ATTORNEYS for the Guam Preservation Trust and the National Trust for Historic Preservation say the Department of the Navy’s final environmental impact statement is legally flawed and that no Record of Decision should be issued until they receive a response to comments.
The law firm of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, LLP in San Francisco, California, on Wednesday, wrote to Kyle Fujimoto of Naval Facilities, Engineering Command, Pacific in Hawaii, that based on assurances from the White House Council on Environmental Quality which oversees the NEPA process nationwide, no ROD will be released until they get a response from their submitted comments.
The ROD is expected to be issued next month.
The firm stated that the FEIS on Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands “is a legally inadequate document, which, unless supplemented, will not support a Record of Decision.”
Attorneys for the two trusts specifically seek to address the Pagat area and the Navy’s identification as a “preferred alternative” site for a firing range.
The FEIS admits that selection of the Pagat site “would cause the cessation of the present activities on all the [Pagat recreation] resources mentioned because the Known Distance Range Complex is proposed in that location.”
The law firm said the FEIS’ discussion of alternatives is legally flawed for four reasons- essentially the Department of Defense did not even look at certain reasonable alternative sites impacts because it refused to consider land not under DoD jurisdiction.
Further, the Department of the Navy improperly dismissed from full comparison multiple reasonable alternative sites which it had identified but then declined to carry forward for study.
Third, DoN failed adequately to examine the two action sites, both at Pagat, which it did carry forward, most significantly ignoring the cultural resource values associated with Pagat and the surrounding forests and caves.
Lastly, the Navy failed to include in its alternatives comparison information contained in other portions of the 24,000-page FEIS.
The letter was signed by Nicholas C. Yost, legal counsel; Matthew Adams, legal counsel; Dr. Anthea Hartig, director, Western Office, National Trust for Historic Preservation; Elizabeth Merritt, deputy general counsel, NTHP; Brian Turner, regional attorney, Western Office, NTHP; and Joe Quinata, chief program office of the Guam Preservation Trust.