News & Politics
Ep. 235 “Record of Decision - Not Guam’s Decision”
Ep. 235 “Record of Decision - Not Guam’s Decision” (hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames and produced by Dance Aoki with assistance from Alan Grossman) aired 2/19/16.
This episode provides partial coverage of the October 20, 2015 meeting with the Governor of Guam sought by several local groups concerned with the impacts of the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Guam military buildup signed by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy in late August 2015. This meeting was formally requested in a September 11 letter submitted by Our Islands are Sacred. Supporting letters were later submitted by I Nasion Chamoru and Fuetsan Famalao’an. The Taotaomona Native Rights group, Ritidian Families Association, and the Guam Fishermen’s Co-op were also represented at this meeting.
The signing of the ROD is the final part of the required NEPA process that the Department of Defense (DOD) had to complete to begin construction on things like the main cantonment, housing and live fire training range areas for the U.S. marines to be relocated to Guam from Okinawa. The ROD for the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) officially selects the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station, Finegayan (in the densely populated village of Dededo) as the site for the main cantonment, Andersen Air Force Base (AAFB) as the site for family housing, and AAFB Northwest Field as the site for the live fire training range complex. Andersen South is selected as the site for a stand-alone hand grenade range. Considered ‘excess’ by the Air Force, Congress approved the transfer of most of this abandoned housing complex to the Marine Corps in 2002. Located in the central village of Mangilao, it now serves as the Marines Corps' largest urban combat training facility.
In their September 11 letter to Governor Eddie Calvo, Our Islands Are Sacred highlighted an array of concerns, many of which are cited in the FSEIS and the ROD. They emphasized that the ROD is a Department of Defense decision —-not Guam’s decision — and appealed to the Governor to become more critical of the buildup. They requested that local experts and responsible Government of Guam agencies provide accessible information to the public about their assessment of anticipated impacts, alternatives and mitigation measures. They also proposed specific actions the Governor could take to demonstrate that he is a maga’lahi, a chosen leader who will truly “protect and defend our island and our way of life.” This, they urge, must include working in solidarity with regional leaders, especially the new Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands and the Governor of Okinawa, Japan.
The October 20 meeting opened with a chant “Tumotoghe I Lahi” performed by Moñeka de Oro (written and composed by Leonard Z. Iriarte) and a presentation of gifts from the Marianas by Anne Lizama. This was followed by the statement of Victoria-Lola Leon Guerrero (representing Our Islands are Sacred) and Catherine Flores McCollum (Maga Ha’ga’ I Nasion Chamoru).
In the second half, we present Governor Calvo’s response at this meeting. Although he assured those present that he would assign staff to address their concerns, four months have passed with no response. Attempts by Beyond the Fence to obtain a status report from his office were unsuccessful. Victoria-Lola Leon Guerrero, Catherine Flores McCollum and Shannon Siguenza, a University of Guam graduate student, provide recent comment on the October 20 meeting and the Governor’s inaction to date.
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