Environmental Law Program

ELP Colloquium: Pågat Under Fire

On February 15, the Environmental Law Program sponsored a Colloquium Series discussion titled “Pågat Under Fire: A Citizen Suit Against the U.S. Department of Defense to Save an Ancient Chamorro Village,” in the Moot Court Room at the Law School.

The discussion featured Matthew Adams, senior managing associate with SNR Denton, the firm representing the Guam Preservation Trust, We Are Guåhan, and the National Historic Trust for Historic Preservation and Carl Christensen, local counsel for Plaintiffs and visiting assistant professor of Historic Preservation Law at the William S. Richardson School of Law.

Adams and Christensen provided an overview of the issues involved in the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court of Hawai‘i challenging the selection of Pågat, an ancient Chamorro village, as the site of a proposed firing range complex. The proposed firing range at Pågat is part of the Guam and C.N.M.I. Military Relocation Final Environmental Impact Statement, which was prepared by the U.S. Department of Defense and released on July 28, 2010. The relocation, also known as the “Buildup,” involves the transfer of 8,000 U.S. Marines and their dependents from a U.S. base in Okinawa to Guam. Plaintiffs’ claims arise under the National Environmental and Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act.

In 2010, Pågat Village was nominated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of America’s eleven Most Endangered Historic Places, and its selection for the firing range complex has caused much controversy due to the possibility of impeded public access and degradation of Chamorro cultural resources.

(Pictured L to R: Front: Ana Won-Pat Borja, Christopher Odoca. Back: Professor David Forman, Matthew Adams, ELP Director Denise Antolini, Associate Dean Casey Leigh, Professor Carl Christensen.)