Sunday, November 22, 2009

Projected population boom concerns Guthertz

Projected population boom concerns Guthertz

Posted: Nov 22, 2009 2:50 PM Updated: Nov 22, 2009 2:50 PM

by Michele Catahay

While it has only been a couple of days since the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, chairperson of the Committee on the Guam Military Buildup Senator Judi Guthertz says she already has some concerns after reading only portions of the document.

She says she's not so comfortable with the idea that Guam may receive almost 80,000 additional people in the next four years. She also says there is also a huge concern because the department of defense has outlined a large military footprint for land. "They're interested in private land and Government of Guam land for their facilities and it's at a much higher level than I originally thought and of course that's going to be a very big question and will be careful consideration for private landowners that might be willing to leas their property," said Guthertz.

When it comes to government land, Guthertz says her bill authored last year states that land transactions from Department of Defense will be approved and considered by the Guam Legislature. She says because this is such a contentious issue, Guam would need more funding to support this massive buildup.

"If the United States military expects us to deal with this, they need to make a moral commitment to prepare by providing funds for all the operational military mitigation issues that will affect us and that has always been my position," she added.

Guthertz says she hopes lawmakers could consider holding public hearings on the Legislature's side, in addition to the ones scheduled in January by the Joint Guam Program Office.

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