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Ga. Congressman Fears Guam May 'Capsize'

12:37 PM, Apr 1, 2010   |    comments
US Rep. Hank Johnson (D-4th Ga.)
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(11ALIVE) - Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson (D-Georgia) is taking some heat for some comments he made during a House of Representatives hearing last week.  He expressed his fear that the Guam might "capsize" as a result of the United States military's presence on the island.

Johnson was reportedly questioning U.S. Navy Admiral Robert Willard during the hearing.  The hearing was held to discuss the addition of 8,000 Marines and their dependants to the United State Military operation on the island of Guam.

During the discussion, which was posted on YouTube, Johnson questions Willard repeatedly about the size of the island of Guam. "My fear is that the whole island will become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize," Johnson said.

In an e-mail to 11Alive News, Johnson's office said the statement was a metaphor to describe Guam's ecosystem.

"I wasn't suggesting that the island of Guam would literally tip over," Johnson said in the e-mailed statement. "I was using a metaphor to say that with the addition of 8,000 Marines and their dependents - an additional 80,000 people during peak construction on the tiny island with a population of 180,000 - could be a tipping point which could adversely affect the island's fragile ecosystem and could overburden its overstressed infrastructure."

"Having traveled to Guam last year, I saw firsthand how this beautiful - but vulnerable island - could easily become overburdened, and I was simply voicing my concerns that the addition of that many people could tip the delicate balance and do permanent harm to Guam," Johnson said.

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