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: http://senatorterlaje.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Res.-No.-103-34-LS.pdf