Monday, January 10, 2011

Extension may be sought for buildup agreement


Local officials may seek an extension to get necessary signatures on the programmatic agreement to help ensure Guam has a voice in the military buildup.

Pete Calvo, Department of Parks and Recreation director, said federal officials made clear the programmatic agreement doesn't require Guam to sign off on it.

"If we do sign the agreement, however, it'll allow us to participate in discussions related to the buildup and its impact on our environment and our cultural and historical sites," he said.

The option of an extension was considered after local officials received a Dec. 30, 2010 letter from Department of Navy giving local officials a Jan. 14 deadline to sign the agreement.

To be valid, the island's programmatic agreement must be signed by the military, the advisory council and the Guam State Program Office.

An agreement hasn't been signed for buildup projects yet because the local Department of Agriculture, which oversees the State Historic Program Office, has been reluctant to do so.

Local historians and cultural groups were up in arms because the Department of Defense wants to use a portion of Pågat as a shooting range. The area is near a historic Chamorro village and a popular area for hikers.

Caroline Hall, a representative of the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, has said the military buildup can move forward whether or not the agreement for a historic preservation process on buildup projects is signed, according to Pacific Daily News files.

The agreement could help streamline the historic preservation process on buildup projects and require the military to fund mitigation projects, such as construction of a cultural center. If the document isn't signed, the military would no longer be required to make the same mitigation offers.

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