Sen. Therese Terlaje is asking Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero to call on the military for “a pause to be placed on the clearing of vegetation and construction” on Northwest Field at Andersen Air Force Base. Terlaje's call followed the discovery of least three more historic artifact sites where construction of the Live Fire Training Range Complex is underway.
The senator stated Friday she wants to give Guam's state historic preservation officer, Lynda Aguon, more time “to consider the importance of the newly discovered historic artifacts.”
Terlaje cites a report from the Marine Corps Activity Guam office, which states that one of the three sites has at least 400 pieces of pottery and recommends further survey work on the artifacts found in another 7-acre area.
The three properties contain potential earth ovens, Latte Period ceramic scatters and shell artifacts, according to the report, Terlaje stated.
The senator added, “more surveying is necessary to ascertain if the area was an ancient village.”
Marine Corps Activity Guam was preparing a response to Terlaje’s press release.
The senator’s Friday news release follows her introduction Thursday of Bill No. 163-35.
The measure would authorize the attorney general of Guam to hire private counsel to sue anyone who harms or threatens to harm Guam’s environment, or the island’s historic and cultural properties, including the U.S. military.
“Often, cases related to historic preservation or environmental degradation or contamination can require additional legal expertise or technical assistance,” Terlaje said.
She explained that then-Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson was “very successful in leveraging a contingency fee agreement” in the still ongoing litigation filed by GovGuam against the Navy for the cost of closing Ordot dump and opening the Layon Landfill.
Terlaje said she hopes Attorney General Leevin Camacho can use a similar mechanism.