The Guam-based group Prutehi Litekyan: Save Ritidian has launched an online petition opposing any U.S. government plan to develop military live-fire training range sites on island.
"We oppose the establishment of any military firing range and align our efforts with other regional movements working to prevent environmental degradation and destruction on sacred and native lands," according to the group's statement on change.org.
The group aims to gather 500 signatures and, as of yesterday, was approaching 400 signatures on its online petition.
The group states it specifically protests the plan that would allow for the construction of the live-fire training range complex at Andersen Air Force Base.
That plan is related to supporting the relocation of almost 5,000 U.S. Marines who will be moving to Guam, some on a rotational basis and others regularly stationed here, as part of a U.S.-Japan agreement. The proposed live-fire training facility will be located near the proposed base for the Marines in Dededo's Finegayan area, according to the military's previously released plans.
The proposed live-fire training range complex for the Marine base will require a safety zone that would restrict public access, when the range is in use, to a portion of the Guam National Wildlife Refuge at Ritidian. The area is both a wildlife refuge and a popular destination for its white, sandy beaches.
The group states that the 2010 and 2015 Records of Decision, which gave the Marine base plan the go-signal, "underestimate or leave out the impacts of endangered species" in areas of the refuge that will be affected by the firing range activities on the base.
"We vehemently protest the detrimental impacts that the firing range would have on the ancient village of Litekyan, or Ritidian; Urunao, and Jinapsan and all of the species, endangered or otherwise, within the Guam Wildlife Refuge," according to the group.
The construction of the firing range complex, the group stated, "constitutes an environmental injustice to the indigenous people of Guam, the Chamorro people, and further disempowers native communities through militarization and contamination of native lands."
The group plans to submit its petition to members of the U.S. Congress, Guam legislative leaders, Gov. Eddie Calvo and the U.S. Wildlife Service.