HONOLULU – The US military has postponed two key decisions related to its buildup of forces on the Guam to ensure it's complying with environmental and historic preservation laws.
But it gave final approval to the single biggest part of the buildup: a proposal to move 8,000 Marines and their dependents from Okinawa, Japan to the US territory in the Pacific. The decision was posted online Tuesday.
The Navy put off deciding where to build a live fire range for the Marines while it consults with preservation authorities on how the training area would affect the ancient village of Pagat. Stone bowls, fishing gear, spear points and other artifacts dating back more than a millennium have been found at the village, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The military acknowledged in a document called a "Record of Decision" that a significant new influx of population would affect the island's indigenous Chamorro population, and vowed to be sensitive to this issue.
At its peak, the buildup is expected to boost Guam's population by 79,000 people, or 45 percent, over its current 180,000 residents.