Cruz critical of Bordallo's role in buildup
Posted: Jan 30, 2010 6:15 PM
by Michele Catahay
Guam - Things heated up during a town hall meeting hosted by Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo this morning. Vice-Speaker B.J. Cruz questioned Bordallo's role in fighting for the people as it pertains to the military buildup.
Cruz says he isn't quite satisfied with the way Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo has been handling the issues pertaining to the movement of U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam. During the hearing today, Cruz suggested to Bordallo to go back to the federal government to find out if the Draft environmental Impact Statement could be revised and resubmitted before it becomes a permanent document.
He said, "I said that since this DEIS is much larger than the original scope that was originally discussed, and I think it's fair. And I asked her if she could spearhead the move to ask the Secretary of Defense to change the NEPA process that is currently being discussed and take this as an initial Draft EIS, have them revise it and resubmit it to us again as a draft."
Cruz says he remains critical of Bordallo, saying not enough has been done on her part to protect the island's coral reefs. Bordallo is the chairperson of the Subcommittee on Insular Affairs and Oceans and Wildlife. Cruz says he finds it disheartening that Bordallo received an award for the protection of the reefs and corals last year, but isn't speaking out against the dredging in Apra Harbor.
"Her silence in not speaking out against the fact they were going to dredge out 39 acres of coral in Apra Harbor was deafening," he continued. "And in being literate and polite, I said it was deafening and when pointing and trying to find the next word, she said 'unconscionable', and that probably is the best word."
Bordallo is on Guam hosting her own town hall meetings to gather input from stakeholders on the relocation. She says she will be submitting her own comments to the Joint Guam Program Office. Although there are many issues in line with the buildup, Bordallo says one thing for sure is that she does not support the use of eminent domain to acquire property for the military.
Said the delegate, "If a private landowner wants to lease or sell their property, that is their right because it's their property and if they choose not to, that is also their right, and I will not support the military using eminent domain to acquire the property if the landowner is opposed to doing so."
As for the use of government lands, Bordallo says the governor and Legislature are the only ones who can decide whether to lease or sell government property.
In the meantime, Barrigada resident Juan Unpingco says he has been living on Guam all his life and would hate to see his family's land be taken away by the military, saying, "I'm in support of the military buildup, provided there is no land condemnation. I'm in favor of rescinding land of equitable value of leasing property to meet the needs of the military buildup."
Dededo resident Janet Aguon says it's unfair how Guam has no say in this buildup. She says although she fought for the county in two wars, Aguon believes the buildup is not in the best interest of the people of Guam. "I'm truly sick and tired of the United States of America and the Department of Defense treating the people of Guam as if they were trash. So my message to President (Barack) Obama, the DoD, the Secretary of the Navy: take the military and put them in your own country and not on our tiny little island."
Two more hearings are scheduled tomorrow. One will be held at the Agat Community Center from 2-4pm. The other will be held at the Our Lady of Assumption Church Social Hall in Piti from 5-7pm.