Guam governor says he’ll back military plan with added conditions
January 26, 2011
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Guam’s governor said Wednesday he would sign an agreement clearing the way for the U.S. military’s expansion if the Defense Department put in writing its pledges to protect Pagat Village and reduce its footprint on the island.
Gov. Eddie Calvo told a Guam Chamber of Commerce meeting at the Westin Resort Guam that such guarantees would eliminate his opposition to the programmatic agreement, Troy Torres, Calvo’s communications director, told Stars and Stripes.
The agreement sets protocol for how the military will deal with cultural artifacts it unearths as it creates space for 8,600 Marines, naval docking and other projects in the coming years.
Navy Undersecretary Robert Work said last week that Pagat Village — one of the best historically preserved areas on an island that suffered tremendous damage during World War II — would not be used for proposed Marine firing ranges. Work also stated that the military, which owns about 30 percent of the island, would own less following completion of its projects.
Language protecting Pagat Village and reducing the military footprint could either be added to the programmatic agreement or become a separate accord, Calvo told the Guam Chamber of Commerce.
The agreement requires consent from Calvo, the Department of Defense and Guam’s State Historic Preservation Office. It allows the military to move forward without having each of its construction projects individually reviewed.
Prior to last week, Calvo and the preservation office opposed the agreement, largely because of its potential impact on Pagat.
Messages left Wednesday afternoon with the State Historic Preservation Office and the military’s Joint Guam Program Office were not returned.
Some Guam legislators also have refrained from supporting the agreement because they oppose the use of culturally significant lands surrounding Pagat Village as an alternate location for the firing ranges.