Guam Governor: "I Think It Was Strategic On Their Part"
Navy's Sudden Land Return Sparks Speculation About Unfair Trade
By Jeff Marchesseault
GUAM - As the Defense Minister of Japan tours Guam to see for himself whether the island is big enough to absorb a U.S. air base from Okinawa, the Government of Guam is facing speculation about a possible uneven land trade that could conceivably be offered by the U.S. Department of Defense.
"I think it was a strategic move on their part," said Governor Camacho.
After flying into Guam last night, Mr. Kitazawa met with Governor Camacho at Adelup today, then set off with his entourage to tour military installations, saying he believes Guam is suitable for hosting yet another base.
"I think he's going on a helicopter tour," said Camacho.
But after telling Minister Kitizawa that Guam is not an option to replace Futenma Air Base in Okinawa, the Governor announced the Navy will return excess lands to Guam.
Camacho was briefed on the matter by Acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Installations and the Environment Roger Natsuhara.
The Governor's announcement raises questions about whether the Department of Defense is posturing to swap land to support the buildup.
The Governor himself said he thinks it's a strategic move on the Navy's part. But it wouldn't be a clean trade. The land in question, behind former FAA housing, was designated for return over a decade ago during the last round of Base Realignment And Closure (BRAC) activities back in the mid-1990's.
U.S. Navy To Return Land To The Government Of Guam
December 8, 2009 – Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo today announced that the U.S. Navy has returned a parcel of land in Finegayan to the Government of Guam. The parcel of land, a total of 450 acres referred to as Guam Land Use Plan (GLUP) 77, is bordered on the west by the Philippine Sea, the north by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) property, the east by Finegayan South, and the south by Harmon. Governor Felix Camacho was also notified of the release of lands by the Honorable Roger Natsuhara, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Installations and Environment. The Navy declared the lands to be in excess and the General Services Administration (GSA) recently approved the transfer of the GLUP 77 land back to the Government of Guam.
"I was briefed by Acting Secretary Natsuhara that the U.S. Navy will be returning the excess land to the Government of Guam," Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo said today. "The return of these lands fulfills an obligation by the U.S. Navy to the Government of Guam. I believe this gesture shows goodwill on the part of the Navy. There are land issues that have been raised in the draft environmental impact statement and we hope that the Governor, the Legislature and our community will be able to find acceptable solutions to these challenges."