Palau Trial Court, on Wednesday, August 2nd, issued an order denying the request for a Temporary Restraining Order by the Plaintiff Angaur State government stopping the Defendants (Government of Palau, Government of the United States of America, Environmental Quality Protection Board, Pacific Unlimited Inc., and CAPE Environmental Management Inc.) from continuing to conduct land clearings of the TACMOR Project Site in Angaur until an EIS has been prepared and accepted.

Beautiful vista’s of Angaur State..salt water lake created by phosphate mining, a shoreline featuring Angaur longest sand beach and famous hideout of the WWII

In its order, the court said the case was complex involving “complex regulations and statutory provisions including the terms under the Compact of Free Association, it involves sovereign entities both foreign and local.”

The court denied the TRO based on procedural requirements, saying that Plaintiff did not show evidence of efforts to notify the other parties.

Defendants (Angaur State), in response to the court order, filed a request for reconsideration saying that the filed complaint was not an application for TRO but that the request for TRO was part of the relief requested once the case is heard and asked the court to reconsider and vacate its “premature” order.

Meanwhile, some of the citizens of Angaur oppose the lawsuit saying that it will do more harm to Angaur than good.

“The damage the suit brings outweighs the benefits,” expressed Adelbai Jackson Henry, former President of Angaur Legislature.

Adelbai Jackson Henry argues that Angaur citizens and Angaur are greatly benefiting from the project and that there is “absolutely zero damage resulting from the project.”

Further, he added, “George Bell, a son of Angaur, got the contract to clear the land from the US military.  Every able woman and man on the island is employed by George Bell, who pays them between $5 to $7 per hour.  This wage is above Palau’s minimum wage.  All available houses in Angaur are being rented out, so homeowners are enjoying good and steady income.  Foreign workers are patronizing the two retail stores on the island, so storekeepers are seeing a boost in their revenues.  There is also a $1 million dollar impact fee to be paid to Angaur State.”

In addition,”80 foreign workers are coming to build the foundation of the radar for 3 years so locals are able to sell them local goods and services for income.  And presently, Leon Gulibert is renting his land and bar to the workers, and an Angaur lady is catering food to the workers. There’s an economic boom on Angaur due to the military project,” said Adelbai Jackson Henry.

Jackson countered that there are no historical artifacts within the TACMOR project site and that clearance of WWII unexploded ordinances within the site ensures the land can be developed in the future.

“If the lawsuit results in freezing the project, unemployment will result, and a negative impact on the state economy will be realized,” argues Henry.

The lawsuit claimed that the project did not comply with Palau environmental regulations, failing to conduct an Environmental Impact Study which would look into the social and economic impact of the project on the community and the people.  It also said that it violated the terms of the Compact Agreement regarding the use of land for military purposes and the limitations imposed under the Compact.

The United States, under the terms of the Compact of Free Association with Palau, could request land for use by the US government.  In compliance with those terms, Palau secured two sites, one in Ngaraard State and one in Angaur State, to be the site of the US Tactical Mobile Over-the-Horizon Radar (TACMOR)/    Palau government secured the land requested and give to the United States to use.  The two TACMOR sites, Ngaraard  State and Angaur State were purchased by the Palau government and turned over to the United States military for use.

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