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Fena Reservoir should be turned over to Guam, not sold

By Erin Thompson HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, March. 23, 2011) – In Guam, Senators unanimously passed a resolution yesterday opposing a clause in the 2011 Defense Authorization Act that authorizes the military to sell Fena Reservoir to the government of Guam, and which would give the secretary of defense 33 percent voting rights on the Consolidated Commission on Utilities.

Resolution 48, introduced by Sen. Tom Ada, "implores" Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo to propose an amendment to U.S. Public Law 103-339 that would declare Fena Reservoir and its infrastructure excess to the military's needs, and which would transfer the reservoir at no cost to the government or people of Guam.

The resolution states that the Legislature takes the position that the Department of the Navy should become a paying customer of the Guam Waterworks Authority.

Lawmakers also "vehemently" opposed and "strongly" condemned any attempt to "dilute the voice" of the commissioners of the Consolidated Commission on Utilities (CCU) by giving the secretary of defense 33 percent voting membership on the CCU.

The 2011 Defense Authorization Act authorizes the secretary of defense to convey all right, title and interest of the United States in and to the water and wastewater treatment utility systems on Guam, according to the Pacific Daily News files.

The provision requires that the Department of Defense assets be sold for fair market value and authorizes the secretary of defense to consider the value of services provided by the government of Guam to Compact citizens in lieu of cash or an in-kind payment.

The law also guarantees that the secretary of defense would have a 33 percent voting representation on the Guam Consolidated Commission on Utilities.

Speaker Judith Won Pat responded to the proposal defiantly in her weekly address.

"The 31st Guam Legislature shall never acquiesce to any threat upon the rights and liberties of the Chamorro people and those who choose to make Guam their home," she said.

"Resolution 48 voices our concerns with the proposed transfer of U.S. Navy waterworks to the Guam Waterworks Authority, Won Pat said. We, the people of Guam, assert that the Navy waterworks infrastructure should be transferred at no cost to Guam's taxpayers. I repeat: We will not falter in our stance to have the waters that fall from our skies be remitted at no cost to the people of Guam."

The resolution passed 13-0, with Vice Speaker Benjamin J. Cruz and Sen. Rory Respicio absent.

However, Respicio submitted a written statement to Sen. Tom Ada, in support of Resolution 48.

In his statement, which was read into the Legislature's record by Sen. Tina Muña Barnes, Respicio called the federal law "an affront to the people of Guam."

"Demanding a 1/3 share of the CCU, an independent, democratically elected body of the government of Guam, does not sound like the federal government is serious about the 'One Guam' approach," Respicio added.

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