Criticism voiced for Draft EIS
Posted: Nov 23, 2009 5:16 PM
by Nick Delgado
It was undoubtedly on many people's to-do lists this weekend - digesting the massive Draft Environmental Impact Statement that was released on Friday. There's already some negative feedback on the 11,000-page document that sets the plans for the impending military buildup.
"It's so daunting, you would literally have to read more than 100 pages per day in order to really read the entire document by the end of the comment period," said University of Guam instructor Victoria Leon Guerrero is among the dozens who have begun dissecting the Draft EIS that the military made public late last week. While she calls it a daunting task to review, Leon Guerrero encourages more residents to take a look at it.
Senator Ben Pangelinan also spent his weekend scanning through the voluminous document. Pangelinan says the EIS is supposed to set the guidelines for Guam to benefit from the relocation of Marines from Okinawa to the island, but from what he has seen so far, Pangelinan is not pleased. "The military wants to make Guam compatible to their needs, and we have got to make sure that our perspective is that the military has got to be compatible with Guam's needs," he said.
A major concern for both Pangelinan and Leon Guerrero is certain land issues where the military has changed their plans to have firing ranges in NCTMS, and instead placing them in the Pagat area located on the back road to Andersen Air Force Base - most of which Leon Guerrero says is ancestral land.
She continued, "We're going to lose more land and not for the purposes of sustaining future generation of Chamorros but for the purposes of military live fire training, in jungles that when we enter we ask permission. And do you think that the Marines are going to be asking permission when they're doing their live fire training on ancient burial grounds in Pagat? That is shocking, we need to say something about that; we cannot let more lands be taken."
The Draft EIS also points out mitigation efforts to minimize the local community perception of local and military communities being separate.
However, Pangelinan feels the military is already headed in the wrong direction when it did not inform the island about the additional marines and personnel. "On the day that the DEIS is released they say, 'Oh, by the way, this is under discussion now'. I don't believe it, I believe those discussions were ongoing and they were just holding back on those issues until they we can't do anything about it," he told KUAM News.
Leon Guerrero added, "If you don't want 80,000+ people in your island, then we need to say something, we need to do something because that will drastically affect us."