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have approval by the people of Puerto Rico. At the same time, the chairman has made it very clear that he has a real concern for anybody who wants to try and assert that somehow Congress could be legally bound to mutual consent, as opposed to a policy or basically a framework.
The other thing that is really critical in this process which has been mentioned today and which I know the chairman also feels very strongly about are those who state that Congress' constitutional authority under the Territorial clause can be disposed of. In particular, I just wanted to point out with regards to Senator Forbes' statement and I have the fortunate opportunity to know the Senator for many, many years now. But you mentioned in your statement about an unnamed district court case establishing that Puerto Rico is outside of the Territorial clause. Now, that was a Puerto Rico district court decision which they were basing on some of the legislative history about a compact in Puerto Rico authorizing their local constitutional government. Subsequent to that, the Supreme Court did determine in Harris v. Rosario that Puerto Rico is, in fact, subject to the Territorial clause. Furthermore, you also cite correctly the Supreme Court case that says Puerto Rico, like a state, is an autonomous political entity sovereign over matters not ruled by the Constitution and that was PDP v. Rodriguez. However, in that case, the court was referring to the authority that Congress had provided to Puerto Rico for a local constitutional government. And so, it was in the framework of that internal self-government that they had—they were characterized with those powers. Recently, a three-judge appellate court decision, in United States v. Sanchez, said in spite of Puerto Rico having this local constitutional government, and now for almost 45 years, in fact, it's now over 45 years, that Congress, if it so chose to, could, in fact, go in and completely reorganize the government and change it completely. Congress hasn't chose to do that. In fact, if you think about it, even though there is not a legally binding mutual consent, they basically have abided by that principle for 45 years, which is a pretty strong statement in itself. The problem, and the only reason I'm raising this at this time, Senator, is it seems when these kinds of statements are raised here in this kind of forum where we're trying to hammer out what is possible and what isn't, doesn't that bring about confusion in Guam about what is possible?
Mr. FORBES. Actually, in my statement, Mr. Mansur, I said that the Puerto Rican situation was confusing. I said that you seemed to have courts doing maybe this way and then maybe that way on the Puerto Rican issue and, in the statement, Puerto Rico is not mentioned as an example of the ability of the Congress to dispose of property under the Territorial clause. Rather, it was thrown in there to say, you know, some courts are even thinking you might have done it in Puerto Rico. Personally, I believe Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory and I've said that anytime anybody's bothered to ask me. But, I'm saying that you have some degree of confusion that apparently arises, as best as I can tell, from the vague nature of the legislation in 1952 which seemed to establish a compact but then really didn't transfer any specific powers to Puerto Rico. So, you can have a court simultaneously saying, well, you're no longer really a territory but since Congress didn't give you any
power, you still have to be treated like one. And, I think that one of the reasons why, in our draft legislation, we have attempted, and when I say our I mean Guam's, we have attempted to be more specific about what powers we would like to see disposed of is precisely to avoid ever being in a situation like Puerto Rico is where you might have some authorities who say you're non-territorial, you have other authorities who I personally agree with that say they are territorial and a lot of that confusion stems from vague language, like using the term commonwealth but not attaching anything specifically to it, using the term compact but not having any real terms attached to it. That's why those statements were raised.
We believe that the power that Congress has to partially dispose of doesn't stem from anything having to do with the situation with Puerto Rico. We believe, and again this is thinking outside the box, Congress disposes of territory all the time. Congress has been leasing property, partially, you know, leasing mineral rights but retaining title, and you may say that that's title. But where are the territorial clauses that make a distinction between governmental powers and title? It doesn't.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. OK. Thank you, Senator Forbes. I would offer the observation that I wish the committee had as much expertise on Guam as it apparently does on Puerto Rico.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. And that inevitably all these issues always resurface and I want to reiterate the point, I think, that has been made by the three Senators and particularly by the statements by Senator Forbes. One of the things that Guam has judiciously done in this instance is to carefully articulate in specific terms what it wants in order to avoid any of the lack of clarity which has led to interminable court cases in the case of Puerto Rico's own situation and that, in fact, such things as land alienation, there's a very specific authority which has been given in the case of the northern Marianas. And many of the items that we're asking for in this Commonwealth approach that kind of disposal of authority. So, it is possible. In some instances, it's a case of political will. In some instances, perhaps, it's the case of some of our larger insular areas affecting the business that is at hand. But, I'm certainly glad that there has been this extended discussion both from this panel as well as the first panel on the situation that is unique to Guam and the circumstances which are unique to Guam and the legal basis for many of the issues which we forwarded under the Commonwealth Act.
I thank the panel very much. I'd like to call Mr. Staymen just for some brief questions on S. 210, please. Mr. Staymen, on the bill S. 210 and this is for the record. On the bill S. 210, there's a provision in there which was inserted in the most recent version. It wasn't in the past 104th Congress version which we were trying to work at a late date. There's a provision in there on paying fair market value if the land goes to any private owner. I want it clearly established on the record that I am opposed to such a provision and will work hard to strike it if it ever happens. But I do want to ask four questions.
Basically, Mr. Staymen, on page 4 of your statement, you recommended that the refuge—that the statement—we have a provision in there in S. 210 which says that if there's going to be any shift in the amount of acreage which the Fish and Wildlife currently has on Guam, that there is a mechanism established by which both Guam and the Fish and Wildlife Service engage in discussions and, failing any agreement, that the matter be disposed of in Congress. The headquarters property of the Fish and Wildlife Service numbers some 300-plus acres and we figure that this was a useful compromise since we may not ever reach any agreement. But in your testimony, you want to expand that to include the overlay component of the Guam National Wildlife Refuge. Wouldn't the effect of your amendment exempt the entire refuge overlay from the impact of Guam being first in line for land? And this would affect approximately 23,274 acres of land, lands which the DOD agencies hold onto. And you know, Guam is a very small place. Twenty-three thousand acres is a lot of land and it really takes the stuffings out of the whole notion of Guam being first in line.
Mr. STAYMEN. That's not the intent. The intent was to try to clarify the definition which talks about refuge and the purpose of the bill is to transfer those refuge lands but refuge lands, per se, are not subject to transfer by administrative action. And we wanted to clarify that the lands addressed by this bill are the overlay lands. The intent is that they would be, the 23,000 acres you speak of, would be subject to transfer. So, I think we agree that the intent of the bill is to provide Guam with an opportunity to obtain ownership of those overlay lands. But by saying the word "refuge, you are suggesting that the lands up at Ritidian Point, the 772 acres, could be transferred. They cannot except by act of Congress. They couldn't be affected by this administrative procedure.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Well, I'm not sure that I understand the intricacies of your answer. Are you saying that
Mr. STAYMEN. I'm not trying to evade this
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Are you saying that if your proposed amendment is accepted in the context of this legislation, that that land, this 23,000 acres in the wildlife refuge, would still be subject to the right of first refusal for the Government of Guam?
Mr. STAYMEN. It would be subject to the second track of our twotrack proposal. The two tracks are land that's not a part of the overlay. Guam would have the right of first refusal and have 180 days to essentially exercise that right. The other land falls into the second track which is GovGuam, and Fish and Wildlife takes 180 days to attempt to reach an agreement on the conditions of transfer. And, if they do, that's done. If they don't, it kicks over to Congress.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. OK, I think I got that. On the other item, on page 4 of your written statement, you state that the administration wants to exempt those lands that are under lease by DOD to another Federal agency. S. 210 states that those lands which are leased prior to May 1 would be exempt from transfer but those properties leased after that date would be covered by the legislation. If you had
wouldn't your amendment encourage Federal
agencies to enter into lease agreements so as to exempt those properties from being transferred to the Government of Guam?
Mr. STAYMEN. We don't believe so. We believe that having the 2year window, in other words, they would have to be on an active lease, using the land for 2 years, is a reasonable test for whether that agency really needs the land. We don't want people rushing in and unfairly using this land if they don't really need to. What the current bill does is frees agencies. Essentially, if they haven't been using it before that date, they couldn't develop an interest. We have to remember that this
Mr. UNDERWOOD. I think that's the whole intent.
Mr. STAYMEN. Well, let me just finish to say that this whole bill is perspective. There is, at this time, no specific land excess. This provision may be around 10, 15, 20 years, you know, for a lot longer than that and it's we don't think reasonable to tell Federal agencies that 10 years from now, if they develop a legitimate interest in getting a permit from DOD to use land on Guam, that they should be precluded, then, from continuing that use should the land become excessed.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. On page 6 of your statement, you recommend that public purpose shall not include any transfers to private individuals. I want you to know that we've all gone over the story of the historical context of how lands were originally taken and I'm certainly interested in trying to find a way to resolve the situation regarding lands which includes the original landowners. I also, in your statement on submerged lands, you indicate in your statement that there has been no contention over the submerged lands. And I want to point out to you that I'm going to enter correspondence into the record from the Government of Guam which has indicated serious contention over submerged lands, going back 5 years.
[The information referred to may be found at end of hearing.)
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Are you saying that you are not familiar with any contention over the ownership of submerged lands?
Mr. STAYMEN. The scope of my statement was relatively limited regarding those excess lands adjacent to Ritidian. My understanding—yes, there is contention about other submerged lands but, in the case of submerged lands which were made excess, that Guam, in fact, did not ask for those lands. They had the right under the current Federal Property Act to claim ownership of the submerged lands which were excessed. For one reason or another, they did not claim that. So, I was only referring to that relatively limited amount of submerged lands adjacent to Ritidian Point which were declared excess by GSA and has since reverted back to the Navy, but I might just add that if Guam is interested in them and asks the Navy, they may be willing to re-excess them.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Well, I would say for the record that that was done so quickly there wasn't enough time to indicate our contention on that.
Thank you. I just wanted an opportunity to clarify those points with you. Thank you, Mr. Staymen.
Mr. STAYMEN. Thank you very much.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. OK, I'd like to call up the final panel. Panel III: Susan Moses, president of the College of Micronesia; Chris Perez Howard, Organization of People for Indigenous Rights; Hope
Cristobal, Organization of People for Indigenous Rights; The Most Reverend Anthony Apuron, archbishop of the archdiocese of Agana; Jose Guevara, vice president of the Filipino Community of Guam; and Debbie Quinata of Nasion Chamoru.
OK, before we begin, I'd like to enter a number of other statements into the record that have been given to me. Statements by: Senator Tom Ada, and Senator Lou Leon Guerrero of Guam; Senator Carlotta Leon Guerrero of Guam; student Neil Weare of Oceanview High School; statement of the Guam Chamber of Commerce; and a statement by Frederick Quinene; statement by-I wish they would sign it at the beginning—statement by several members of the Filipino President's Club of Guam; and that's it for now.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Ada may be found at end of hearing.)
[The prepared statement of Ms. Leon Guerrero, a Senator from Guam, may be found at end of hearing.)
[The prepared statement of Ms. Guerrero may be found at end of hearing.]
[The prepared statement of Mr. Weare may be found at end of hearing.)
[The prepared statement of the Guam Chamber of Commerce may be found at end of hearing.)
[The prepared statement of Mr. Quinene may be found at end of hearing.)
[The prepared statement of members of the Filipino President's Club may be found at end of hearing.)
All right, we'll begin with Susan Moses. And, I know that it's very late in the day and we've been at this now for four-and-a-half hours, and, I know, Susan Moses, that you've been enthralled about the whole situation regarding Guam and probably learned more than you ever care to know. So, with that, the president of the Community College of Micronesia. STATEMENT OF SUSAN J. MOSES, PRESIDENT, COLLEGE OF
MICRONESIA-FSM Ms. Moses. Thank you very much. It has been an interesting day.
And, before beginning, I would like to state that the testimony that I am about to make is being made not only on behalf of the College of Micronesia-FSM, as it's president, but also on behalf of President Alfred Capelle of the College of the Marshall Islands, and interim President Mario Katosang, who is interim president of Palau Community College, who are with us in the gallery today.
Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee, we wish to thank you for providing the opportunity for the presidents of Palau Community College, the College of the Marshall Islands, and the College of Micronesia-FSM to clarify our collective position regarding S. 210 relative to land grant status for our colleges. We will now summarize our written statement which has been submitted for the record.
Prior to 1993, Palau Community College, the College of the Marshall Islands, and the College of Micronesia-FSM, were all part of