by John Bond, Save Ewa Field
Year after year, Navy Region Hawaii, continues to break Federal Section 106 NHPA law and defies the Department of Navy Mission - SECNAVINST 4000.35A, "The nation's heritage is an essential part of the defense mission, and the DoN is committed to responsible cultural resources stewardship."
Never has there been a more gross example of the nation's heritage being mismanaged than at the Ewa Field battlefield, where US Marines died in defense of their country on a December 7 Sunday morning, where Navy Region Hawaii allowed this hallowed ground to became a totally forgotten GARBAGE DUMP - until Save Ewa Field brought this gross mismanagement to local and national attention.
Promising to "do the right thing", the Navy in Hawaii proceeded to completely shun and avoid their Federal NHPA law responsibilities, defy Dept. of Navy Mission - SECNAVINST 4000.35A, and Presidential Executive Order 13287, which specifically DIRECTS Federal agencies like DoN to "maximize efforts to integrate policies, procedures, and practices of the NHPA into their program activities to effectively advance historic preservation objectives." Instead, Navy Region Hawaii conducted a series of land transfers, without local public comment or involvement, as required by Section 106, and leased land to Hunt Corp- making THEM RESPONSIBLE for conducting what is the FEDERAL LAND OWNER Section 106 NHPA responsibility. This transfer process has been called "illegal" and "unlawful" by NHPA legal experts.
Year after year, Save Ewa Field, the Ewa Community and the Hawaii news media have been fed a story that a Big Island "Pacific War Monument" group would be handling the Ewa Field Battlefield issue, even though they have NO RELATIONSHIP with anyone or anything in Ewa. In other words a TOOL for Navy Region Hawaii to PRETEND they are "working on the issue" and will see that Hunt Corp will "do the right thing"- as we have been told time after time that they would...
At a meeting at Pearl Harbor last week, the significant result was that apparently NO FUNDS were ever raised for a legitimate battlefield study of the Ewa Field battlefield, or they disappeared (?), despite reports that large sums of money were being raised to conduct such a study- as reported to the news media and congressional inquires over the past two years. At the Pearl Harbor meeting Hunt Corp, which had previously stated they would pay half of any total amount raised, agreed at this recent meeting to pay only $20,000 towards a battlefield study, and would contract the job to a group of their choosing. Anyone with any sense of professional ethics and knowledge of the NPS American Battlefield Protection Program, which is what Save Ewa Field has been advocating for over two years, would NEVER accept such a commercial land development contract farce.
What the Navy Region Hawaii is continuously doing is totally avoiding their Federal Section 106 responsibilities, SECNAVINST 4000.35A responsibilities, defying Presidential Executive Order 13287, all while allowing Hunt Corp off the hook again and again for any responsibilities for proper Section 106 management of FEDERAL LAND owned by the US Taxpayers- which the US Navy is LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR. They continuously DECEIVE the Ewa Community, Congressional Inquires and the Hawaii news media with a yearly RESET of empty promises made over and over again, time after time.
The HISTORY of Ewa Field doesn't belong to the Navy or to Hunt Corp, the December 7, 1941 battlefield history belongs to the American People- the US Taxpayers who actually PAY in MONEY and BLOOD for everything the Navy has today. Yet the Navy and Hunt Corp have shown time after time a total disregard for the history of the American people, Federal NHPA Law, the Dept. of Navy Mission Statement, and a Presidential Order.
From the US Navy's website:
SECNAVINST 4000.35A establishes policy and assigns responsibilities within the Department of the Navy for fulfilling legally required cultural resource requirements. "Protection of the nation's heritage is an essential part of the Department of the Navy (DON) mission - defense of the people, territory, institutions and heritage of the United States. According to SECNAVINST 4000.35A, Section 4.b, Protection of these components of the nation's heritage is an essential part of the defense mission, and the DON is committed to responsible cultural resources stewardship."
The American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) promotes the preservation of significant historic battlefields associated with wars on American soil. The goals of the program are
- to protect battlefields and sites associated with armed conflicts that influenced the course of our history,
- to encourage and assist all Americans in planning for the preservation, management, and interpretation of these sites, and
- to raise awareness of the importance of preserving battlefields and related sites for future generations.
References: http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/abpp/ (American Battlefield Protection Act of 1996 http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/abpp/ABPPActasAmended2002.pdf)
The American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) has participated in various Section 106 cases related to Federal undertakings at historic battlefields. For purposes of the Section 106 process, the term "battlefield" means a historic landscape upon which the a battle was fought that is eligible for or listed in the National Register of Historic Places and therefore meets the definition of "historic property" under NHPA and the Section 106 regulations (36 CFR 800).
Federal undertakings can contribute to the loss of historic battlefield landscape and degradation of a battlefield's setting. In order for Federal agencies to understand the nature and degree of effect an undertaking may have on a historic battlefield, they must first understand the nature and character of the military landscape and its contributing features.
More info: http://www.december7.com/1941/index.html
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