Congressional delegation on Guam
By Heather Hauswirth
Published Aug 10, 2009
Guam is playing host for the next couple of days to a congressional delegation led by the chairperson of the House Committee on Natural Resources. West Virginia congressman Nick Rahall announced upon landing on the island, "We are looking forward to our fact-finding mission in Guam."
The congressional delegation, led Rahall arrived at the Guam International Airport this afternoon. "This, ladies and gentleman, is our members of our delegation and as I said we know the territories are faced with a number of challenges," he continued.
The delegation has already made stops at American Samoa, Palau, and the Northern Mariana Islands. The two-day stop in Guam completes the delegation's trip. While in Guam, their schedule grants considerable time to discussing infrastructure and environmental issues related to the military build-up. As evidenced by the presence of both Joint Guam Program Office director David Bice as well as Rear Admiral Douglas Biesel at the arrival of the codel at the airport this afternoon, the plans for the build up are clearly at the top of the agenda.
Biesel, the commander of Joint Region Marianas, spoke to KUAM News about the need for constant communication between JGPO and the Government of Guam, saying, "We are out here to brief the codel on the buildup as well as talk about Guam infrastructure because that is where Chairman Rahall and his codel are interested in and what is the condition of Guam's infrastructure and what support does the federal government need to make in terms of helping Guam's infrastructure support the realignment of military forces."
Biesel added that he would be spending significant time with the codel while they are here, saying, "That's why there visit is absolutely so important so we will spend tomorrow morning with them. I invited them on to the US Submarine Tender, the USS Frank Cable tomorrow for breakfast. We will tell them a little about why we have a submarine tender and three homeported submarines here and then we'll do about an hour of military briefings of the islands, we'll cover the joint region of Marianas, we'll cover the marine core build up of the island and of course any environmental impacts."
As preparations for the military buildup continue, the congressional delegation's visit to Guam will help the committee make key decisions moving forward.
While on Guam, the delegation will meet with Government of Guam and federal officials to discuss issues related to the military buildup and other local issues. Chairman Rahall will speak at the University of Guam as part of the president's lecture series on August 12. The delegation will also participate tomorrow in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Asan Bay Overlook unit of the War in the Pacific National Historical Park to honor the liberators of Guam and the people of Guam who endured the occupation.
Additionally, the delegation will participate in a working lunch with local leaders to discuss infrastructure and environmental issues related to the buildup.