Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bice: Impressed With Turnout And What Was Said

Bice: Impressed With Turnout And What Was Said

Guam - The public hearings on Guam for the military buildup are now over. Four public hearings have been held over the past week, and the last one wrapped up Tuesday night at Okkado High School.

Military officials are now in the CNMI to conduct 2 more public hearings this week.

Summing up the outcome of the hearings on Guam, JGPO Director David Bice Wednesday said he was pleased and impressed with the turnout.

He said Guam could be proud of its young people in particular who spoke their minds and expressed their concerns.

If there was one theme that ran though the remarks, Bice said it was culture, the need to protect and preserve local culture. Bice promised that those concerns were heard and that the military would work with local historic and preservation groups to preserve the island's culture.

All of the comments, both written and verbal will be documented and entered into volume 10 of the already voluminous EIS, and a response will be entered after each comment.

One of the ongoing political concerns over the buildup process has been about whether the military would use its power of eminent domain to acquire land through condemnation. Bice expressed confidence that settlements will be reached with
land owners before it comes to that.

And despite the uncertainty in Japan over the relocation of the Futenma Air Base in Okinawa, Bice pointed out that the Japanese Government has already approved more than $500 million dollars in funding for the Guam buildup and the first contract award using Japanese funds was announced Wednesday. He said he was confident the move will go forward, despite some waffling in Tokyo.

The final EIS is expected sometime late this summer.

Written by :
Kevin Kerrigan

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