Thursday, April 17, 2014

Navy Files Motion in Support of Dismissal of Pagat Lawsuit; Insists No Decision Made on Location of Firing Range

Guam News - Guam News

Guam - The Navy Friday filed a reply in Honolulu District Court in support of its motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed against its proposed plans to locate a firing range complex in the Pagat area.

In its reply, the Navy is adamant that no final decision has been made. "The record is clear on the central issue" states the reply at the outset, " ... the Department of the Navy has not made a decision - any decision, much less one reflecting final agency action - on the location of the proposed live-fire training range complex."

READ the Navy's Reply in Support of Motion to Dismiss

And it goes on to say that "Contrary to the plaintiffs’ insistent but erroneous contention, the Navy has not selected a location for the range complex. Nor will the Navy make any decision as to the location until the SEIS is complete."

The dismissal motion was filed in the lawsuit brought against the Navy by the National Historic Trust, the Guam Historic Trust, "We Are Guahan", and others. The lawsuit seeks to stop DoD from putting a firing range complex in the Pagat area. They argue that the Navy has not adequately evaluated or considered all of the alternative sites that could have been used as a firing range complex, which is required by the National Environmental Policy Act [NEPA].

On November 15th, JGPO Director Joseph Ludivichi filed notice with the Federal Court declaring that the Department of the Navy has completed an internal review process of  the proposed firing range complex in the Pagat area and  "the Navy has determined that additional analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) is appropriate.”

READ JGPO Director Ludivichi's declaration

In a news conference, after Ludivichi filed notice that a supplemental EIS would be conducted, Trust Attorney Nick Yost called it a victory for the people of Guam and a victory for the rule of law. He said the whole purpose of the suit was to have the Navy conduct a new supplemental EIS for the firing range. Now they fully 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.

If the Judge agrees to order the Supplemental EIS as requested by the Navy, that SEIS would not begin until early 2012 and it is estimated that it would take a minimum of two years to complete.