HAGNATA, Guam — A U.S. military live-fire training range is being built on Guam to support the relocation of Marines.
Black Construction Corp. was awarded a $78 million contract on Friday, the Pacific Daily News reported.
"We are committed to Guam, and our forward presence here will play an essential role in strengthening the military's ability to maintain regional security and protect the nation's interests in the Pacific," said Col. Brent Bien, who is the officer in charge of the Marine Corps Activity Guam.
The complex will be built in Andersen Air Force Base on a patch of land that the community has said is one of the last pristine places on Guam.
It will be near a wildlife refuge and will require part of the refuge to be closed when the range is in use.
Sabina Perez, spokeswoman of a group against the complex, said the military seems to be rushing to get its projects started.
"Our group has been contacting our local leaders to tell them to prevent this toxic legacy from happening," Perez said.
The group, called Prutehi Litekyan, has garnered the support of Speaker Benjamin Cruz, D-Tumon, Vice Speaker Therese Terlaje, D-Yona, and Sen. Fernando Esteves, R-Yona.
"No amount of money can compensate for the permanent destruction, loss of access and other adverse impacts to Guam's historic sites, 187 acres of limestone forests, endangered species and fishing areas that are part of this particular live-fire training range project," Terlaje said. "The Department of Defense has not kept its promises to avoid these adverse impacts to Guam and in fact continues to expand its control over lands and waters of Guam and the Marianas."
Terlaje is calling on Gov. Eddie Calvo to make time to meet with federal authorities to find ways to prevent the potential impacts of the firing range complex.
The group also is working on scheduling a face-to-face meeting with military officials, Perez said.
Work is expected to be completed by November 2020, but a groundbreaking date has not been scheduled.