The federal government has given powerful reasons to worry to the 180,000 residents of Guam, a balmy tropical island whose military importance derives from its location as by far the closest U.S. territory to China and North Korea.Slow roll. So, who wins this fight?
The Environmental Protection Agency said last month that the military buildup, as described in Pentagon documents, could trigger island-wide water shortages that would "fall disproportionately on a low income medically underserved population." It also said the buildup would overload sewage-treatment systems in a way that "may result in significant adverse public health impacts."
A report by the Government Accountability Office last year came to similar conclusions, saying the buildup would "substantially" tax Guam's infrastructure.
"We're trying to identify and understand the current conditions on Guam and the potential impact of the relocation," said Nancy Sutley, head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, who on Tuesday will lead a delegation to the island. "There's no question that the environmental conditions on Guam are not ideal."Hey look - we can even include this in the "Take a Powder" label,
Besides a new Marine base and airfield, the buildup includes port dredging for a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, a project that would cause what the EPA describes as an "unacceptable" impact on 71 acres of a vibrant coral reef. The military, which owns 27 percent of the island, also wants to build a Marine firing range on land that includes one of the last undeveloped beachfront forests on Guam.
The Marine Corps is sensing a populist backlash on Guam, which is three times the size of the District of Columbia and more than 6,000 miles west of Los Angeles.
"I see a rising level of concern about how we are going to manage this," Lt. Gen. Keith J. Stalder, the Hawaii-based commander of Marine forces in the Pacific, said in a telephone interview. "I think it is becoming clearer every day that they need outside assistance."
Many residents have hoped that Obama -- a fellow Pacific islander, who was born in Hawaii and lived in Indonesia -- might understand their anxieties and unlock federal resources. The White House said Obama will visit Guam when his Asia trip is rescheduled, perhaps in June.I don't care who you are - that thar' is funny. And then this:
"I just want to remind President Obama that his story is our story," said Victoria-Lola Leon Guerrero, an English instructor at the University of Guam and a leader of a group opposing the buildup. She said her students read Obama's autobiography, "Dreams From My Father," focusing on a coming-of-age passage from his years in Hawaii, in which he describes his realization that he was "utterly alone."
"That's how we feel here," she said. "We feel like we are not being listened to, like we are not being respected."
...a third of the population receives food stamps and about 25 percent lives below the U.S. poverty level --Yep - you would do a lot better without a single US dollar.
"This is old-school colonialism all over again," said LisaLinda Natividad, an assistant professor of social work at the University of Guam and an activist opposing the buildup. "It boils down to our political status -- we are occupied territory."Silly Marxist - LisaLinda, not that other dude on page 101 of his book.
I don't hold anything against the citizens of Guam. They are great Americans - and too much is too much. I very much sympathize with them. I also feel sorry for the Sailors, Marines, and Airmen stationed or due to be stationed there. It is a hard place to be stationed now - squeeze that many Marines in there .... well ... there are better places to put Marines.
Now, back to the BRAC discussion ..... and LBG - could you please remind everyone again what Guam stands for in the Fleet?