The U.S. Navy has released a new environmental impact report that calls for the placement of firing ranges on Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, according to Stars and Stripes. Initially, officials had considered placing the ranges along Route 15 in the country's Pagat coastal area, a region cherished for its indigenous graves and archeological sites. The report also advised extending the construction process from seven years to 13 to reduce the relocation's impact on Guam's citizens and infrastructure.

A plan that garners unanimous support
The Navy's latest recommendation seems to be beneficial for all parties involved.

For the U.S., moving to Anderson Air Force Base would circumvent the need to acquire 688 acres of non-federal land, which was part of the original plan. Additionally, the Navy's report could encourage the relocation of 4,700 Marines and their families from Okinawa, Japan to Guam. Compared to Okinawa, Guam has fewer people and lower demand for power and potable water, the draft's authors noted. Finally, stretching out the construction of the new base to 13 years is expected to improve the plan's feasibility and reduce the military's footprint.

Meanwhile, the relocation of American troops to Guam would serve to mitigate tensions in Japan. According to The Associated Press, Okinawa hosts more than half of the U.S. servicemen stationed in Japan, much to the ire of local citizens. The move to the Andersen base would be a major step in the realignment of troops in the Pacific, which is why Japan has agreed to pay $2.8 billion of the estimated $8.6 billion required for the Guam redevelopment, Stars and Stripes noted.

The revised plan should come as good news to many Guamanian people who staunchly opposed the Navy's intention to move to Pagat. For Guam officials, the Navy's new recommendation indicates a sign of cooperation between the U.S. military and Guam's residents.

"The administration is pleased," said Mark Calvo, director of the Government of Guam Military Buildup Office, as quoted by Stars and Stripes. "Our concerns were heard, and they're adapting. This is a major milestone in moving forward with the relocation of Marines to Guam."

Where the construction plan stands 
According to Calvo, the public will have 60 days to address any concerns about the Navy's proposal, and a final environmental impact statement will be drafted about a year later. Construction of the Andersen base is contingent upon Congress' willingness to unfreeze funding for the relocation.