Chatfield offers dialogue with Guam on firing range construction pause
Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield, commander of the Joint Region Marianas, and CNMI Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero chat at the Pacific Island Environmental Conference which opened June 25, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency Guam. Photo by Mar-Vic Cagurangan
“The Navy takes its role to protect and preserve our natural and cultural resources very seriously,” Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield, commander of the Joint Region Marianas said in response to Guam senators’ call for a suspension of construction work at Northwest Field adjacent to Ritidian.
In an interview with reporters on Tuesday, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said she supports a construction pause only around the Serianthes nelsonii tree and on the sites of artifacts discovery at Northwest Field. She is not keen in calling for a pause across the entire projet site for the live-fire training range complex.
Senators last week adopted a resolution, noting that the pause is needed “in order to ensure the protection of the environment and historic and cultural resources of the northern coastline of Guam,” where the Navy is building a firing range.
“This resolution brings up two key issues as to why there might be a need to possibly pause this buildup. These concerns include the protection of historical sites, as well as the Serianthes Nelsonii,” Speaker Tina Muna Barnes said.
Chatfield said JRM is “in close communication with Guam’s elected officials.”
“It is my strongest desire to maintain a productive dialogue about the planning and accomplishments that inform and ensure our defense of the island and nation,” Chatfield said. “We are committed to improving the understanding of our compliance obligations as responsible stewards of the island’s environment and culture.”
See full story in the July 2019 print edition of the Pacific Island Times