Pacific News Center
Friday, 06 August 2010 17:47
Guam - The Department of Defense took a look at several areas on base for use as a firing range.
In the end however they have selected an area along the back-road to Andersen which includes Pagat and the Sasayan valley. The Guam Preservation Trust has hooked up with a national law firm to consider filing a suit against the Department of Defense for selecting Pagat when there are other areas on base that they could have used.
Leevin Camacho is a member of the We Are Guahan coalition. He is also an attorney who works at a local law firm. He has spent a lot of time pouring over the final EIS and has paid special attention to DOD's selection of Pagat as a firing range. "Well one of the things we've found is that it's not really one firing range the firing range that's supposed to be near Pagat consists of five different ranges there's a rifle range, a pistol range, machine gun slash grenade launcher range, non-standard small fire arm range, and I believe a mortar range so they're gonna put five ranges up there which is why they need so much property," said Camacho.
In fact the range is actually referred to as a range complex in the FEIS because it will consist of five firing ranges in one big complex. But why not just put it on base? DOD currently has firing ranges at Orote point, the NCTMS area and even Tarague beach. "They actually admit that they can put four of the five ranges at three places within DOD properties Tarague being one of them, I believe, Orote point being one of them," said Camacho adding, "DOD did first look at staying within it's footprint and rather than break up the five ranges or see whether or not they could accommodate all five at different spots they said no we have to put all these together so the question we have again is why didn't they split up the ranges?"
One of the reasons given by DOD in the FEIS is that splitting up the ranges would cause extra traffic. But the FEIS also admits that four of the ranges can be put on Andersen at Tarague beach and the remaining one could be put at the Northwest Field. "If they were to build four ranges at Tarague and one of the ranges at the Northwest Field that's a straight shot from NCS up to Andersen and then again those are relatively close to one another so they can transport troops back and forth without a whole lot of traffic and not any traffic on public roads," explained Camacho.
So what other reasons did DOD give then for selecting Pagat? Well according to volume 2 page 62 of the FEIS the sites along the west coast of Guam "were eliminated following the advice of the office of the Governor."
Last week Speaker Judi Wonpat sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Defense asking for any correspondence or documents that show the Office of the Governor advising DOD to eliminate the potential firing range sites along the west coast.
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