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Guam preservation groups suing military to protect a Chamorro village

By Nelson Daranciang

LAST UPDATED: 7:24 a.m. HST, Nov 18, 2010

The Guam Preservation Trust, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and individual residents of Guam are suing the U.S. military to protect a Chamorro village from the $10.3 billion military buildup on the island.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court yesterday, names as defendants the Naval Facilities Engineering Command in the Pacific, the Joint Guam Program Office and their officers, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

The plaintiffs say in their lawsuit that the buildup of military facilities to accommodate the move of 8,600 U.S. service members from Okinawa will force the relocation of Pagat village, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

They say the buildup plans include putting a firing range complex at Pagat and in the areas surrounding the village. They are seeking an injunction to protect the village.

The Joint Guam Program Office is the U.S. military's office in charge of the buildup.

Naval Facilities Engineering Command was responsible for receiving public and agency comments on the buildups environmental impact statement.

The Joint Guam Program Office referred inquiries to the U.S. Department of Justice.

A justice official said the department declines comment because it has not seen the lawsuit.

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