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Mayors offer support for military buildup

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - The Mayors Council of Guam this morning passed a resolution in support of the military buildup and Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo's HR4402. The measure would establish a surface danger zone over Ritidian in anticipation of the military's proposed live fire training range at Northwest Field.

MCOG president Mayor Paul McDonald tells KUAM that MCOG officers had a chance to meet with Joint Guam Program Office officials last week on the buildup and decided to call an executive session today to allow the all the mayors an opportunity as well. He says during the closed door meeting JGPO officials made a presentation about the buildup, the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, and Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo's HR4402. The MCOG, in turn passed the resolution by unanimous vote. McDonald says the resolution still needs to be drafted and will be sent to the Governor's Office, the Guam Legislature, the congresswoman's office and be submitted as part of the SEIS comment period.   JGPO Major Darren Alvarez meanwhile says the presentation involved letting the island's mayors know where the live firing training range would actually be placed at northwest field and what impact it would not have on the refuge. He says the goal was to clarify some of the misconceptions currently out there in the community. Some of those include how the refuge was closing at all times which he says is not true, whether endangered species would be harmed which he says is still up for debate by biologists, and how the navy is not planning on taking Government of Guam land, private land or impede at original landowners. As for HR4402, he says the bill does not stop the NEPA process but rather it is Bordallo's attempt to overcome the legal impediments that currently may cause a problem with US Fish and Wildlife Service. He along with Captain Phillip Old and Protocol Officer Jean Schavanne made the presentation.  Guam senators and Ritidian original landowners have expressed concern over HR4402. Governor Eddie Calvo meanwhile has said he understands Bordallo's intent with her introduction of HR4402 and supports the measure as amended because it will help move forward this already delayed process. The compromise version of HR4402 includes the possible relocation and reconstruction of the existing structures and facilities of the refuge. Meanwhile Ritidian landowners say they are meeting with the congresswoman on Guam this week to further discuss the issue.
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