- Written by Clynt Ridgell
"This is a victory and we need to use this word because that is what has happened today and this week with the filing of the Department of Defenses declaration saying that they agree that what they did before with the EIS was not an adequate review of where to put the firing ranges,” said We Are Guahan's Leevin Camacho. We Are Guahan, The National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Guam Preservation Trust are all celebrating what they are calling a victory in their lawsuit against the U.S. Navy for their plans to build a firing range complex at the ancient village of Pagat. "It's been a journey a very victorious journey we'd like to thank the people of Guam really for their support we'd like to thank the organizations that became our allies to forge and bring this forward we'd like to thank our legal team SNR Denton headed by Nick Yost and Matt Adams and they have contributed and donated over a million dollars worth of legal practices to help us get to where we're at right now,” said Guam Preservation Trust's Joe Quinata.
And where they're at right now is a place where the Navy, as attorney Nick Yost puts it, has given them exactly what they were asking for, a re-evaluation of their selection of Pagat as the site for a firing range complex. Yost says the whole purpose of the suit was to have the Navy conduct a new supplemental EIS for the firing range. "What we have asked for has been won and we look forward to working with you and with the defense department to honestly comply with the National Environmental Policy Act to honestly look at a reasonable alternative to the marines having their firing ranges inside of Pagat Village,” said Yost.
The attorney explains that they fully hope and expect Hawaii district court judge Leslie Kobayashi will throw out the Navy's previous motion to dismiss and instead grant their motion for a voluntary remand which would then allow the Navy to go back and restart the NEPA process through a new supplemental EIS. "The mechanics are a little uncertain at this point but she would then remand it we trust that she would deny the motion to dismiss therefore she would keep jurisdiction,” said Yost.
Yost says that with We Are Guahan, the Guam Preservation Trust, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, his law firm of SNR Denton, and the district court all keeping a watchful eye on the process they are certain that this time around the Navy will properly follow the NEPA process and conduct an adequate EIS resulting in the selection of a proper site for a firing range complex.