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DEFENSE COMMUNITIES 360

Legal, Environmental Issues Add to Delays for Marine Corps Realignment

  • November 8, 2011
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Limited progress on two of the many issues slowing the planned transfer of 8,600 Marines from Okinawa to Guam strengthens the perception that the realignment remains years away, reports Stars and Stripes.

A Navy study into the impact of dredging Guam’s main harbor on coral and other marine life likely will take “several years,” Jackalyne Pfannenstiel, the Navy’s assistant secretary of energy, installations and environment, wrote last month to the chairwoman of the Guam legislature’s buildup committee. The service already has spent $2.3 million, and will meet with federal regulators this month to start hashing out a plan to mitigate the loss of coral habitats, according to the story.

The dredging is needed so the harbor can accommodate aircraft carriers.

Next month, a Hawaii district court is scheduled to hear arguments over a year-old lawsuit filed by island residents intended to stop the Marine Corps from constructing live-fire rifle and grenade ranges on ancestral lands that contain native ruins. The Department of Justice is asking the court to dismiss the case because the Navy has not yet made a decision on where to place the ranges.

While residents back the Marine Corps buildup, the two issues have gripped the public, reports Stars and Stripes.

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