Preservation Trust let down with Pagat plans
by Nick Delgado
Guam - Although a decision on the Marines firing and training ranges near Pagat has been delayed, it looks litigation just might move forward. Chief Program Officer of the Guam Preservation Trust Joe Quinata says the decision on the Marines firing range may have been delayed, but it's clear what the military's intentions are.
"This whole process that we were put through, we are really disappointed at what the potential outcome is going to be and we are aware they have not done anything to address the concerns," he said. "I mean, it's just quite obvious what they are saying to you there are no other options but then again they are not saying if they have made that decision or not regarding Route 15."
The Guam Preservation Trust and the National Historic Preservation Trust have been against the designation of the Route 15 Marines training range. The site is near the ancient village of Pagat, which has been designated as one of America's Most Endangered Historic Places. Over the weekend the National Trust went so far as writing Department of Defense Secretary Robert Gates requesting Pagat be removed as the site for the ranges.
Even prior to that during the comment period for the Final Environmental Impact Statement, the trusts indicated possible litigation. According to Quinata, at this point they just might not have any other recourse. "What is our next strategy? It seems like we will be going on into litigation if that's the outcome of the Record of Decision if there are no other alternatives that they have indicated no other options than it is so obvious that they are not following the procedures," he said.
Should the Route 15 firing ranges come to fruition, the Guam International Raceway Park could be stopped dead in its tracks. Guam Raceway Federation General Manager Henry Simpson met with Joint Guam Program Office officials to discuss other options but he remains concerned about the possibility of eminent domain. Said Simpson, "We're cautiously optimistic that we can work together with the military on this. We are not happy that what's in writing shows them wanting to use this part of the property."
Ed Cruz, the Federation's acting chairman, agrees. "I'm really concerned that this tradeoff between the military and the local people that we want to get our fair share and were hoping that we do get a fair share and were still able to run a racetrack," he explained.
Pagat residents like Danny Jackson believe the buildup efforts have been unfair not only to residents along Route 15, but the entire island. "You can sit down and read a few pages, but along to Washington, DC maybe they might just flush it down the toilet. Hey! Only recognize us of our property and our homeland, so like I said, it's illegal and all political."