Monday, October 05, 2009

Guam Senators Not Pleased with JGPO Plans

Not all senators pleased with JGPO's plans
Posted: Oct 05, 2009 5:00 PM
by Nick Delgado

The Joint Guam Program Office provided an overview brief on the draft environmental impact statement to lawmakers today. While the draft EIS will be released for public comment at a later time, it's apparent some lawmakers aren't too happy about the details of today's briefing.

Senator Matt Rector (D) announced, "What they told is that look we're going to tap our own wells and we're going to suck up all the water from your aquifer because you tap a well on federal property. The aquifer is the aquifer, and we'll have absolutely no control over how much water they draw out of our aquifer." He added, "The one thing that they can't do and meet their timelines is to build their own wastewater system. They have to tap into ours. That's the one shining thing that I found out at this study."

It was more than obvious that Rector and his senatorial colleagues didn't like what they heard this morning during a briefing with JGPO representatives. Like her Democrat colleague, Speaker Judi Won Pat is upset that lawmakers are once again being kept out of the loop when it comes to updates on the military buildup. "We were under the impression that all the departments and agencies were given copies of this and sign a disclosure to review it and provide comment, only to find that there were only five agencies that were given," she told KUAM News,

Those agencies include Coastal Management, the Guam Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Public Works, the Historic Preservation Trust, and the Department of Agriculture. The speaker adds that the naval facilities will invite those agencies to Hawaii for a one-day meeting on October 8 to explain their comments in to the EIS.

However, she disagrees with the meeting being held off-island. "We're the ones being impacted by this," she proclaimed. "Why wouldn't they want to hold that one meeting here where all the different departments and agencies are here and could provide the information? And the last thing is that this all going to be at our expense, our dime. We're going to have to pay for these individuals to go over there?"

That, coupled with the draft EIS consisting of thousands of pages that must be reviewed, prompted Rector to say, "And they've made that very clear when they do this, they said we're going to give you this 11,000-page document and you have 45 days to review it and come back and tell us what you want."

Rector added, "How are we supposed to put meaningful input into this and come back and say, 'Look, you shouldn't do this, you shouldn't do that' - we just are never going to be able to do it and they've made that perfectly clear. They're going to have the meetings in Hawaii and turn around and tell us, 'Here's what we're going to do, thank you very much!'"

It's an issue the speaker says lawmakers will now take up with the governor. As for island residents, you'll have an opportunity to give your input beginning November 20.

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