Guam Preservation Trust claims victory - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Guam Preservation Trust claims victory

by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - The Guam Preservation Trust, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and We Are Guahan are officially claiming a victory today following the Navy's decision to consider alternative locations for a range that was set to be built at Pagat Village. But the fight isn't over.

It will be at least two years before the site of the Marines' live-fire training range will be determined, but for the groups that have fought vigorously for the ranges not to be placed on the grounds of the ancient village of Pagat. Today they're claiming victory in protecting an ancient settlement and important cultural site in Guam. Guam Preservation Trust chief program officer Joe Quinata says the Navy's declaration is an historic breakthrough as it marks the beginning of a process to resolve critical issues since the release of the draft environmental impact statement two years ago.

"Specifically, for the Guam Preservation Trust, the issues of protecting and preserving our sacred, cultural, and traditional placed and the violations of the process to address these core issues are yet to be resolved," he said.

As we reported earlier this week, the Navy intends to prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed firing range and review alternative locations than Pagat. With a pending motion to dismiss that was scheduled to be heard in Hawaii next month, the groups' legal counsel, Nicholas Vost, said they will file an opposition to that motion while responding to the navy's latest decision.

"At the same there's still issues out there," he said. "We want make sure the judge still maintains jurisdiction so that she can continue to oversee the process and make sure defense department to not violate the law."

But will the SEIS be effective, considering the first Draft EIS wasn't entirely? "Now they say they are going to do it, they know we're going to be looking over their shoulder," said Yost.  "The Guam Preservation Trust, We Are Guahan and the National Trust are going to continue their determined effort and oversee the process, this time with the threat of an ongoing judicial sanction such that we can ensure that the right kind of job is done."

Moving forward, We Are Guahan's Leevin Camacho says the group never stopped believing the outcome would become a reality but he warns that the fight isn't over just yet. "Because it's a victory we need to enjoy, but a victory we need to build on and remembering that going into the Supplemental EIS that the Department of Defense is going to look at other alternatives and we need to get the same community support that we've had."

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