Good afternoon!
The following is Governor Calvo’s weekly column, which printed in the Pacific Daily News today:
Taking a stand
By Eddie Baza Calvo
The military buildup will not happen without a firing range on Guam.
It’s now five years later. The buildup has been scaled down and delayed. The billions in construction activity that would have brought thousands of job opportunities to our people has not yet started. The ultimate irony is that, instead of welcoming fast-paced economic growth from this buildup, we’re debating a minimum wage increase that arguably would be unnecessary if those billions from the buildup were being spent already.
But I digress. Back to the firing range. This is the point of no return. JGPO has advised congress and us that if the selection of the fire training range doesn’t happen now, the buildup will be delayed at least another year.  The preferred alternative is Northwest Field. It is the most logical of all the options. There are four points I want to raise here.
First, this is the only option that does not require the federal acquisition of any private or government of Guam land. Placing the firing range on Northwest Field is placing it all on existing federal land. The other options involve the taking of land.
Second, Congresswoman Bordallo’s H.R. 4402 does not circumvent the National Environmental Protection Act process. The military still will be required to follow NEPA, which means stringent observance to laws that protect our natural resources and the habitat of our terrestrial inhabitants.
Third, military protection of habitat and endangered species is more controlled than even Fish and Wildlife. Look at the current security conditions and compare the current refuge to Naval Magazine. It’s like comparing a shire to a fortress. Naval Magazine is a near-pristine expanse of flora and fauna not easily found throughout the rest of the island.
Finally, the fact that the Navy will not be acquiring any land brings us that much closer to the net negative promise in the Four Pillars agreement I negotiated with the Defense Department. I will work with the Navy regularly on the return of federal lands to the people of Guam.  This issue will bring the land formerly owned by our people in Ritidian to the forefront at the Pentagon–allowing us to have productive conversations with our military partners.   I will work with Congresswoman Bordallo to make all former ancestral landowners whole by whatever means we can.
The same old song and dance cannot apply here. We cannot allow misinformation or disinformation of just two or three senators to derail this buildup for all the people of Guam. Not again.
I understand the Congresswoman’s intent in introducing H.R. 4402. I’m grateful that she listened to our people and changed the language in this bill to be better for Guam. She did what a leader does. She looked at all the options, and she made a decision. And it’s not like she didn’t listen to anyone. She’s been listening to everyone’s opinions on the military buildup for the past six to seven years. I support H.R. 4402 as amended, because it will help move forward this already delayed process.
There aren’t many options on the table, and hard decisions need to be made.  That is what Congresswoman Bordallo is facing, and that is what she is doing.
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