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12 23Sun04202014

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We Are Guåhan launches new website on firing ranges

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THE We Are Guåhan organization has launched a new website to encourage participation in the upcoming scoping meetings, scoping period and Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, or SEIS, on the proposed Marines firing range.

“In addition to cultural impacts, an increase in traffic, safety concerns and an increase in noise, our community needs to be aware that every single option that the Department of Defense has identified requires the acquisition of more land,” said We Are Guåhan member Cara Flores-Mays.

The organization’s initiative includes the launch of a website dedicated to information related to the SEIS, such as maps of the five alternatives at Pågat and Fena that DOD is considering for the site of its firing range complex.

Despite being required by law to consider all “reasonable alternatives,” We Are Guåhan said DOD has eliminated every single site for firing ranges except for two: Pågat and Fena, aka “Naval Magazine.”

“DOD is still considering taking Pågat and building a firing range complex there,” continued Flores-Mays. “DOD has just added Fena and the surrounding area as another option.”  

We Are Guåhan is encouraging people to sign its petition opposing the acquisition of any additional land on Guam. “DOD’s current footprint is bigger than Umatac, Merizo, Inarajan and Talofofo combined,” Flores-Mays said. “Whether it is 100 acres or 2,000 acres, DOD does not need any more land.”

Points

The organization has listed five points that residents should consider with regard to the scoping meetings.

The first is whether DOD considered all reasonable alternatives for the location of the firing range.

The next consideration is the safety factor of the ranges. We Are Guåhan pointed out that one of the machine guns that will be used in the firing range, an M2, has a maximum range of about 4.22 miles, which could affect nearby homes, frequently travelled roads, and hiking trails.

The third area of concern is the vast array of cultural sites and artifacts at Fena and Pågat village. The area in Fena still has several latte stones that are still standing.

The fourth consideration is the amount of land DOD wants to get, which is between to 100 to more than 2,000 acres.

And the final consideration is the noise from the firing range.

On Saturday, during the first scoping meeting at the University of Guam Field House, Leevin Camacho, spokesman for We Are Guåhan, said that the feds haven’t really alleviated any of their concerns.

“These are things we hope to engage the community about,” he said. He also said there is a butterfly species that is commonly seen at Pågat and there are carabao herds that roam at Fena.

“Those are exactly the kind of things that the community needs to identify now and DOD has a requirement to look at those and address them when it releases its draft EIS,” he said.

Meanwhile, today is the last day for residents to attend the scoping meetings, which will be held at the Yigo Gymnasium between 5 and 9 p.m. The meeting is free of charge and everyone is encouraged to attend. For more information about the website, click here.

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