Thursday, December 10, 2009

Resolution opposes condemning land for buildup

Resolution opposes condemning land for buildup

By Dionesis Tamondong • Pacific Daily News • December 11, 2009

Sen. Judith Guthertz yesterday introduced a legislative resolution declaring the island's strong opposition to the federal government condemning any land for the planned military buildup.

Guthertz, chairwoman of the legislative committee that oversees buildup issues, said she had been assured by retired Maj. Gen. David Bice, Joint Guam Program Office executive director, that land condemnations aren't part of the plan for obtaining more land needed for the buildup.

But, citing media report, she noted that retired Marine Col. John Jackson, director of the JGPO office that is coordinating the buildup, said condemnations are on the table.

The Department of Defense is seeking to acquire at least 2,200 acres of non-federal land for the buildup, according to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. For example, between 1,100 acres and 1,800 acres along Route 15 in Mangilao and Yigo are needed for the proposed firing range.

A section of the eight-page resolution states: "... the people of Guam demand that the Federal Government renounce any repeat of history and declare that condemnation shall not be a tool available to the federal government, either directly or through the use of intimidation, in relation to the Guam military buildup ...."

In response to the resolution, JGPO spokesman Capt. Neil Ruggerio said the Defense Department is following federal environmental laws and planning processes to determine the best locations for the facilities and ranges necessary for the military realignment.

"The military is also considering feedback collected through discussions with village mayors, government of Guam officials, and the Legislature. Through this process it has been determined that certain facilities, such as training ranges, will not fit on DoD properties without possible negative affects on Guam's citizens," he said in an e-mail.

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