Vice Speaker Urges Colleagues To Ask Difficult Questions About Climate Change

(Hagåtña – May 24, 2017) Lengthy discussion took place this afternoon, on Bill 79-34, which proposes to establish the Guam Council of Climate Change Preparedness and Resiliency. With the intent to further strengthen the bill, Vice Speaker Therese Terlaje introduced several amendments that would urge the Council to include as part of their duties, review of the impact of federal activities on the local environment. Specifically, as part of the Council’s mandate to “prioritize and focus policy recommendations on climate change resilience, ecosystem and biodiversity protection, waste management and pollution control and environmental governance,” Terlaje’s amendments proposed that the Climate Change Council review issues of military and federal activities including testing, detonations, and the removal of one thousand acres of limestone forest for the live-fire training range complex (LFTRC) at Northwest Field on Andersen Air Force Base.

While the amendments did not get the support to pass, Terlaje emphasized, “These are concrete environmental impacts that we can actually address and hopefully prevent today, including the removal of forests and direct destruction of coral reef, which promote sea level rise, coastal erosion and contamination of water resources. All of these are critical issues that are currently impacted by military and federal activities in Guam and the larger region.”

Terlaje asked her colleagues to respond to events that directly disturb the environment today and ultimately pose threats to the safety and strength of the island to survive the environmental hazards of global warming. She stated, “No one can afford to say this is someone else’s job. We have to be on the cutting edge. We cannot afford to be behind in the information as it becomes available. I am hoping that the Council’s recommendations are going to help the people of Guam immediately and not become just another report that is put on the shelf.”

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