Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Residents & officials want more time, more input

Residents & officials want more time, more input

Posted: Oct 06, 2009 11:01 PM PDT
Updated: Oct 06, 2009 11:11 PM PDT

by Janjeera Hail

Frustrations are mounting as preparations for the impending military buildup continue on a daily basis. Senators have already expressed concerns after a briefing with the Joint Guam Program Office on Monday, and now KUAM News has confirmed more discussions will be held in Hawaii this week.

But officials and island residents are calling for more time and more input.

"I don't think that's ample time," stated Guam resident Tessy Paulino. After receiving an invitation just five days ago, Bureau of Statistics & Plans Director Tony Lamorena will make his way to Hawaii to attend a technical review of the more than 8,000-page Draft Environmental Impact Statement of the military buildup. He said, "Because of the lateness of the invitation I am the only one going. And so I am working very closely with the other regulatory agencies so I can get all their issues and concerns so I can relay that message to the team."

Lamorena says the DEIS was divided among the corresponding local and federal agencies so it could be reviewed and commented on as quickly as possible. He expressed frustration that the decision was made to hold the meeting in Honolulu, thousands of miles from the island and the people it will directly impact.

"It should be held on Guam," he maintained. "I really think a project of this magnitude should be held on Guam so we can get the input of as many regulatory agencies as possible."

While some island residents like Jon-Carl Peterson expressed faith that there is true concern behind the military's actions, saying, "I feel like it's not so courteous but yet at the same time I'm sure there's a rush and a reason they gave us a deadline. I mean, if they gave us a hundred days would we get it done?"

Others, like Paulino, are disappointed, saying there's a possibility the military's recent actions could reflect a broader disregard for local input that will continue through the buildup. "It could be, yeah. That's pretty sad and disappointing news though."

Island residents and local leaders will have a chance to voice their concerns when a public review is held in November.

Vice-Speaker B.J. Cruz joined some of his other colleagues who have already written officials asking for additional time to review the DEIS. Additionally, Cruz has written Governor Felix Camacho asking information about Matrix Design Group, Inc. and its role as the government's advisor for the review and comment process.

The Vice-Speaker is concerned that the Legislature was excluded from consultation services in the Administration's request for proposal for advisory services.

No comments: