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A wordle of the letter below.

Halt the Guam Build up plans, Rewrite the DEIS

 

TO:        President Barack Obama

Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ)

Cecilia Munoz, Director of White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

Michael Block, White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

*********

On Earth Day, April 22, 2010, we—the undersigned environmentalists, scholars, clergy and community leaders—call attention to the severe long-term impacts of preparations for war on the physical environment and, in turn, on human health.

 

We are extremely concerned about the environmental impacts of the proposed military expansion and build-up in the U.S. territory of Guam, noting the following points:

 

History of US Militarism in Guam:

 

  The people of Guam have lived under U.S. administration since 1898. Guam remains a U.S. colony, one of 16 non-self-governing territories listed by the United Nations, and represented by one non-voting delegate in the U.S. Congress. Local communities are highly constrained in their ability to influence the political process and were not consulted when the expansion plans were drawn up.

 

       For the indigenous Chamorro people, the long legacy of U.S. and Navy military control includes major land takings that started in the early 20th century, radiation exposure, poor health, and the restriction of traditional practices such as fishing.

 

    In 1954, the entire island was affected by toxic contamination following the “Bravo” hydrogen bomb test in the Marshall Islands.  In the 1970s, Guam’s Cocos Island lagoon was used to wash down ships contaminated with radiation en route from the Marshall Islands where they were part of an attempted clean up.  From 1968 to 1974, Guam had higher yearly rainfall measures of strontium 90 than Majuro (Marshall Islands). 

 

       As a corollary, the incidence of cancer in Guam is high. Cancer mortality rates from 1998 to 2002 showed that nasopharyngeal cancer was 48 times higher for Chamorros than among the general U.S. population. Cervical and uterine cancer mortality rates were 3 times higher.  Chamorro deaths from cancer of the mouth and pharynx, the lungs, stomach, prostate, liver, breast, and thyroid were all higher than overall U.S. rates.

 

       Andersen AFB is a continuing source of toxic contamination through dumpsites and possible leaching of chemicals into the underground aquifer beneath the base. In 2004, the Environmental Protection Agency found antimony, arsenic, barium, cadmium, lead, manganese, dioxin, deteriorated ordnance and explosives, and PCBs at two dumpsites just outside the base at Urunao. Other areas have been affected by Vietnam-war era use of the defoliants Agent Orange and Agent Purple, as planes used for aerial spraying were cleaned in Guam. While there are some clean-up efforts currently underway, it has not resulted in the cumulative clean-up of the island.  Rather multiple toxic sites continue to exist, thereby impacting the health status of the island's people. 

 

Current Build-up Plans:

 

        Currently, Guam’s military significance is being redefined as part of a major realignment and restructuring of U.S. forces and operations in the Asia-Pacific region.  Thirty miles long and eight miles wide, Guam houses the largest Air Force fuel supply in the United States and the largest supply of weapons in the Pacific. The military controls one-third of the island and intends for Guam to become a power projection hub.

 

       The proposed military build-up of Guam involves the transfer of 8,600 Marines currently based at Futenma Marine Air Station (Okinawa, Japan); the acquisition of 2,200 additional acres for military use, including additional live-fire ranges; and the dredging of 71 acres of vibrant coral reef in Apra Harbor to create berthing for a nuclear aircraft carrier for just 64 days a year.  Also planned: a missile defense system and expansion of Andersen AFB.  This proposal will increase the population of 173,456 by nearly 47% -- or nearly 80,000 people, including U.S. Marines, support staff, military contractors, family members, and construction workers.

 

Inadequacies and Objections to the Current Plan:

 

       The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has given its worst rating to the DOD Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) regarding the proposed build-up. The EPA emphasizes the lack of a specific plan to address the wastewater treatment and water supply needs of the increased population, which will overstretch the already inadequate infrastructure and may result in "significant adverse public health impacts." Low water pressure could lead to increased exposure to water borne disease from sewage stormwater infiltration into drinking water.  Also, it could result in saltwater intrusion into Guam's aquifer. The planned expansion will result in an increase in spills of raw sewage, exposing people to raw sewage in their drinking water supply, through the shellfish they eat, and during ocean recreation. Moreover, the EPA report argues that the build-up "will result in unacceptable impacts to 71 acres of high quality coral reef ecosystem in Apra harbor" and concludes that, "These impacts are of sufficient magnitude that EPA believes the action should not proceed as proposed."

 

       Despite its inordinate length (9 volumes totaling 11,000 pages), the DEIS is vague in places, contains significant contradictions, and scarcely addresses social and cultural impacts to the island. 

       Even though the public comment period was far too short—a mere 90 days to absorb the implications of the 11,000 page report—there has been an outpouring of pubic testimony, concern, and opposition to the build up expressed at town hall meetings, public hearings, community events, on the internet, and in media reports.   

  •   Many public comments on the DEIS focused on unequal amenities and opportunities inside and outside the military fencelines.  As proposed, the build-up plan will exacerbate the reality of two Guams: one inside and one outside the bases.
  • Several Guam Senators, including Speaker Judith Won Pat, have questioned the build-up.
  •   Congressional Representative Bordallo and Governor Felix Camacho have greatly moderated their earlier support after seeing the detailed proposals and hearing the strength of community concern.

 

       The planned military expansion has serious implications for the Chamorro people’s right to self-determination as military-related personnel could outnumber the Chamorro population, who currently make up 37% of the total. Chamorro leaders have taken this issue to the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization and urged this committee to send representatives to Guam to conduct an assessment of the current situation on the island’s people.

   

 

We urge you to:

 1) Halt of the current plans for the build up;

 

2) before the DOD goes forward, require a rewrite of the inadequate and insufficient Draft Environmental Impact Statement that addresses socioeconomic and cultural impacts on local communities including violence against women, clearly outlined mitigation of environmental impacts and greenhouse gases, and impacts to Chamorro self-determination.  The process of writing the DEIS should be transparent and include participation of community and environmental watchdog groups.

3) Require the DOD to clean up existing contamination and toxic sites, on and off-base, caused by military operations on Guam, before any base expansion projects are considered;

  

The White House press statement, issued mid-March 2010, emphasizing the administration’s commitment to balancing the military’s needs with local concerns, promoting renewable energy, and reducing fuel and energy costs on the island does not address people’s core concerns. This goal of “One Guam, Green Guam,” cannot be achieved without addressing the concerns raised about the build-up proposal, existing military contamination, and the US obligation to fulfill the right of Chamorro self-determination.

 

We look forward to working with you on these matters.

 

Sincerely,

 

Environmental Experts:

 

Dr. Paul R. Bloom, University of Minnesota, Department of Soil, Water and Climate.

Dr. Jorge Emmanuel, Environmental & Engineering Research Group, President and author of The Forbidden Book: The Philippine American War in Political Cartoons.

Peter Galvin, Center for Biological Diversity, Conservation Director.


Sandee Hufana, Entrix INC, Environmental and Natural Resources Management Consultant Firm, biologist.

John Lindsay-Poland, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Latin America Program Director and author of Emperors in the Jungle: The Hidden History of the US in Panama.

Dr. Martha Matsuoka, Occidental College, Los Angeles, Urban and Environmental Policy Institute.

Dr. Diana Pei Wu, Amherst College, Massachusetts, Copeland Fellow of Environmental Studies.

 Dr. Dborah Berman Santana, Mills College, Oakland, author of Kicking off the Bootstraps: Environment, Development and Community Power in Puerto Rico.

Academics and Researchers:

Dr. Ronni Alexander, Kobe Univesity, Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies, author of  Putting the Earth First: Alternatives to Nuclear Security in Pacific Island States.

Dr. Michael Lujan Bevacqua, University of Guam and Famoksaiyan.

Ellen-Rae Cachola, Doctoral Student, UCLA Information Studies Department.

Dr. Keith L. Camacho, University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Asian American Studies.

Michael Sepidoza Campos, Doctoral Candidate, Guam Resident.

Dr. Piya Chatterjee, University of California at Riverside, Department of Women's Studies.


Dr. Hope A. Cristobal, Famoksaiyan, psychologist.

Dr. Vicente M. Diaz, University of Michigan, Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies, Program in American Culture, Associate Professor and Director. 

Dr. Cynthia Enloe, Clark University, author of Globalization and Militarism: Feminists Make the Link; and Maneuvers: The International Politics of Militarizing Women's Lives.

John Feffer, Foreign Policy In Focus, co-director and author of North Korea, South Korea: U.S. Policy at a Time of Crisis.

Dr. Kathy E. Ferguson, University of Hawai'i, Department of Political Science and Women's Studies Program.

Dr. Eleazar Fernandez, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, Minnesota, Professor of Constructive Theology.


Dr. Joseph Gerson, American Friends Service Committee New England, Director and author of With Hiroshima Eyes and  The Sun Never Sets:  Confronting the Network of Foreign US Military Bases Empire and the Bomb

Dr. Zoltn Grossman, Evergreen State College, Oregon, Department of Geography and Native American & World Indigenous Peoples Studies.

Dr. Gary Heathcote, formerly of the University of Guam, Anthropology Department and founder of the Anthropology Resource and Research Center.

Ariko S. Ikehara, Doctoral Student, University of California at Berkeley, Ethnic Studies Department.

Dr. Chalmers Johnson, Professor Emeritus of the University of California at San Diego and author of the Blowback, The Sorrows of Empire, and Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic.

Dr. Gwyn Kirk, University of Oregon, Department of Women’s Studies.

Dr. Catherine Lutz, Brown University, Professor of Anthropology and International
Studies, Chair, Department of Anthropology, Research Professor, Watson Institute for International Studies, Author of The Bases for Empire, 2009.

Dr Hannah Middleton, University of Sydney, Sydney Peace Foundation, Executive Officer.

Dr. Lauren Muller, City College of San Francisco, Interdisciplinary Studies, Chair.

Dr. Lisa Natividad, University of Guam, School of Social Work.

Fuifuilupe Niumeitolu, Doctoral Student, UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies Department, co-founder, One Love Oceania.

Dr. Margo Okazawa-Rey, San Francisco State University,  Professor Emerita and US/Canada Regional Coordinator of Peace Women Across the Globe.

Dr. David Ga'oupa Palaiata, City College of San Francisco, Interdisciplinary and Pacific Island Studies.

Dr. Linda Pershing, California State University San Marcos, Women’s Studies Department.

Dr. Kathryn Poethig, California State University at Monterey Bay, Professor of Global Studies.

Dr. Judith Raiskin, University of Oregon, Women’s and Gender Studies.

Dr. Mark Selden, Cornell University, Senior Research Associate and Coordinator of the The Asia-Pacific Journal, author of The Atomic Bomb: Voices From Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Dr. Dianne M. Strong, Ed.D. University of Guam.

 

Dr. David Vine, American University, Department of Anthropology, author of Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia.

Dr. Kathleen S. Yep, Claremont Colleges, Intercollegiate Department of Asian American Studies.

Community Leaders:  

Alpha Gracias Allanigui, Women's Education, Development, Productivity & Research Organization, Philippines.

Christine Ahn, Korea Policy Institute, Los Angeles.

Il Soon Ahn, Steering Committee, SAFE-Korea, Korea.

Sophia Cheng, Southeast Asian Community Alliance, Los Angeles.  

Young Hee Cho, Women Making Peace, Korea.

EunYoung Choi, General Secretary, Women Making Peace, Korea.

Hyun Jin Choi, Solidarity for Peace and Human Rights, Korea.

JungMin Choi, Solidarity for Peace and Human Rights, Korea.

Hope A. Cristobal, Former Senator of the Guam Legislature.

Phyllis Cunningham, EdD, Granny Peace Brigade.

Dr. Jose Q. Cruz, President, Lina’la Para I Familia- Life for the Family, Guam.

Denis Doherty, National Coordinator, Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition.

Sabina Flores Perez, Famoksaiyan, Guahan.

Bruce K. Gagnon, Coordinator, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.
Kim Hughes, Co-coordinator Peace Not War Japan.

Jennifer Keystone, Co-Founder, World Bridges.

Dongshim Kim, Steering Committee, SAFE-Korea, Korea.

Elli Kim, Director, Korea Women's Peace Research Center, Korea.
TaeJung Kim, Durebang(My Sister's Place), Korea.

Youkyong Ko, Steering Committee, SAFE-Korea, Korea.

Kevin Martin, Executive Director, Peace Action.

Mei Nakano, Japanese American Community Leader and author of Japanese American Women: Three Generations; and Curriculum Guide:The Japanese American Wartime Experience.

Satoko Norimatsu, Director, Peace Philosophy Centre, Vancouver.

Koohan Paik, author and filmmaker of the The Superferry Chronicles.

Su Mee Park, Women's Shelter of Durebang (My Sister's Place), Korea.

Ovita Rebanio Perez, BSW, President, National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Guam Chapter.

Debbie Quinata,  Maga'haga, Nasion Chamoru, Woman Chief of Chamoru Nation.

Mara I. Reinat-Pumarejo, Il, Inc./Organizers for Consciousness-in Action, Puerto Rico.

Joe Salas, President, United Chamorros of America.

Dr. Pat Salomon, Granny Peace Brigade.

Aileen Suzara, Board Chair, Filipino/American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity.

Alexis Q. Silverio, Board President, GUAHAN Project, Guam.

Suzuyo Takazato, C-Chair, Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence, Okinawa, Japan.

Vanessa Warheit, filmmaker of  PBS documentary, "The Insular Empire: America in the Marianas."

Cora Weiss, President, Hague Appeal for Peace; UN representative, International Peace Bureau.

Rose Welsch, Co-Representative, US for OKINAWA Peace Action Network, Japan.

Ann Wright, Retired US Army Reserve Colonel and former US diplomat, Veterans for Peace.

Bok Nim Yu, Director, Durebang (My sister's Place), Korea.

Young Nim Yu, Director, DasiHamKke Center, Korea.

Religious Leaders:

Rev. Ruth Ocera Cortez, retired clergy, United Methodist Church, California.

Rev. Deborah Lee, United Church of Christ, California.

Rev. Phil Lawson, civil rights leader and retired clergy of the United Methodist Church.

Rev. Emily Lin, Associate Pastor, Chinese Community United Methodist Church, Oakland, California.

Rev. Nobuko Miyake-Stoner, Senior Minister, Harris United Methodist Church, Hawai’i.

Dave Robinson, Executive Director, Pax Christi USA.

Bishop Roy I. Sano, retired Bishop of the United Methodist Church.

Rev. Michael Yoshii, Buena Vista United Methodist Church, Alameda, California.

Organizations:

Asia Pacific Environmental Network, California.

Famoksaiyan, California.

Movement Generation Justice and Ecology Project, California.

One Love Oceania (OLO), California.

Pax Christi USA, national Catholic Peace Movement.

Peace Action, national Peace Organization.

Prison Activist Resource Center, California.

Sonoma County Peace Crane Project, California.

United for Peace and Justice - Bay Area, California.

Women for Genuine Security, California.

April 2010 Newsletter
Letter to Senator Barbara Boxer
Halt the Guam Build up plans, Rewrite the DEIS

Statement from Okinawa

Words of Reflection

Human Trafficking, Prostitution & Militarisms: Framing a discourse of memory, colonization, and decolonial possibilities

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