Prutehi Litekyan urges Bordallo to take a stand

PROTEST: Franceska De Oro, center, Moneka De Oro, third from left, and Moneka Flores, at right, were among more than two dozen people involved in a wave at the ITC intersection in Tamuning in August. The wave was organized by the group Prutehi Litekyan: Save Ritidian, to oppose the construction of the live-fire training range at Northwest Field on Andersen Air Force Base. Post file photo

Members of Prutehi Litekyan: Save Ritidian are calling on Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo to use any leverage she can to demand more from the Department of Defense and protect sacred spaces from being used by the planned military buildup on Guam.

In a letter to Bordallo on Nov. 3, the members called on the congresswoman to join in a request to pause, if not halt, construction and preconstruction activities related to U.S. DOD’s proposed live-fire training range complex at Tailalo (Northwest Field) and Ritidian in an effort to protect natural and cultural resources.

“This live-fire training range complex poses a direct and imminent threat to Guam’s environment, cultural resources, and its people,” Sabina Perez wrote in the letter.

The firing range is part of the plan to relocate about 4,700 U.S. Marines and about 1,300 of their family members from Okinawa under an agreement the United States and Japan first signed in 2006 and revisited several years ago.

The action group opposes the establishment of any military firing range on island, expressing concerns that it will result in the destruction of sacred and native lands and prevent the return of ancestral lands to original landowners.

Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield, commander for Joint Region Marianas, said the live-fire training range will be constructed on the Department of Defense footprint and the range project does not acquire new land.

“It does not call for construction on Ritidian. It does not restrict access to privately owned land, and it does not threaten the (endangered) Serianthes nelsonii adult tree,” Chatfield told lawmakers during a hearing in October. “The range is an essential part of Marine training and so is a necessary component of the relocation.”

Guam State Historic Preservation Officer Lynda Bordallo Aguon determined the DoD archaeological survey was incomplete, inadequate and flawed and requested a supplemental review. Her request was answered with a recommendation that Aguon take her concerns to Joint Region Marianas because the start of construction is “imminent,” Post files state.

Perez and Prutehi Litekyan have asked Bordallo to advocate their position to her colleagues in Washington, D.C., and stand against the proposed live-fire training range complex.

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