Feds Return Land: Historic Hila’an Village Included
450 acres at South Finegayan under Guam control once again
Immediate Release: March 2, 2011
(Washington, D.C.) The U.S. government moments ago returned 450 acres of land–including historic Hila’an village and a potential bike bath to Lost Pond at South Finegayan.
The united response from Assistant Secretary of the Interior Tony Babauta, Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo and Governor Eddie Baza Calvo: “Si Yu’os Ma’ase.”
Governor Calvo went to Washington, D.C. to get the Navy’s promise to shrink the federal footprint in writing. As it turns out, the federal government is showing good faith by following through on promises previously made regarding the return of land.
“The return of 450 acres of excess federal land in South Finegayan transmits the remaining available property identified in Public Law 103-339, the Guam Excess Lands Act, to the Government of Guam.  I commend Assistant Secretary Tony Babauta for his leadership in ensuring that the requirements of the Guam Excess Lands Act were fulfilled.  I also commend the General Services Administration and Department of Defense for their coordination during this process.  These 450 acres are not part of the Navy’s commitment to have a net negative footprint on Guam as part of the military build-up.  I will work with Governor Eddie Calvo and the Legislature to ensure that the Navy’s commitments are fulfilled,” Congresswoman  Madeleine Bordallo said.
Governor Calvo signed the Memorandum of Agreement with the U.S. General Services Agency returning the land to the government of Guam. The signing occurred shortly before the start of the Interagency Group on Insular Areas meeting at the U.S. Department of the Interior.
“Team Guam sent a victory home today,” Governor Calvo said. “This is a step forward in the right direction. It also demonstrates the federal government’s commitment to honor longstanding and important agreements with Guamanians.  Our negotiations will continue until the promise of the shrinking of the federal footprint on Guam is met. The federal government recognizes that Team Guam is speaking with one voice. We know what we want and we have the courage to fight for our future. Our people fought for decades for this. The return of this sacred and historic property is a victory for the Guamanian people.”
Assistant Secretary Babauta has been working with Congresswoman Bordallo in Washington, D.C. to finalize the terms of the land return. The three leaders have agreed to work together to negotiate the return of more land.
“Today’s ceremony, which returned 450 acres of excess Federal property to the people of Guam, was a meaningful and symbolic act resulting from years of hard work.  Beginning with former Congressman Robert Underwood and later shepherded by Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo; the process of implementing the commitments made by the Guam Excess Lands Act, to return former Navy and Air Force property at no cost to Guam, has now been completed by the Obama Administration.  I commend the leadership and diligence of the General Services Administration, the Departments of the Navy and the Air Force, and all who have worked on returning excess Federal land to Guam over the past 17 years,” Assistant Secretary Babauta said.”

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