the answering. Said the former, "My objective today was to give information to the Legislature that tells us where we are after only 42 days of a new administration and the challenges that lie ahead of us."

Using a PowerPoint presentation, Reyes took senators through a list of projected projects and the scope of the entire buildup process, estimated to cost $15 billion - a portion of which will come from an appropriation recently submitted by President Barack Obama as part of his Fiscal Year 2012 budget.

"I think that's what we could expect at the this particular point in time; you know, the U.S. Government is going through significant budget cuts during this cycle, so I think we are very fortunate to have at least $33 million that have been identified in the presidents budget," he explained. "I think that's a good step forward."

The president's budget also included $367 million for military construction projects for the territory, which according to Guam congressional delegate Madeleine Bordallo said reflects implementation of the Navy's adaptive management program that will slow the pace of construction until Guam's infrastructure can handle additional capacity.   

Meanwhile, much of today's joint oversight hearing centered on the Programmatic Agreement that the federal and local government have yet to agree on. Clark made it known that he and Guam State Historic Preservation Officer Lynda Aguon are working on revisions to the PA and said they are awaiting a new version from the Defense Department any day now.

Clark stressed the Executive Branch would be more transparent with the information than the military had been with the draft issued on December 30. "And only some people got it and some of the consulting parties didn't and that was actually one of the messages delivered by Governor Calvo during our meeting with the undersecretary that the military really hurts themselves, whether intentionally of unintentionally, when they provide only certain groups within the consultation information," he stated.

In the meantime, early on there was some discussion about the Calvo-Tenorio Transition Team's report, which criticized Aguon of obstructionism, insubordination and micromanaging abuse and incompetence. Clark came to her defense saying the governor fully supports herm, noting Calvo on February 8 designated Aguon as the island's state historic preservation officer.

Aguon initially wasn't at the hearing this morning because she was feeling ill, but she later showed up and attended the oversight.

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