Legislature's public hearings on DEIS start today
By Laura Matthews • Pacific Daily News • January 25, 2010
The first of the Legislature's weeklong public hearings on the draft Environmental Impact Statement begins today from 4 to 9 p.m.
All the hearings will be held at the Legislature building in Hagåtña.
These hearings will give residents another opportunity to learn about the military buildup and submit their comments before the Feb. 17 deadline.
All comments on the document will be taken into consideration and could affect what actions the military conducts on the island in order to prepare for the arrival of the 8,000 Marines and their dependents.
The draft EIS was released on Nov. 20 for public viewing and has vital information on how every aspect of life on Guam will change during the military buildup.
The Department of the Navy is preparing the draft to assess the potential environmental effects associated with the proposed military activities. The Navy is the lead agency for preparation of the draft EIS.
The Defense Department -- in preparing for the relocation of the Marines from Okinawa to Guam -- will need to provide them with a firing range for practice. Additionally, with an increase in aircraft activities, there will be more noise on the island.
The proposed actions are complex, multiservice projects involving components of the U.S. Marine Corps, Navy and Army, according to the Department of Defense. Each volume in the nine-volume draft EIS evaluates a discrete portion of the proposed actions.
"Don't be afraid to come because you're not familiar with the 11,000 pages. Just come and tell us what your thinking is, and we'll translate it into the proper format," Sen. Judith Guthertz advised residents last week.
Guthertz is the chairwoman of the legislative Committee on the Guam Military Buildup.
Since the start of the year, numerous public buildup hearings have been held by both the Defense Department and local bodies.
Gov. Felix Camacho held two presentations last week where his Advisory Consultant Team broke down the thousands of pages in the draft EIS into simple language for residents within the two-hour periods.
Residents were taught how to write "action" comments that will generate a response from the Defense Department.
The team also highlighted the major developments proposed by the military that will forever change the shape of Guam. The approximately 80,000 off-islanders to come to Guam by 2014 to occupy the jobs from the buildup, will affect all of Guam's sectors such as utilities, public safety and health services.