Navy files brief over Pagat - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Navy files brief over Pagat

by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - In the fight to protect Pagat, the Department of Navy filed their brief today on a potential compromise to their motion for voluntary remand and stay. But will it be enough for the plaintiffs to back off?

The Navy is hoping We are Guahan, the Guam Preservation Trust and the National Trust for Historic Preservation will ease up on their lawsuit so that it can conduct additional studies to look at all available options for the citing of a live fire training range for the U.S. Marines including whether Pagat is still the preferred location. As we reported the feds filed a motion in the Hawaii District Court to stay the case for three months to conduct the studies.  

The plaintiffs: We are Guahan, along with the National and Guam Preservation Trusts are willing to set aside the litigation but only if the Navy agrees to certain conditions primarily centered around ensuring public participation and allowing the plaintiffs to brief the matter should the Navy continue pursuing acquisition of Pagat and surrounding areas for the live firing range.

According to the Navy's brief submitted to the court Friday, it could not agree to the precise terms of their conditions because they believe portions of the conditions are not appropriate but have agreed to take certain actions they believe will satisfy  "the spirit" of their requests.

For example, the Navy will agree to public participation should it be deemed necessary under the requirements of the National Environmental Protection Act, DOD has agreed to conduct a 30 days public comment period if additional review is necessary under the National Environmental Policy Act process. Those comments would be incorporated and published in a final Supplemental Information report.

In terms of the plaintiffs concerns about Pagat, the Navy could not specifically agree to a prohibition against undertaking any ground distributing activities there, but did say they do not anticipate any action considering no funding has been appropriated for the property's acquisition or construction related activities for the remainder of this fiscal year or next.

Attorney Nicholas Yost who represents the plaintiffs was not available to respond to the Navy's brief, we are told he is en route to Hawaii. We Are Guahan's Leevin Camacho however says the lawsuit was filed because the Department of Defense broke the law, adding there are no shortcuts and regardless of how the judge rules in light of the department of defense now agreeing to limited public input, they will not stop until they have followed the law.

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