Monday, September 20, 2010

University of Guam President Underwood Expresses Willingness to Partner with DoD on Research for Island Sustainability

Written by Jeff Marchesseault, Guam News Watch Anchor
Monday, September 20, 2010

GUAM - It's a delicate balance between the viable defense of a "free Pacific" and the quality of life rite here at home. As with anything worth having, there are trade-offs. Something's always got to give. As they say, freedom isn't free.

To balance the high cost of that freedom, local leverage and say-so are priceless tools for helping Guam's community get what it needs out of the buildup – namely affordable and sustainable supplies of energy, water, and land.

Perhaps that's one reason University of Guam (UOG) president Robert Underwood is pushing so hard to establish UOG as a Research and Development resource thru the university's center for island sustainability.

Underwood addressed Rotary Club of Northern Guam at the Hyatt Regency today, telling Rotarians that UOG aims to ensure we're able to use our resources today in ways that don't keep future generations from using those same resources.

"So, as we go through this process of creating the Center for Island Sustainability, we're reaching out to the broader community and we're creating a series of advisory councils. And we're inviting members of the business community, members of the activist community, just village mayors, anybody who's interested to become members of these advisory councils. So that as we set up our research and our educational, and our outreach activities, we get good faith participation from all of the sectors of the island and that it would have the desired effect."

"The University of Guam is willing to be a partner in the research. And I think it would really behoove the Department of Defense to engage us in a partner because when you have researchers who are from here, and researchers who are committed to a life here, then I think they'll do the very best by both the island and give the military honest research. And so our point in setting up the Center for Island Sustainability is to provide a venue for that."

Underwood told Guam News Watch that local officials' concerns over the potential radioactive contamination of Apra harbor is a case in point. That if qualified Guam-based authorities are concerned that dredging Apra could disturb suspected radioactive waste left over from nuclear testing in the Marshalls in the 1940's, then they could help the university solve the dilemma, through the Center for Island Sustainability.

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