We Are Guahan has posted a great ten-point summary of the EPA's findings on their website. The problems identified by the EPA include:
- contaminated drinking water
- "unacceptable," island-wide water shortages
- endangerment of Guam's aquifer
- "unprecedented" destruction of Guam's coral reefs
- inadequate protection of endangered wetlands
- lack of commitment to energy efficiency, renewable energy, and cleaner fuels
- over eight TONS of hazardous waste generated
- lack of mitigation to likely PCP contamination
- no discussion of treatment of radioactive waste
- significant noise impacts
- invasive species introduction
The current focus on environmental issues calls to mind a conversation I had, several years ago, with the late Carlos Taitano. He said that he was frustrated when the two-legged Guam Rail raised so much concern among environmentalists, who seemed to have no concern for the local population. "What about the two-legged Chamorro?" he asked.
Admittedly, it's frustrating when environmental concerns trump the concerns of a people, culture, and language. However, in the case of the Guam buildup, I think that environmental concerns may dovetail nicely with the needs of the local population – whose drinking water, air quality, and health are being so overwhelmingly threatened by the DoD's proposal. Since the US military wouldn't dream of trying to impose this kind of a project on mainland Americans, it's my hope as well that the proposed buildup will bring Guam's colonial status out into the light of day. Because sunshine is the best – and the most environmentally friendly – antiseptic .
(Photos courtesy of Desiree Taimanglo-Ventura at The Drowning Mermaid, and David Burdick at the US All Islands Coral Reef Committee)