FOR IMMEDIATE NEWS RELEASE (April 28, 2017 – Hagåtña) – Twelve senators have committed to stopping the detonations in Guam’s waters. Resolution 103-34 (LS) was introduced yesterday afternoon by Senators Therese M. Terlaje, Frank B. Aguon, Jr., Thomas C. Ada, Telena C. Nelson, Joe San Agustin, Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr., Benjamin J.F. Cruz, Régine Biscoe Lee, Fernando Esteves, William M. Castro, Tommy Morrison and Louise B. Muña, urging the Department of Defense (DoD) to cease the use of Guam’s land and waters as a training ground for the detonation of explosives.

Introduction of Resolution No. 103-34 was prompted by the recent Coast Guard CFR publication that created a safety zone around the planned DoD April detonations and indicated that no public comment would be accepted due to time constraints. Shortly after news of the April detonations was released by media, the Navy indicated four separate 1.25 lbs explosives will be detonated on May 18, 2017 and no detonation training and testing would be conducted in April. The May detonations are scheduled as part of the Navy’s training and testing activities that fall under the defined Mariana Islands Training and Testing (MITT) “Study Area.”

“The proposed detonations at Outer Apra Harbor and Piti are but just a few that may be lined up by the Navy. Whether big or small, the people of Guam continue to deal with the adverse environmental and social impacts of previous detonation of explosives in Guam’s land and waters.  Until those are adequately resolved, we urge that further DoD detonation of explosives be ceased,” Terlaje stated.

In July 2015, the Navy signed a Record of Decision (ROD) for the MITT Final Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (EIS/OEIS), which defined the MITT Study Area as sea-based ranges and land-based areas that allow the Navy to conduct training and testing activities that include the use of active sonar and explosives.  The MITT Study Area encompasses the entire ocean area under the Mariana Islands Range Complex (MIRC) and expands the range of the DoD training area to 984,469 square nautical miles – larger than the states of Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Montana and New Mexico combined.  Following the issuance of the ROD, a MITT Letter of Authorization was signed permitting the Navy to conduct numerous detonations over a five-year period.

Further, Terlaje stated, “Through this type of permitting the Navy may conduct an average of nearly 12,580 detonations of various magnitudes per year for 5 years, and 81,962 takings of 26 different marine mammal species per year for 5 years.  Even if they say these underwater explosions are minor, cumulatively and over time this is just too much of a burden on our land and our waters.”

To read the resolution, go to:

Vice Speaker Terlaje states that Resolutions support Congressional action to seek environmental justice for veterans and residents of Guam.

FOR IMMEDIATE NEWS RELEASE (April 26, 2017 – Hagåtña) – Vice Speaker Therese M. Terlaje (D-Yona) urged the Guam Legislature during the April Legislative Session today to support three resolutions she introduced addressing the environmental and health impacts of Agent Orange, radiation exposure, and nuclear testing clean-up on veterans and the people of Guam. Resolution Nos. 25-34, 39-34 and 40-34 were moved to the third reading file and will be voted on by the Legislature on Thursday.

“There is no doubt that the people of Guam have been exposed to these various harmful chemicals and toxins like Agent Orange and iodizing radiation as a result of spraying or being in close proximity to nuclear testing,” stated Vice Speaker Terlaje. “It has been many years now that we have been seeking justice and assistance for those who have suffered from some of the diseases related to these past events.  It is time that the United States Congress takes action on the legislation in the Senate and House of Representatives to right these wrongs.”

Resolution No. 25-34 (COR), relative to expressing support for H.R. 809, the Fighting for Orange-Stricken Territories in Eastern Regions (FOSTER) Act, introduced by the Honorable Congressman Dennis Ross, R-Florida, provides presumptive Agent Orange exposure status to Vietnam War-era veterans who served in Guam, and show symptoms of medical conditions currently associated with exposure to Agent Orange in order to receive U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs benefits; and to seeking justice for veterans and civilians exposed to Agent Orange on Guam.

“We know of cases where the Department of Veteran Affairs has acknowledged diseases resulting from the exposure to Agent Orange on Guam and service members have said that they were forced to spray Agent Orange in military facilities on Guam,” stated Vice Speaker Terlaje. “I want to thank Congressman Dennis Ross for introducing this bill in Congress on behalf of the veterans who served in Guam, and truly appreciate the bipartisan effort to fight for the people of Guam from the distance in Washington, DC.”

Resolution No. 39-34 (COR), petitions the U.S. Congress to pass legislation that would compensate those suffering from cancer and health issues due to radiation exposure from nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific. Senate Bill 197 and H.R. 2049 would amend the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act of 1990 (RECA) to expand the list of eligible downwind areas to include Guam for the nuclear weapons testing conducted by the U.S. government in the Marshall Islands from 1945 through 1962. The passage of these congressional bills would allow those who resided in Guam between 1945 and 1962 and who suffered from cancer or other listed radiation-related illness, to apply for compensation up to $150,000 from the remaining funds in the RECA Trust Fund.

“Guam has been united in this effort for many, many the years through the leadership of the Pacific Association of Radiation Survivors (PARS), Mr. Robert N. Celestial, the late Dr. Chris Perez, former Speakers Ben Pangelinan, Mark Forbes, Judith Won Pat and many others.  Justice is long overdue,” stated Vice Speaker Terlaje.

Resolution No. 40-34 (COR) advocates for the inclusion of veterans who participated in the cleanup of Enewetak Atoll as radiation-exposed Veterans to be properly compensated. Passage of H.R. 632 and S. 283, both titled the Mark Takai Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act, would extend medical care and pay compensation benefits to the cleanup veterans of Enewetak Atoll and their dependents. The congressional bills mandate that these radiation-exposed cleanup veterans would be entitled to the presumption that a veteran’s disease was caused by radiation if the veteran was involved in the cleanup and developed one of the presumptive diseases.

“There are veterans on Guam still alive who have asked for our assistance, and some who passed already, who were part of over 4,000 soldiers who participated in the cleanup of U.S. nuclear test sites without being told of the danger they were in from exposure to radiation. This resolution and the bills in Congress seek justice in the form of medical care and compensation for those veterans and their dependents who suffer from cancer and other medical conditions,” said Vice Speaker Terlaje.

“It is important that our voices are heard in Congress through these Resolutions and that the veterans who served and the residents in Guam who have endured some of these environmental and health impacts are properly supported and recognized by the U.S. government.”




For more information, please call the Office of Vice Speaker Therese M. Terlaje at (671) 472-3586.

Vice Speaker Terlaje raises concerns at Programmatic Agreement Meeting and states ancient villages at Ritidian/Litekyan should not be disturbed.

FOR IMMEDIATE NEWS RELEASE (April 27, 2017 – Hagåtña) – During today’s annual Programmatic Agreement meeting Vice Speaker Therese Terlaje (D-Yona) raised several concerns.  One of the concerns raised by Vice Speaker Terlaje was that the terms of the Programmatic Agreement had not been fully complied with.  Specifically, Terlaje asked for an opinion from the representative from the Advisory Council on Historic Property (ACHP) as to whether DoD had complied in good faith with mitigation of the cumulative effects of the military buildup on cultural and historic properties pursuant to Section VII.C.4.b . ACHP requested that the USN submit a white paper discussing its efforts to comply with the mitigation mandated in Section VII. C. 4. b, which provides :

“b. In addition to the Guam Cultural Repository facility addressed above, DoD will also advocate to other Federal agencies to fund a complete museum complex on Guam to house and display Guam’s unique cultural artifacts for the public’s benefit”.

The museum complex is a mitigation requirement separate from and in addition to the 20,000 square foot Guam Cultural Repository described in Section Vii.C.4.a., which was promised to be funded in 2012 but has only recently been fully authorized in the amount of $12M. DoD reported that the repository plans are not finalized and it is unknown whether the amount will be sufficient given the current labor shortage and inflation since 2012.

DoD also reported that historic properties in Finegayan and Northwest Field that may have been eligible for the National Register would be disturbed by military activity and that the PA authorized them to mitigate by data recovery instead of avoidance.

Vice Speaker Terlaje also discussed with the ACHP that the firing ranges at Northwest Field were not specifically contemplated in the PA and overlay very significant historical properties, including an ancient village at Ritidian/Litekyan that should not be disturbed.




For more information, please call the Office of Vice Speaker Therese M. Terlaje at (671) 472-3586.