22 May 2014

Concerns for Guam environment when marines relocate

4:26 pm on 22 May 2014

A group launched in response to US military plans to expand their training activities in Guam says a bill before the US Congress would give the Navy authority over a national wildlife refuge.

Public access to the refuge at Ritidian has become a focal point in the debate over the plan to move thousands of marines from Japan to Guam by 2028.

Guam's delegate to the US Congress, Madeleine Bordallo, has revised a bill which gives the Navy authority to close a portion of the refuge as part of a safety zone for a live-fire training range complex nearby.

But a member of the "Our Islands Are Sacred movement" Victoria-Lola Leon Guerrero, says the military can still dictate public access to Ritidian.

"Access is really something that is never guaranteed because based on who's in command they can decide that you can't access these important sites anymore and there's really nothing that we can do about it so it's very disconcerting that this bill kind of allows them to decide access."

Victoria-Lola Leon Guerrero says while the US Navy would fund the relocation of the refuge if deemed necessary, it would undermine years of work that has gone into protecting endangered species in the area.